how to make a decision

How to Make a Killer Decision in 10 Easy Steps

Should you buy the red dress or the black one? Should you sell your stock or wait? Do you buy a new car or make due with the old one? Can you say yes to this activity knowing it means saying no to that one?

Decisions. Decisions. They can drive us mad. We all face them everyday, but for some of us, making up our minds causes extreme anxiety. Why? Because we don’t trust our instincts, and we don’t believe we can make good decisions due to our past failures.

Maybe you’ve had someone making all your decisions for you for so long you feel inadequate. Or maybe your impulsiveness has resulted in some adverse outcomes and you’ve lost confidence in your ability to make wise decisions. Or maybe you just feel plain overwhelmed.

Whatever the case, if making a decision is hard for you, you’re not by yourself. You’re probably capable, but what you lack is a concrete formula to guide you through your decision making process. Here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction.

Killer decision makers always consider the following:


They look at the problem and evaluate the options.

This means breaking the problem down into bite size pieces and evaluating each scenario in light of possible options. It’s often helpful to make a list of pros and cons.

They gather information.

Do your research. Get as much information as possible before you make a decision. Ask yourself if the decision is congruent with your values and life goals.

They brainstorm possibilities.

List all possible solutions and outcomes. Create some viable alternatives for different scenarios.

They tap into their strengths.

Most people don’t even know what they’re good at. Take the time to learn your strengths and use them wisely.  Ability Potentials is a company that does just that and can help you zero in on your strengths and give you career suggestions.

They don’t act impulsively.

Don’t make decisions based on emotions or while you’re under stress or duress, your judgment will definitely be impaired. Be willing to wait and be patient. A rushed decision is often times not a great one

They plan for obstacles.

Life is unpredictable so plan on something going wrong. Create a “Plan B.”

They don’t let discouragement hold them back.

Everyone gets discouraged at some point, but don’t let it keep you from moving forward. Watch what you tell yourself. Your self-talk has a huge impact on your mood and feelings, so develop positive counter-statements to derail discouragement.

They don’t over-analyze.

Beating things to death keeps you stuck in your head. Over-thinking things can get you more confused. Once you’ve made a decision, relax and trust yourself.

They enjoy the ride.

Be willing to make the wrong decision. The worst that can happen is you learn and grow from your mistakes.

There are no guarantees when it comes to making the right decisions in life. The best we can do is approach our problems with the right attitude, evaluating each option and choosing a best course of action that seems reasonable for us at the time.

Then we can sit back and trust that we did all we could to achieve the set outcomes we desired. Remember, getting upset will only keep us stuck and unproductive. So relax, sit back and enjoy the ride!

Back at you: Have you had to make any difficult decisions lately, if so, what steps did you take and what advise can you offer?


Rita A. Schulte is a licensed professional counselor in the Northern Virginia/DC area. She is the host of Heartline Podcast and Consider This. Her shows can be heard on 90.9FM in Lynchburg, Va. and 90.5 FM in NC, and on BlogTalk Radio, Women’s Radio Network, and soon to launch with Truli Media Group. Rita writes for numerous publications and blogs. Her articles have appeared in Counseling Today Magazine, Thriving Family Magazine, Kyria and Living Better at 50. Her book on moving through the losses of life will be released in the Fall 2013 by Leafwood Publishers. Follow her at, on FB and twitter @heartlinepod. Her blog, Life Talk Today is

Photo credit: ‘Jigsaw‘ by Big Stock