How to Make Tough Decisions for Yourself?

Tips to Make Tough Decisions:

The following mentioned are a few tips on how to make a difficult decision or making effective decisions.

1. Matters that need looking into:

Sometimes making decisions can be quite a tricky task since half of the time a lot many matters are linked together in relation to your problem that you are dealing with. Therefore, prematurely reacting to this kind of situation is never a good idea. Often we see that something which you have overlooked in the past has come up as your worst nightmare leading to a number of problems. In that case what you need to keep in mind is targeting one problem at a time and eradicating them from the root. It is not possible to go in the past and undo something you wish you had not done, but since it is not an option you had, better take up the matter at hand and look into the reasons that are giving rise to the current problems.

2. Considering perspectives:

Since you cannot deliberately jump to conclusions owing to matters involving other people, you would do better to weigh the matter from another’s perspective. Taking into account as to how your decision can influence other people is definitely important on humanitarian grounds. Furthermore, such a drastic measure if gone wrong can completely severe your ties with people important to you. For this, you need to take extra care and speculate on the matter from a lens favourable to the persons involved.

3. Asking your parents:

Involving your parents in any matter is going to make it easy for you since they have the benefit of experience. But simply letting them completely in on the matter expecting them to handle everything just seems too irresponsible and something only a child would do. No grown-up would want to give the matter up to their parents to solve the problems that have been risen because of your own carelessness. Moreover, it is not always possible to open up to them honestly without holding even an iota of the truth back, so it is just sensible to say nothing more than you need them to know and trust their advice.

4. How does it end for you:

You invariably have to ask yourself this question before you hastily move onto taking a decision that might not be best for you. It is one thing to look into the matter with patience and from different angles so as not to disappoint others and another to play a martyr jeopardizing your own interests just because you think that it might not be in somebody else’s best interest. Of course, you are a philanthropist at heart but even that has to come to a halt if what you are about to do is absolutely and undeniably going to take a toll on you. So always view the matter in relation to long term effects as only taking a decision does not sabotage your future prospects.

5. See if it is in your best interest:

Just as it is normal to come across potholes and bumps on the road while driving, it is natural to face various kinds of obstacles while taking important decisions for yourself. Everyone reaches a point in their life when they have to take decisions on their own, making sure that it is in their best interest. There are a number of things one can take notice of so that his/her efforts and sacrifices in making good decisions do not go to waste. For example, it never fares well to hurry or be hurried into effective decision making because most often matters are solved on their own when things after running a natural course fall into place. So in such matters making an untimely move just may prove to be completely useless.

6. Being positive:

It is quite the non-starter if you start worrying about the outcome even before you make a decision. So to avoid the kind of cynicism that can keep you perpetually in conflict with your convictions you have to keep your mind off the negative thoughts that defeat the purpose. Training your mind to look at matters in a positive light makes the brunt of the consequences pertaining to your decision all the more tolerable. Moreover any problem relating to any decision turns up at the very onset of the need to take the decision, so the need to be impervious to any ill effect associated with making a tough decision is essential.

7. Pros and cons:

Before you move along with a decision and later break your head over it, consider all sides of the matter. Making tough decision for yourself is never easy especially when it involves your peace of mind. Therefore it is a vital step to spend some time thinking about the matter by measuring its bright sides as opposed to the negative ones. Furthermore, any tough decision regarding how to proceed in life as to reap the best benefits, in the long run, is never without a few risks. But make absolutely sure that none of what you do backfires because mistakes can radically change the turn of events to the worst as opposed to how you plan them.

8. Do not ask too many people:

Asking too many people for an opinion can only delay the matter not to mention confuse the rational take you may have already had, so do not ask people who are only going to confuse you than actually help you solve it. Asking for advice can be helpful but never from too many people because people may differ in their opinion about a matter which can only complicate things. Go to someone for the advice you trust but remember that at the end of the day you will have to make your decisions or make better choices and no one else will be there with you to face the blow if something goes wrong. So take opinions but not at the expense of what you think you ought to do.

9. Give it a fair amount of thought:

Before you take any difficult decision make sure you have come to terms with as many possibilities you can regarding the matter even if it means spending a couple of days in deep thought. For example, suppose you are making a down payment for something you had your eyes on for a very long time and on the pretext you have had to cut down on your household expenses much to the despair of your folks. Now think for a while in terms your immediate need of the object you are going to buy and if possible save up till you think you can afford to pay for it without having your people to suffer. But do not overthink as it will only keep you from taking a fair decision and will also raise the risk of taking a wrong step. Therefore cut to the chase, as soon as you think you are ready to make a move after having given it a fair amount of thought.

10. Trust yourself:

It is not out of the ordinary to have doubts as to what might happen if you somehow take a wrong decision and ruin whatever chances you hoped you will have if all went as planned. Nonetheless, if you have recently moved out to live alone and not under the shadow of your parents anymore this is probably going to affect you the most. While it will seem quite challenging having to take a big decision all by yourself for the first time in your life, it is definitely not going to take you down unless you decide to give in. The truth is, everyone has to start being on their own at some point of time and the sooner you come to terms with this fact the better chances you will have to cope with it.

11. See how it affects others:

Taking notice of what role your decision might play in somebody else’s life is just as important as caring for your own because there are chances that what might do you good is not always promising for others. Sometimes it happens that what you want and what you ought to do to possess it, have to go through what might not sit well with how others may feel because of it, so you have got to persuade those people you care about. Once or twice if you fail in this endeavour to bring people about to view things through your perspective, do not worry because you can do five other things to make them happy for every one thing that has annoyed them as long as it is not seriously affecting anyone.

12. Stick to your decision:

Having a strong will is just as crucial as having a strong mind once you have taken a decision because it is not unnatural for a person to be bugged by his own tendencies to falter from what he thought would be best for him while taking a decision. Many people lose their confidence over having taken a decision they were unsure about. This can be avoided plainly by developing a resolute mind owing to several useful techniques. One of the most effective methods to achieve this kind of mental stability is to meditate. There are diverse forms of meditation which always serve the unified purpose of calming one’s mind.

13. Do not tolerate condescension:

As mentioned earlier how talking to too many people regarding decisions is most likely to add to your tension and create problems that were not even there in the first place. On top of it all it can foster a sense of inferiority in your mind if your so-called soothsayers are adding to your vulnerability rather than reducing it. Moreover, a psychological study proves that cynical thinking can indirectly trigger the number of negative possibilities as ruminating too much will only make you nervous and can only lead you to disappointment.

14. Do not stress out and keep calm:

Lastly, try not to stress out no matter what you are dealing with. Although it is easier to say, we often fall in situations where we completely lose our mind as to make a choice that is best for us. We have to try and keep our minds from being clogged by unnecessary thoughts. For example, if you have qualms about something at work or suppose someone at home has fallen terribly ill and needs immediate medical attention then do not breakdown in nervousness but keep calm, think your way through a solution and take actions accordingly.

What we often do not take into account when we are tensed with decisions is that our behaviour towards our near and dear ones changes and we tend to unintentionally hurt them as long as we are passing through our rough patch. This can easily be taken care of if we do not lose our mind over tiny things, although it is normal to be having mood swings when you are torn between tough decisions or hard decisions for yourself. What needs to be kept in mind is that your decision may not have an instantly positive impact on your life but will eventually take a better turn since it is a mark of maturity to take decisions beneficial in the long run rather than keeping your eyes on the immediate prize.


But also know how to make a tough decision fast

If you don’t have a ton of time on your hands, Seide says to use 75 percent of what you have available to educate yourself about your options, and the remaining 25 percent to actually sit with that data, analyze it, and consider how each choice feels for you. Richardson also recommends jotting down answers to three questions that can help you stay focused on the bigger picture: Does this align with my beliefs and values? How will this affect my future? What am I willing to sacrifice for this?

6. Expect Pushback

You never want to focus on negative outcomes, but any decision will have some pushback. There will be others that disagree with the choice that you make, and they will certainly let you know it.

Remember, you can’t please everyone, nor should you try. Otherwise, you’ll let emotions—not facts—rule, and that can cloud your sound judgment. Even though there will some emotions involved in every decision, you must rely on the hard work you’ve done so far and the data and opinions you’ve collected.

When people do voice their objections, let them know that they’ve been heard and that you respect and honor their opinion. By doing so, you should be able to assuage their concerns and seek their counsel in the future.

2. Do Your Homework

Before making any tough decision—or any decision at all—start by gathering relevant data that will help you best ferret out your options. The devil is in the details.


Let’s say that you are considering which college or university to attend (or send your child to). What are the placement rates, the tuition, room and board costs, campus life factors, and of course, what is their reputation around your degree path? The data collection step is critical to help you narrow your choices and elevate the best options. Otherwise, you are taking your chances with very little footing.

9. Tell others

Sometimes telling others about the decision you plan to make can help with accountability.

It forced me to follow through with my decision and not fall back on the fear or comfort trap.

Making a hard decision can feel very isolating. It’s also helpful to have a support group which can help reduce anxiety and make you realize that you’re not alone in what you’re going through.

Everyone experiences having to make a hard decision at one point in their life.

Listening to others’ experiences on a decision I had never made before but they had helped solidify my need for action.

Just talking to others about the decision can significantly help with the emotional pain of making the decision.

Having an outside opinion can also be useful if you’re having trouble making sure it’s the right decision.

3. Place more importance on your values over your feelings

These values should of course include yourself. Valuing your needs, wants, yourself and what’s important to you and will make you happy.

A lot of times we sacrifice our happiness and don’t love ourselves enough because it’s easier, safer, and more comfortable.

Besides valuing yourself, you should be clear on your values, goals and what you want out of your life. If something is not aligned with your values, changes should be made in that aspect.

Oftentimes what we want now or what we think we want is not always best for us. Our feelings can make us want to make the easy decision.

Your ability and willingness to experience difficult emotions directly correlates to your success and happiness.

It’s important to remind ourselves that feelings and emotions are temporary and often fleeting, especially intense ones. What’s more important is overall life satisfaction and happiness.

Pain and fear can be a good thing, but our lizard brain which hasn’t evolved to recognize this makes us think we should avoid it to survive. Our rational brain knows better.

Here are 6 signs that you’ve made the right choice

It Has A Positive Impact On Others

Does your decision make other people’s lives bette

Does your decision make other people’s lives better?

Does it serve the greater good?

While leaders are expected to be pragmatic at all times, your decisions, tough or not, don’t matter if it won’t have a positive impact on others.

Decisions should be made with the intention of upholding the greater good.

If it creates more harm than good, then you’re not on the right path.

It Meets The Standards Set By Authorities

Even if you’re the primary decision maker in your company, no one makes decisions on their own.

For one, your decisions need to follow the standards that were set by an authority.

Simply put, they should be made legally.

It Follows A System

Decisions should always be made based on good crit

Decisions should always be made based on good criteria.

Since it takes time, resources, and clear judgment to come up with a choice, it’s important that your decision at least follows a system.

It Leads To More Opportunities

An effective and good decision should lead others to act.

It should be empowering to a point that it will lead to more opportunities for growth and development.

It Is Executable

Your decision doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t lead to action.

If you have no idea what to do after you’ve made your choice, it just means that your decision still isn’t clear enough.

It Should Be Made Out Of Self-awareness

Summarily, this is how leaders make decisions; wit

Summarily, this is how leaders make decisions; with a strong sense of self-awareness.

When you make a decision, you shouldn’t make it just so you would feel important.

It should be made out of humility while being aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.

Breaking A Commitment in 9 Professional Steps

Naturally, there are obligations which we must fulfill in life. Each of us has a bucket full of them! My goal here is to focus on personal or voluntary commitments we make to others.

Over-commitment can seem impressive but beware, it can also be detrimental. The tough calls come when we have to drop out of a commitment we made with our whole hearts and to people we deeply respect and care about. I would encourage you to make that tough call if you feel truly over-committed instead of continuing your tasks under a mask. If you choose to stay in the commitment because it takes too much guts to break it, remember the alternative: You will be stressed, overwhelmed, unhappy and unbalanced. Why feel obligated to everything that once was a passion and now is but a chore. Find balance instead in your commitments.

We should respect ourselves and others enough to convey our change of circumstance or our change of heart professionally and in a timely manner. Here are 9 actionable steps which have helped make tough decisions less difficult for me on those occasions when I have had to break out of a commitment:

1. Show your Sincerity and Empathy

Sincerity is subtle or hidden in some of us. Empathy is under-rated. It is imperative that you show visible signs of your sincerity and empathy when breaking a commitment – and mean it. Do this in your words, your voice, your eye contact, your communication, and in your interest in the continued welfare of the group or organization after your departure.

2. State your Decision as a Statement not a Question

While the decision is a tough one, you have already made it for your reasons. Do not ask permission to break the commitment and do not gauge the emotional state of the vested party. Make your announcement in private to the key contacts stating it as a decision which now needs to be addressed – not a discussion or a question.

3. Explain your Reasons to your Comfort Limit

Naturally, everyone wants to know why. Be open and honest about your reasons but know that we are entitled to a change of heart, a change of circumstance, and your personal decisions. There does not need to be an emergency in your life for it to be a valid reason. Your reasons, if you are true to yourself, are reason enough.Do not feel guilty or be ashamed of them but express your regret professionally and sincerely.

4. Decide your Agenda and Terms of Breaking Away

As you get ready to break the commitment, you must have a plan in mind – what will you be willing to do and for how long to make it a fair and professional transition. Make that agenda yourself but  present it with willingness to accommodate small changes if need be. Find a balance of flexibility while being in charge of your own time and effort.

5. Offer to do Everything to Make the Transition Smooth

Within your terms of breaking away, do be sincere and kind in understanding what it takes to make it a smooth transition. Sometimes this means a particular series of tasks but not necessarily time-consuming or stressful. Ask and find out the special needs of the group and accommodate them as much as possible without compromising your own plan.

6. Express your Gratitude for the Opportunity Given to You

We learn from every opportunity, every responsibility and every interaction. Even if implied and even if you have done so, do it again. Thank everyone with whom you worked sincerely, show your gratitude for the trust and respect vested in you:

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with you. I have learned so much from everyone.” “I feel indebted to the wonderful group of people I worked with and will miss the learning and the fun.” “I cannot thank you enough for trusting my judgment and finding my work valuable.”

7. Articulate your Thoughts and Words Professionally

Words speak volumes and how we phrase our sentences matters. Your intentions are expressed in your words so take no chances. Here are some phrases that I have used and meant from the heart.

“I regret so much that I have to break out of this commitment earlier than expected.” “I wish I could continue my role until the end of the year but I have had to prioritize other commitments in my life.” “I am sorry that I have had to make a very difficult decision in breaking out of my commitment to you.” “Unfortunately, I cannot continue to deliver for us to best of my ability due to some changes in my personal life.”

8. Keep the Relationships

Just because you are leaving a commitment does not mean that you should leave the people. I take pride in my social network of friends, peers, colleagues and coaches. The relationships are what should thrive long after responsibilities to a job are complete. You never know when you may cross paths again, when you may have a chance to reconnect and reach out to help someone – or when someone may be in a position to help you. So keep and guard the wonderful relationships you formed in the process. They are separate from the commitment.

9. Always Leave the Door Open

Circumstances may change and you may find yourself in a position to pick things back up again, especially if you feel about your commitment the way I do about Toastmasters. Acknowledge this in your conversations with the group and also to yourself. Always leave the door open and never burn a bridge. Life turns around in unexpected ways so never fully close a door.

4. Consider the Opposite

In a meta-analysis of 50 years’ worth of judgement and decision making research published by Harvard Business School, one piece of advice for making a difficult decision that came up time and time again was to get an outsider's opinion.

The researchers found that talking to those detached from the decision has three main benefits:

  1. Reducing your overconfidence about what you know

  2. Reducing the time it takes to make the decision

  3. Increasing your chance of entrepreneurial success

We all have our personal biases when faced with a decision.

We want to believe one way is right even if the information doesn’t stack up. Instead of staying impartial, we look for information or opinions in line with our own.

The power of the outsider comes from escaping the cognitive biases we all fall victim to when working closely on a project—for example, the Confirmation Bias, described as the tendency to favor or spin new information so that it re-affirms what we already believe.

Bring in the Barbarian

While you might talk to a friend, colleague, or mentor to help bring in a new perspective, the outsider doesn’t have to be someone completely disconnected from the decision. In fact, it can be just as powerful to have someone within your team or even yourself adopt an outsider’s perspective.

This approach is sometimes described as making sure there is a "barbarian" at every meeting—someone who will speak awkward truths clearly and urgently.


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