During our lives, we may experience several “crossroads” moments.
A moment when you make a choice…
Our decisions and choices have a significant impact on the direction our life takes
It sounds serious, and often it is, but sometimes these decisions come easily to us; just because a choice is life-changing does not automatically mean there has to be angst attached to it.
Of course, at other times we can feel really torn and anxious about which way to go.
Most of our decisions fall somewhere in the middle; they are not “tear-your-hair-out” tough decisions but equally they are not immediate “of course, I know what to do” decisions either.
The important thing to remember about your life choices is that they are YOURS.
It can be really helpful to seek guidance, you may be taking guidance from this post right now. You may also ask people you know for their advice about what you should do. Get as much help and information as you need, and then when the time comes to decide you can safely say…
“This decision is the best decision for my life”
Choosing your path in this way will hopefully prevent any regret or resentment; it’s much better to own your decisions, and to remember you made the best decision you could with the information you had at the time – a compassionate stance is best 🙂
It’s a big decision to decide which university to go to – you are given hundreds of prospectuses to read (!) and you have a few months to mull it over. The best advice I was given in relation to this was “you’ll know when you have visited the right university for you” – sounds a bit woolly right? But, actually, it was really useful because it highlighted that my gut instinct was as important as league tables and location.
I chose Bangor University to study Psychology – I weighed up the important stuff, talked to my family and friends, tuned in to my gut feeling when I visited for an open day, considered the best possible outcomes, and checked it was in line with my life goals. This decision served me well in life, and I use the same methodology to make decisions now.
Weighing up the important stuff
Exploring the pros and cons is a great place to start; you’ll gain a balanced perspective and, usually, something stands out to help sway your decision. Taking it a step further, you can explore four perspectives…
Talking to family and friends
There are no better people in the world to talk to than people who love you and want the best for you. They will offer advice, insights, opinions – some will be welcomed, some you may find challenging. I always spoke to my Mum about life decisions; she was very positive and always visualised how it would work out in the long-term. Choose who you speak to wisely and how many people you speak to – too many can be overwhelming. Remember: their advice is part of gathering information – you are the one who decides.
We all have gut instincts and feelings; the feeling of “YES” or “NO” when it comes to decisions. Often small decisions are made by our gut; because weighing up whether we want a cup of tea might be seen as overkill 😉
Before moving to York, I weighed it all up and there were a lot of positives for staying in Preston to consider. York was entering the unknown… It could have been at that point that my gut feeling, overwhelmed by fear, shouted “NO!!!” – but it was the opposite. Despite all the positives of staying in Preston and all the unknowns about moving to York – my gut feeling was “YES!” so I packed up & moved with just one week’s notice!
Consider the best possible outcomes
We naturally worry about the worst case scenarios, at the very least we think about what could go wrong. But this is all fear talking. We need to be safe, yes. But when it comes to life progression, personal growth, and fulfilling our potential – this won’t happen in our comfort zone. We have to shift our mindset and consider what amazing possibilities a left-hand turn could take! Balance is important, so consider this…
By giving equal consideration to these outcomes, we can generate a realistic perspective on what could happen – an educated guess – and we can use this information to help us. The alternative is only focussing on the worst which could actually put us off altogether! Only focusing on the best may set up unrealistic expectations, but it’s important to give it at least 33.3% of your attention! The most likely option balances all perspectives and is usually, as the name suggests, the most likely outcome 🙂 Fear can buzz off!
Checking in with your life goals
Someone could present a crossroads to you, and it won’t mean much because it’s not in line with your goals. If someone asked me “are you going to sign up for this marathon in 2017?” I could use all of the above tools to weigh it up but, actually, I already know I don’t want to run a marathon; I’m not scared, I could make the time to train if I wanted to but I purely and simply don’t want to. Major sport achievement is not in my top 10 life goals; therefore, no marathon for me!
If membership to a reputable online dating site was offered to my single friend, who wants to have a relationship – this decision is automatically worth considering.
Crossroads: Online Dating
Best: I’ll meet my future husband!
Worst: All the men that contact me will be creepy and I won’t go on any dates
Most likely: I’ll have a mixture of dates and one might develop into a relationship
I hope you have found my walk through of decision-making ideas helpful.
Let me know if you have any other ways of making decisions.
If all else fails, you could flip a coin! 😉