Are You Using the Steps to Good Decision-Making?
Go to school or keep working? Buy a house or rent an apartment? Move to Calgary or stay in Edmonton? Home-school the kids or send them to the local elementary? Our decisions can have a huge impact on the course of our lives and the lives of our family members. Choosing between options can be confusing and stressful. Use these steps to help you recognize and make the best decision you can:
Get all the relevant information. Make sure you know the facts before jumping into a decision. For example, if you’re considering going back to school, find out all the information that might influence your decision.
- Where would you go to school? Would going to school require moving locations? How long would take to get there?
- Does going to school make financial sense right now? Carefully calculate the costs of attending school including tuition, supplies, transportation, and living expenses.
- Are jobs available for people with the diploma or degree I want?
- How will I get childcare during this time?
Consider your goals. Ask yourself, “How will this decision affect my long term and short term goals?” Some examples of goals you might have are:
- Financial: You want to become financially independent.
- Educational: You want to gain new skills.
- Employment-related: You want a specific job.
- Relational: You want more time to spend with friends or family.
- Altruistic: You want to help others.
Create a pros and cons list for each option. For example, if you’re choosing between attending Norquest or continuing work as a cashier at Sears, you would create a pros and cons list for each choice:
- Pros and Cons of going to Norquest
- Pros and Cons of continuing to work as a cashier at Sears
The two lists will likely overlap, but each one focuses on a different side of the decision. Your lists should include the information you gathered.
Accept uncertainty. Making choices can be very difficult because we don’t know all the results that a decision will lead to. Even if you go to Norquest and become a nurse, you may discover that you strongly dislike the job, or you may be unable to find a nursing job for a year after you graduate. We cannot control these unknown factors. We can however, accept the uncertainty in our future without letting it paralyse us from making decisions. Sometimes a clear best decision doesn’t exist.
Decide and act! Choose the option that seems best, and act on it.
Respond to the results. Trust that you will be able to meet the challenges you face after you make a decision. Everyone makes good and bad decisions. Don’t focus on making the perfect choice. Life isn’t perfect! Focus on making a good decisions with the information you have, and be ready to get your game on as you work through the results.