Americans make 70 different choices a day on average.
I recently read this article about how having too many choices can result in being indecisive. And they were only talking about consumer choices, not life-changing decisions. I can very well relate to that. Nowadays, it seems we have all the options to make everything out of our lives that we want to, we just have to decide on what it’s going to be. Apart from the fact that we are far away from a society where we really all have the same opportunities, there is another thing which makes this difficult: Before making a decision, you have to know what you want. And to figure that out has never been easy. So sometimes, we prefer to go on with the known, because it’s easier.
Still, I wouldn’t want it any other way! Having the freedom to choose is a luxury we should value.
For me, that means that I take the time to weigh my options. From time to time, we all have to face decisions that can lead our lives in completely different directions. The good thing is: I know out of experience, that when I have decided, I won’t look back and regret anything. The hard part is the one, where you decide which doors to close and which ones to open because behind every door are people you like, friends and partners maybe, opportunities and also risks.
So how make it easier to decide?
In the article mentioned above, there are some tips for businesses on how to make it easier for costumers to decide. I think, you can adapt those to your own life.
1) Cut down the options.
Stick with your favorite ones, decide between them, don’t think about the others any more, close those doors.
2) Make them concrete.
Imagine yourself in the future, having decided, living the life in every detail, in all consequences. How does it feel?
3) Categorize the options.
I think it’s best to categorize them according to the goal they serve. For example, when you think about job options, you may have offers that give you greater freedom, others would give you security and money, others again would help you to learn new skills … and so on.
4) Start with basic decisions.
You don’t have to decide for one option at once. You can narrow down your options by deciding a few things before: If you already have decided, that you’d prefer having flexible hours over working 9 to 5, some options will fall out of the equation.
With the options left, it shouldn’t be too hard to decide anymore. Still, I there is another thing I came across, which kind of inspired me. In my job, I am responsible for thinking about goals and how they can be fulfilled with different measures. So everything we do for a client should fit his vision and contribute to his goals. But that is equally true for an individual. That’s why I liked the method of Chris Brogan, who defines 3 words for every year as pillars overlooking all his actions – and decisions, of course.
Think of three words that sum up what you want to work actionably on changing/improving in the coming year.
My three words for 2013 will be:
FOCUS: I want to focus harder in many aspects: Focus on the task I’m doing at the moment, not doing things randomly, buy fewer but better things, having a focus on how and with whom I spend my time, getting things done in time instead of sitting in the office until late, making health a priority and so on.
JOY: There is always something to complain about, to be unsatisfied with, to be angry at. That won’t stop. But I want to forget about these things more, stop wasting energy on negative emotions and focus on the things in my life that give me joy, that are worth being happy about.
CREATION: Write more, build stuff, not only have ideas but execute them.
Well, that’s the plan.