When I am faced with a life-altering decision, one thought that always comes to mind is regret. I get worried about potentially going with the “wrong” choice. This happens before I even choose what action to take. Having had to make a lot of tough decisions within the past year, I came up with an unofficial list to go through.
- Check in your emotions.
Often when I want to quit or run away from something, I want to act without thinking. Being emotional when deciding is just asking for something bad to happen. If you are not feeling so great, the key is to wait. Let yourself feel sad, angry, frustrated or any other negative sentiment. Ensure you have a therapeutic way to cope. Then, when you are feeling good, relatively speaking, reflect and start the decision-making process.
- Lay out your options including all the nitty gritty details.
The best way to explore your options is to know them. This means clearly defining Route A, Route B, Route C, and so on. You do not have to write them down, but it may help if you are a visual person or it is too much to just think about without a physical reference. Some details to consider include looking at the consequences, who will be impacted, and level of difficulty with execution. This step will probably take you the longest, but it will vary from person to person.
- Decide, but DO NOT act.
This part of the process is something my close friend and I thought of as we both worried about consequences. So, after evaluating your options, make an unofficial choice. Do this by writing it down or sharing the decision with someone you trust.
- Check yourself, any regrets?
Often, I notice that when I make a decision, I know I made the “wrong” choice because of a “bad” feeling. There is probably some kind of professional term for this, but all I know is, is that I do not feel good. This feeling entails thinking that I really want to go with the alternative instead. This feeling involves realizing the reasons behind my decision. Am I afraid? Am I doing this for myself or for someone else? Be honest with yourself. You may figure out if your choice will result in regret.
- Repeat steps 1 to 4 until you can live with yourself.
What if questions will always be there so long as individuals are able to decide for themselves. The important thing to remember is that you can only have control over so much. Be confident in yourself. Ensure that whatever you end up doing, understand that you are making the big decision with what you know.
- Make the big decision and go for it!
Commit wholeheartedly after a long process of self-reflection. Keep in mind that nothing is ever set in stone, adapt as you go. Regret nothing.