By Kaitlyn Mitchell
Each and every day we make decisions. Some are as simple as whether to go out for the day or stay home and study for that exam, what to have for lunch, or what dress to wear. Sometimes they are complicated decisions-- like who to date, what to study, or where to go to college. Is there a right way to go about making the best decision? Some scholars think so. Here are seven simple steps to take into consideration when making a decision.
1. Define the problem
How are you going to come to a decision if you don’t understand all of the aspects of the problem? When you know exactly what you’re dealing with, then you can calculate the pros and cons of the choice.
2. Identify the ‘decision criteria’
To sum up this step, you pretty much just need to know your options. So for example, if you choose to do X, you will not be able to do Y. Then, which options would you immediately rule out because they don’t fit with your standards? By effectively working out all of your options and judging them against your values, you can begin step 3.
3. Know which option you prefer
Having a clear preference of an outcome will assist with knowing what needs to be done in order to achieve that outcome. It may also help if you prioritize your other tasks so that you can make it happen. For example, if I finish all of my assignments by Friday, I can go out with my friends on Sunday.
4. Develop alternatives
This is like a back-up plan, but it will help you to come to a well-thought-out decision. If you can’t have your preferred outcome, what can you do instead? It might help to refer back to step 2 and rework some of your options. Put a bit of creative effort into this step.
5. Evaluate alternatives
Think carefully through each of your alternative options. Who knows? Perhaps one of these will work out better than your initially preferred outcome.
It’s always a good idea to consult God. With big choices and smaller choices, God is interested in what you have to say and is willing to help you out. Let Him guide your life:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” - Philippians 4:6-7.
7. Select the best outcome for you
Now, based on all of the steps above, choose the best outcome for you – not your friends, parents or teachers. You live with the benefits or the consequences of your decision, so make a good decision in the first place.
By exploring all of your options and desired outcomes, your decisions will be well-considered and informed. With these steps, you will begin to make more fulfilling decisions in your life. And remember, even if you do happen to make a wrong decision, God is always there to pick you up and help you back on His path for your life.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11.