9-Step Strategy to Make a Decision
It’s no secret that adulting is harder than you thought it would be when you were growing up. Children assume adults have all the answers. As a kid, this leads you to draw the conclusion that when you grow up you will automatically have them all, too.
You may have been educated into believing that you don’t know yourself best. This begins in school when you are taught to listen to the rules rather than your own internal guidance system. You can no longer eat when you are hungry, move when you feel fidgety, or rest when you feel tired. In following the schedule designed for you, you begin to believe—because it is implied—that your teachers know what is best for you.
Sure, you might want to color the sky green, but when you are told that the sky is supposed to be blue, you think that your impulse to use green was wrong. Eventually, you begin to subtly believe that you don’t know what is best for yourself. And this tiny shimmer of self-doubt grows as your coaches, parents and peers point out that your music, clothes, sleep schedule, and food choices aren’t good choices for you. By the time you are college-aged, it’s amazing that you can make any choices at all.
Finding answers becomes a process of looking outside yourself for advice from experts who can offer experience and an educated opinion. It can also be about making pro/con lists. After you have gathered all the information you need, you frequently find yourself stuck in analysis paralysis—that place where rather than making a choice, you want to keep getting opinions from others. It seems you have lost the ability to trust yourself.
Here’s a simple guide to reconnect with your self-trust, keeping in mind that nobody has your answers except you.
Listen to Your Body
Your body sends you signals of what is good for you and what isn’t. Practice hearing them. Sleep when you feel tired, eat a reasonably sized portion of healthy food when you are hungry, and move when your body needs to move. Be mindful of what your body wants.
Meditation allows you to tap into the inner wisdom you were born with. Like any muscle, the more you flex it, the more comfortable it becomes with being used. Listen to these guided meditations to get you started.
Don’t Buy Into the Panic
When a decision feels rushed, your brain sends out chemicals that signify it is in a state of alarm. These chemicals actually turn off the brain’s ability to process. This was great when our big urgency was that a dinosaur was about to eat us, but choosing who to date, what to study, or where to live shouldn’t create that same panic. Take slow breaths or if time allows, a quick little walk. Allow your body to return to a more balanced state.