A Simple Way To Improve Your Decision Making

By Robert Kennedy III

The alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button.  Your 8 minutes go by and the alarm goes off again.  Your arm reaches over and bangs the snooze once more.  You repeat this process over and over a few times until its 45 minutes past the time for which you originally set the alarm.  You manage to drag yourself out of bed eventually and still feel as tired as when you dropped into bed 6 hours before.

You are hungry and need to eat, but your favorite restaurant isn’t close by.  So, you have to choose a restaurant in the area.  After blustering for 10 minutes, you finally decide that you will choose the closest grill.  The menu comes and you ponder the menu for 20 minutes before deciding on your entreé.

A Simple Way To Improve Your Decision Making

This seems to be the story for many people.  Decision making is tough and they spend hours, days, weeks agonizing over the decision.  They delay because they are worried that making the “wrong” decision will cause everything to come crashing down.  The irony of this is that opportunities are missed because of the length of time it takes them to make these decisions.  Another element to consider is the very act of decision making.  It doesn’t happen in isolation.  It’s like a muscle.  HOW you make decisions in certain situations impacts how you make decisions overall.

For instance, the more that you hit the snooze button, the easier it becomes to do so, which, of course, delays you getting up and starting the day.  Every time you make a decision, you become stronger, more comfortable, better at making that type of decision.  Delaying a decision is also a decision.  So, delaying becomes the pattern that you fall into instead of making the actual decision from which you might be shying away.

There are different reasons in your mind for the delay.  You might be labeled by others, or have labeled yourself, an overthinker, a procrastinator, or a perfectionist.  However, the result is the same…slow or no decision.

I started running a little over 2 years ago and from it, learned to use some techniques in my decision making.  (I’m a believer in quick decision making) I’m not a marathon runner nor am I an every morning runner (except when I have a specific goal for the month).  So, when I run, I take walk breaks.

I begin running and when I begin to feel tired, I choose a point up ahead to which I’ll run.  Once I get there, I begin walking and give myself 3 seconds to choose the point at which I’ll run.  Once I begin running again, I give myself 5 seconds to choose my next walk point.  It doesn’t really matter to me how close or how far away the walk point or run point are.  What I’m doing is creating a decision.  I won’t switch that point mid-run or mid-walk.  I stick to it and push through to those points.  Yes, there are absolutely times when I’m tired and I don’t create long intervals, but the whole point for me is practicing decisions and sticking to them.

Let me break that down into a simple process.

1. Recognize the decision that needs to be made.

2. Give yourself a time frame to make the decision.

3. Gather all the information you can in that time frame.

4. Make the decision.

5. Act on the decision.

The more that you do this, even in simple things, the better you will become at decision-making. This is the HABIT of decision-making. Will you make the right decision every time?  No, of course not.  No one does.  But that’s not the point.  Forward progress and MAKING decisions is the point.  The more you practice deliberate and intentional decision making, the better you will become at it, the more quickly you will assimilate information and the faster you will move towards your goals.

Now, decide that you are going to move that alarm clock across the room so that you can get out of bed the first time it goes off.

What do you think about forming the habit of decision-making?

**I wanted to share another great article on quick-decision making**