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How-To Make Tough Decisions and Stick with Them

I am 3-days late posting this week’s blog…again. After recovering from an intense period of emotional burnout, I still felt a bit off center. A bit dissatisfied…like something was missing or unresolved or going unnoticed.

I’ve spent the best part of this week with my crystals and my candles and my tears, reaching to connect with deeper parts of myself. What is it that I’m not seeing? How can I dive deeper into the debris? And last night, I had a breakthrough after binge-watching New Girl on Netflix into oblivion. Aha! One of my telltale signs of unconscious resistance (which you can read about in my post about seeing through a breakthrough) is mindless entertainment.

Last night, I discovered that I’d been burying fearful feelings about an inevitable talk that I must choose to initiate. I’d been distracting myself and rerouting my attention toward inaction and escapist fantasies instead of dealing with my discomfort. You see, growth in love comes with the consequence of bearing more honest, more raw, more challenging decisions with awareness and courage.

Essentially, healing and living and loving are consequences of choice.

A simple guide to making tough decisions

Don’t we all wish that there was some magical book to show us the way, to tell us if our decisions are right!? Well, there isn’t…and there shouldn’t be. When it comes to making tough decisions, there is no sure way that will lessen the unease and resistance we might feel. We’re all as unique as our fingerprints; we all have free will to think for ourselves, and the ability to conclude our life decisions with different lenses.

What we can develop is our openness to check in with ourselves and learn that with every tough decision we make, we gain the faith and steadfastness needed to believe in our choices and our discernment.

1. Be honest with yourself

Becoming comfortable with healthily critiquing your thoughts and behaviors takes time and immense self-compassion. Engaging your thoughts, in the way that you’d engage your emotions, starts by asking yourself tough questions. How do I feel about making this decision? Is this position hurting me? What are my thought patterns around making a move in this situation? Am I trying to protect myself or another’s feelings? What is causing me to be at a standstill? What do I really want?

Answering such questions requires stepping away from our usual thinking and outside of the picture we’ve painted of ourselves. This process places us in a space to gauge the bigger picture and separate from identifying with our experiences. A deeper level of authenticity and vulnerability emerges and allows us to align with the truths of today and visions of tomorrow.

2. Reflect

One of the most challenging aspects of making a tough decision is in the anxiety attached to the proposed certainty of deciding…and the fear of making the wrong choice. Flip-flopping back and forth is torturous but common. How do I know that this is the right decision? Reflection through meditation, quiet contemplation, or even conversation is useful in learning to detach from the outcome of a decision. Posit into your heart that whatever you consciously decide will lead to the brightest future.

Often times, people go back on what they have already decided, impulsively. Unconscious fear shakes-up their faith and confidence. During reflection, hone into the space, feelings, and thoughts that you keep coming back to. Use moments of reflection to identify what you revisit and use this insight to confidently commit to a decision.

3. Take your time

When faced with decision-making, many of us feel that we need to think of an answer on the spot. In some situations, that is fairly true but in situations where you have time to figure things out–take it. Not everything, especially personal matters, needs an instant and often premature response. Take time to figure out what it is that you want, what you’re even contemplating…what the stakes are.

Rushing into a poorly thought out decision can be devastating. Give yourself time to think things through, hear your heart’s responses and come to the best-feeling decision that you can.

4. Embrace a lighthearted and merciful approach

Another common travesty of decision-making comes from the emphasis placed on the dreadful feel of consciously choosing. The process can be tedious and even unsettling; so, we learn to associate decision-making with stress and to approach the process with apprehension and resistance rather than openness and compassion.

Recognize when you’re placing pressure on yourself and revisit your situation and choices with a lighter heart.

5. Hold Yourself Accountable

Holding yourself accountable to and for your decisions is the strongest way to ensure you follow through without regret. Because of possible conditioning around making tough decisions, I’ve found that a creative approach to self-accountability eases the process and enables gentle re-enforcement.

  • Set a daily reminder on your phone that says “hey you’re strong, you made the right decision!” or,
  • ask a close relative or a good friend to be your accountability buddy to help remind you why you made your decision in the first place, or;
  • journal one reason why you’re making the best choice everyday for a week, or
  • leave sticky notes around your house that say things like, “STAY FIRM,” “YOU GOT THIS, TIGER,” “YOU KNOW WHAT’S BEST FOR YOU!”

Without any one true method for making tough decisions, opening an internal dialogue places the process into perspective so that it no longer appears as daunting. Choosing to match confusion, angst and uncertainty with vulnerability allows confident and conscious decision-making to flow with ease.

Closing note to readers: It serves to remember that you always have a choice. If you can’t see your options in any given situation…you’ve probably already decided.

Danny ♥

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