Are you still ‘deciding’ to do something about that dream?
How long has it been now? What are you waiting for?
When I get a pay-rise, that’s when I’ll decide.
When things settle down at work, I’ll start thinking about what I’m going to do.
When the summer/Christmas/Easter is out of the way, I’ll do something about what I really want to do.
I used to worry about making the ‘right’ decision, considering what I ‘should’ do and all the possible options and risks. I wasted a lot of time. While weighing up pros and cons, isn’t a bad thing, it often left me overwhelmed or procrastinating so much that I made no decision at all.
Now I’m practising making decisions speedily.
I realised I had spent so much time and energy on ‘deciding’ that I would have been further along had I just started and changed tack if it didn’t work.
The more I delve deeper who I am, what I’m doing and living in line with my vision, the more I know how much making decisions quickly keeps my momentum flowing.
To move abroad, to do work you love or just to up your happiness quota is about the creation of a path, not ‘finding’ the path. ‘Finding’ puts too much pressure on us to ‘get it right’. And we can only do our best with what we have at the time.
Yet we can be caught up in ‘shoulds’ and ideas and complicated lines of thought.
‘If I do this, I won’t be able to do this, which means that she is affected and then he’ll get stressed and everyone will hate me.'
That’s WAY too much pressure to put on yourself.
Here's what I've learnt for decision-making:
Check out the decision with your vision.
Having a strong vision, including being able to bring up clear pictures in my mind of the type of life I wanted to live (living in Italy, what I’m eating, wearing and doing) is crucial for a journey which involves a major life change. Does your decision take you closer or move you further away?
Align the decision with your values.
If a decision allows you to more fully express your values, it’s likely to serve you well. After all, your values are an expression of you. I recently said ‘Yes’ to my new home because it’s a beautiful flat (with a view of the hills and mountains and ‘Yes’ to buying a bike. Beauty and freedom are two of my top five values, so both were aligned. What are your top 5 values?
Trust your intuition and listen to your body
Your body and your mind are both parts of you, but often we have forgotten how to listen to our bodies in favour of the ideas and beliefs we have been taught about how life works. Trusting that your body knows what it wants takes a little practice, and listening to the small quiet voice inside of you, or watching your body reacting to something (if you feel expansive and free, it’s generally a good decision and if you feel small and constricted, usually less good!) has been a reliable guide for me over the last few years. Do you listen to your body? What is it saying to you now?
Take the emotion out of it
In one of my favourite TV series "Suits", Rachel, an aspiring lawyer, is working as a paralegal in a top NY law firm. Previously she had negotiated help with her tuition fees for law school from one of the partners. Now, some months later, it appears that the partner has broken his promise. She feels awful because she needs the tuition fees paid for but the partner is ill and it’s a really awkward time to be asking. Her reaction is to feel bad and worry about it but her colleague steps in and gives her some perspective. ‘It’s just a contract issue’ he says, ‘Take the emotion out of it’.
We can attach a whole load of emotion to decisions that we don’t need to. Is there an emotion around your decision? Why? Getting curious about your reactions will help you untangle the feelings from the decision itself and help you see everything more clearly.
Ask yourself if it makes you feel good
Does it make you feel good? Does this decision make you feel free, happy, excited, joyful and like you want to punch the air and shout 'WAHOO'? Many of us are ashamed to choose things based solely on this reason, because 'I want, never gets' is ingrained into our subconsciousness. Yet, logically, it’s the best way to be happy - to choose things that bring you joy, pleasure, fun and happiness. I know some of you reading this will feel fear around this, but try it in a small way to start with and see what happens. Will your decision help you feel good? What decision will do that?
What else helps you make decisions? What decisions have you made to take a step towards your dream and how has it turned out? Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.