Saturday, November 8, 2014

Key Steps to Decision-Making

There comes a point in almost everyone’s life when they realize their life has changed. The future is unknown, but there’s a gnawing internal awareness that time is of the essence. 

Circumstances have evolved: the children are grown and have their own lives, family and friends have moved away, death or divorce has altered lifestyle, health has become a concern for oneself or someone in the family, retirement is looming or at least being considered. How do we make the right decisions to maximize the benefit of our remaining “good years” and stay in control of our life as much as possible?

We know there are no guarantees in life, but it’s our responsibility to make the best decisions we can based on the information we have and how we feel about it.

Studies have shown that with increasing age there appears to be a decline in the ability to make appropriate decisions. We learn less easily, we process information more slowly. This can have an impact on financial and health related decisions. It’s important to think about your future as clearly as possible now and plan for someone you trust to assist you any time you are unsure about a decision.

At this point there also seems to be a tendency to think less about the long term future and more about the moment. Taking a dream vacation, moving out of an unhappy relationship, engaging in a hobby or interest from earlier years, seeking a new purpose that can be implemented immediately are just some of the short term attractions.

Here are the steps to help you make the right decision for yourself.
1 – Consider all factors
Take a look at everything that should be considered: health, money, lifestyle, relationships, self-fulfillment. It’s helpful to prioritize all factors so that appropriate weight can be given in the decision-making process.

2 – Consider your options
Write out all the options you have identified. If there’s only one, your objective is to make it the most favorable, considering other factors. If there’s more than one, apply the following steps. You might also want to get the strategic perspective of someone else who can help you find new options.

3 – Consider limitations
If health is your priority concern, consider any physical or functional limitations that will affect the rest of your decisions. If money is your primary concern you know that will be a strong consideration in sorting through options.

4 – Consider desires
If you’ve always wanted to spend time painting, but never could find the time, this may be the perfect time to experience the joy of expressing your talent. This might be the ideal time to relocate to another place if all the factors are right.

5 – Consider your bucket list
If you haven’t already made your list, do it now. See how your bucket list fits with your priorities and limitations. You may not be able to include everything, but chances are you can achieve a lot if you put your mind to it. The more you can relate your bucket list to the previous three steps the greater the chances of fulfilling your plans.

6 – Consider what your gut tells you
Don’t ever make a decision without checking with your gut. You will know it’s right when you feel totally comfortable with the decision you’re making. You’ve addressed the limitations and have figured how to achieve your goals. You know what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it.

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