We all face big decisions from time to time. When contemplating a career change, deciding whether to start a family, or grappling with any other big decision, it can be difficult to know which path to choose.
Things would be a whole lot easier if you had a crystal ball to help you with those decisions. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way.
Instead, the real way to determine how to know you are making the right decision is a bit more complicated. It involves a whole lot of reflection and even some risk-taking, which can be scary and overwhelming.
However, it can also be exhilarating. Your choices are your own, which means the possibilities are endless! You can do what you want and be who you want to be--if you give yourself that permission.
While you can’t wave a magic wand to make those hard choices for you, you can use my tips below to get a clearer sense of whether you’re making the right decision.
Let’s dive in.
How to know if you are making the right decision
You are the only person who can truly know what’s best for you. These strategies can help you determine whether you’re going down a path that resonates with what you truly want.
Listen to your gut
There’s something to be said for trusting your gut. Oftentimes, that little voice inside your head is reminding you what feels right.
Things like overthinking, comparing yourself to others, and input from others can make that little voice quieter than usual. However, if something deep inside you is telling you that you’re making the right decision, it’s worth trusting it.
The same can be said for when you get a nagging feeling that you’re choosing the wrong thing. Maybe you feel pressured into making a certain choice that just doesn’t feel right for you. That’s completely valid too.
Spend time reflecting on your values
Listening to your gut can be easier said than done, especially when that little voice in your head is more of a whisper. Taking time to reflect on what’s truly important to you can help make it louder.
Prayer, meditation, journaling, art, and time spent in nature are all excellent tools for reflection. Use whatever makes sense to you, even if it’s not listed here.
Once you’ve dedicated this quiet time to yourself, think about what you value. Is it connection? Is it adventure, authenticity, or expression? Whatever it is, think about how your decision either supports or goes against your value.
Imagine both kinds of “what ifs”
It can be hard to break the cycle of self-doubt once it settles in. While it’s natural to consider possible outcomes of any given decision, you may not realize that your mind tends to focus on the negative rather than the positive.
If this is the case for you, challenge yourself to explore some positive “what ifs.” For example, if your mind keeps asking, “What if I hate the new city I’m moving to?” gently let yourself entertain the question, “What if I love it? What if I make tons of new friends? What if I love exploring my new neighborhood?”
Work through it in therapy
It’s true that you’re the only person who can truly know if you’re making the right decision. However, you don’t have to go it alone. Having the support of a therapist can help.
As a therapist myself, I work with anxious millennials who are struggling with problems like this. I can help you turn down the dial on your anxiety and break thought patterns that keep you stuck in a loop of self-doubt. Together, we’ll get to the root of what you want--not what other people are telling you to do or what you think you “should” do.
Think we’d be a good fit? Schedule a complimentary consultation so we can chat (I work with residents of Idaho, Iowa, and North Dakota).
Zoom out the lens on your life
When we’re grappling with a tough choice, it can feel all-consuming. While it’s important to carefully consider decisions--especially big ones--you also run the risk of overthinking. Becoming too absorbed with your thoughts about your situation can paralyze you from taking any action.
If you feel like you’re drowning in anxious thoughts about your decision, genty take a step back and zoom out the lens on your life. Remind yourself that this choice is just one of many you will make (and have made!) throughout the course of your life.
Even though it may not feel like it at the moment, this decision will not make or break your life. It will be what you make of it.
Consider the advice you’d give a friend
Things always feel different when they’re happening directly to us. In this case, it can be useful to imagine the advice you’d give a friend if the roles were reversed.
If a friend was going through the same situation, how would you support them in making this choice? Would you think they are doing the right thing for themselves?
While this technique isn’t foolproof, it can help you take a more objective view of your situation. Hypothetically, you wouldn’t need to agree with every choice a friend makes, but this strategy is useful for getting a different perspective on whether you’re making the right decision.
Therapy can help you navigate how to know if you are making the right decision
Still not sure if you’re choosing the right path for yourself? Consider therapy--I can help you navigate your decision.
While I won’t tell you what to do, I can help you get to the heart of what you want for yourself. Sometimes the anxiety from external (and internal) pressures can drown out the voice in our head and heart that tells us what we really want.
During our work together, you’ll learn how to manage your anxiety, stop doubting yourself, and step confidently into a decision that’s right for you.
I’m ready if you are. Reach out today to schedule a complimentary consultation.