Updated: Jan 15
How do you make a decision? Do you know the steps?
If you are having trouble feeling confident in your actions and wish you had unwavering self-belief in your decisions, maybe it is time to look at your decision-making process.
We like to think that we are logical and that when we are making a decision, we carefully weigh all of our alternatives.
Although we sometimes make decisions rationally and logically, there are hundreds of decisions we make every day. Even the big decisions where we think we are being logical; the research shows that most of our decisions — big or small — are made unconsciously and involve emotion.
Decisions made impulsively or without careful thought might not always turn out how you hope they will. But what if good decisions were inevitable rather than occasional? Imagine for a moment how it would feel to know you are correct before you even act.
Maybe because there are steps, you should go through when deciding. Let’s take a look at those now.
1. Keep in Mind Your Values
1 Timothy 4:8; For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present lie and also for the life to come.
Do you automatically have all the answers? Probably not. Some of your beliefs might be biased, faulty, or illogical. Accepting that you might have things to learn is the first and most crucial step to making decisions. Take a step back from everything but the raw facts regarding what you are trying to decide.
Your best decisions reflect your values. As a Christian, my decisions should reflect my desire to glorify God. Allow your values to dictate the choices you make. If the decision you have to make does not quite set right with you, step back and pray. Recognize God as your partner in the big decision process.
2. Get the Facts, Receive Wisdom
Proverbs 18:15; An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
Do you have all the information you need to make an informed decision? Are there things you need to learn? What about examining the options? Have you considered multiple solutions? Take time to put the work in to gather what you need to proceed with confidence.
We gather facts to obtain knowledge, and in turn, we gain wisdom to act properly with that knowledge. In other words, wisdom applies the knowledge obtained for whatever purpose. Like, knowledge understands the light has turned red; wisdom applies the brakes. Wisdom is the most valuable gift we could ever receive. If the understanding is knowledge-based then wisdom is applying that knowledge through making the right decisions.
3. Consider Future Benefits
Proverbs 19:21; Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
Once you have some choices in mind, try to imagine how they will play out. Sometimes what looks good might be a great temporary solution, but you will need to do something different in the long run. If you make a specific decision right now, ask yourself if this will still be a good decision in the morning. What about next week? Or next year?
Do not make snap decisions. Whenever possible take your time to clearly think through your decision; any issues that may arise to understand them and weigh your options. Think about what you hope to achieve so you can feel confident about the choices you make. What do you think the consequences might be in a month? In a year? How about several years from now? It is best to take a little time before making those big decisions, sleep on it first because God may have other plans.
4. Get Another Opinion
Psalm 32:8; I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Do you have a mentor or someone you can trust whom you could talk to about this? While you might skip this step on the small stuff, having someone you trust to weigh in with their opinion whenever you make a big decision is worth it. They might see something you are missing.
We need the wisdom of someone we trust. Consult at least 2-3 trusted advisors with expertise in the same area, similar ventures, or have been in similar circumstances. Your best decisions heed wisdom from others. The words of wisdom from the ancients; “plans succeed through good counsel; don’t go to war without the advice of others.” There is considerable value in getting an outside perspective to bring clarity to situations especially if we are too close to the situation to think objectively.
5. The Action
James 2:14; What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him?
Sometimes the most challenging part of making decisions lies in making the actual decision. It is tempting to repeat the research several times or look for other alternatives. At some point, you’re going to need to act. Take your best solution and move forward with it with confidence. You have done all the work. Now comes the part where you put this newfound trust in yourself into action.
The best part? The more you run through this process, the more confident you will feel about making decisions in the first place. You have to do your best to get as much information as you can but then make the decision and continue to learn as you go. There will be times in life when you cannot wait for all the information to come in before making a decision. King Solomon said, “if you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.”
Transforming a decision into action is the last component of the decision process. A decision will not become effective unless the action commitments have been built into it from the start.