I know what you’re saying “My decisions have nothing to do with the predicament I’m in.” “I didn’t choose to be broke.” “I didn’t choose to get laid off.” “I didn’t choose to have a boss that I can’t stand.” “I didn’t choose to have all these problems in my life.” The fact of the matter is that almost anything that happens in our lives boils down to a decision we made.
You can learn how to make better decisions.
Too often we get stuck in the mindset of blaming others for the circumstances we are in. It’s not your job’s fault for not paying you enough. You decided to take that job. You decided not to find ways to make additional money. You decided not to go find a new job. This can be said for almost any problem in our lives.
Once we stop being the victim and start taking ownership of our problems, we can start coming up with solutions.
Tips for Common Problems
You have financial troubles
There are only three ways you can have more money. You can either spend less money, bring in more money, or do both.
Spend less money – The first step is to realize where your money goes. Many great apps can track your finances for you. See this link for a list of personal finance apps. After you know where your money is going, make a list of needs and wants. Be honest with yourself. Things like cable tv and lattes are in the wants category. Start cutting back on some of the items in your wants category. You can also look at things in your needs category and see if those can be minimized. For example, you may be able to lower costs for things like car insurance by shopping around.
Bring in more money – There so many ways to make money. It all depends on whether you are willing to go out and get it. You can get a second job. You can sell some of your items you don’t use anymore on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. You can start a side hustle. Side hustles can be anything from driving for Uber to doing side jobs on Upwork. Side hustles are a great way to bring in more money and many times can be more lucrative than your full-time job. See this article for more side hustle ideas.
You hate your job
If you can’t stand your job you have a couple of options. You can either get a new job or you can make the circumstances better within your current job.
Get a new job – First thing you want to do is get your resume in order. There are many great resources available to help you build a professional-looking resume. After your resume is in order, you can begin looking for a new job. Websites like Indeed and LinkedIn are used by many employers to find new talent. These are great places to start.
Make current job better – Believe it or not, just because your job stinks it doesn’t mean you can’t make it better. You have the power to lead the change and not only make it better for yourself but others as well. See my previous post about tips to deal with a toxic workplace.
You are unhealthy
Getting healthy involves both eating right and exercising.
Eating right – Eating a well-balanced diet and cutting out things that aren’t good for you not only improves how you look but also improves how you feel physically and mentally. If you are overweight, improving your diet is the most important thing you can do to lose weight. See this website for great tips on weight-loss.
Exercising – 30 minutes of exercise 5 days a week is recommended but you don’t have to start there. If you are out of shape you can start with something easy like parking further away when you go to the store and building up from there. You don’t have to go out and run a marathon, but exercise needs to become a part of your lifestyle.
A relationship ended
The end of relationships can be one of the tougher things we have to face in our lives but it’s not the end of the world. Everyone has heard the saying “Time heals all wounds.” It may not feel like while you’re going through it but as time goes on the pain becomes less and less. Family and friends are also great at helping us through these situations. Don’t push them away, they want to be there for you, and you need them.
You made a mistake
Everyone messes up. The best thing to do is to own it and learn from it. Life’s most memorable lessons come from mistakes. See my article about dealing with mistakes for more tips.
One of your possessions broke or got messed up
Did your tv fall off the wall and break or did someone hit your car and it got totaled? Sometimes these things happen in life. We can always get new possessions. There is no point in getting mad or getting yourself worked up. Save your energy for things you can control. The important thing is that you’re ok.
You feel like your life has no meaning
One of the best things you can do when you feel this way is to go out and experiment with different things that help others. You can go out and volunteer at your local soup kitchen. You can volunteer at your local animal shelter. You can volunteer at an organization like habitat for humanity. Keep trying out new things until you find your cause, your purpose, your mission.
You are stressed out
Being too stressed out can affect a lot of areas of your life. Your health, productivity, and mood can suffer due to stress. When you feel yourself getting stressed, ask yourself “Is this something within my control?” If it’s out of your control, then it’s not worth getting stressed out about. Sometimes that is easier said than done. If you still find yourself stressed out do something to take your mind off it. Go exercise, go for a walk, read a book or anything else that takes your mind off it, and makes you a better person at the same time.
You don’t have enough time
This is one of the biggest excuses that we tell ourselves and others. We don’t have enough time to go workout, hang out with our kids, or any other thing we know is good for us and our loved ones. We are busy people but somehow, we find the time to watch tv for hours or play games on our mobile devices. Much like finances you can make a list of needs and wants when it comes to your time. Look for areas where you are wasting your precious time and replace that with something that will make you better as a person.
Tips to Make Better Decisions
The best way to fix issues is to avoid them, to begin with. Although we can’t avoid all our problems, we can certainly minimize them by making better decisions in the first place.
Stop and think about the decision
Take a moment to process a decision before you make it. This doesn’t mean overthink the decision but take a few minutes to do a little risk management. This means weighing the upside of each side against the downside. Many times, we just make decisions on instinct without fully realizing the downside.
Be proactive instead of reactive
Start seeing decisions and problems before they arrive. This gives you time to think them through and come up with a plan instead of being forced to react when they happen. Seeing what is coming down the line can help you avoid many problems or at least be prepared for them.
Incorporate both sides of your brain
The left side of your brain controls logic and reason. The right-side controls emotion. It’s important to allow a good balance between emotion and logic when making decisions. Leaning too far to one side or the other can inhibit your ability to make a good decision.
Visualize the outcome
Close your eyes and visualize the outcomes of the decisions before you make them. This can help you see how it feels and see potential problems. It’s important to visualize all options of a decision so you can weigh the upside and downside.
Recognize the power behind your decision
Always realize the weight behind your decision. Our decisions often hold a lot more weight than we initially realize. Think about the areas that could be affected by your decision, especially decisions that will affect others.
Talk it out with others
Other people have an outlook on things that we don’t always see. Don’t be afraid to find someone you trust and ask for their advice. Even if you don’t follow their advice they may open your eyes to other options.
Weigh the decision against your goals and values
You never want to go against your personal goals or values. Before making decisions always ask yourself two questions. Does this decision support my goals? Does this decision fit in with my values? If the answer is no then you probably shouldn’t go with that decision.
Listen to your gut
Don’t blindly follow your instinct but you typically have a gut feeling for a reason. Figure out why your gut is telling you to go one way over the other and factor that into your decision-making process.
Wrapping it All Up
Making better decisions can put you in a better position in the future. Blaming others for the spot you are in does nothing except distract you from doing the things you need to do to fix the situation. No matter what situation you are in, take responsibility. The situation may not be your fault but if you want it to change, it’s your responsibility to change it.