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What’s your decision?

Hello everyone,

Did you find your African Violet? What’s been gong well.

Often what keeps someone from moving forward is a decision to do so.  When we feel stuck, there is often indecision and uncertainty or fear of making the wrong choice that holds us back.  While it is typically better to think things through rather than be impulsive, continuously being indecisive may not be much better. So how can you make a decision?

There are probably numerous ways to go about making a decision and I would like to offer my two cents.

One of the first steps would involve identifying that a decision is to be made, which by the way is a decision. Once you decide that you want or are at least willing to try X, then you need to identify the benefits of such a decision.  This is because we often only do things we want to do or come to an agreement of willingness to do them.  When we do something, it is typically because it make sense to us, make us feel better or give us something.  Sometimes this is what makes it hard to say, “Yes, I want to do X” (i.e.change). For example, if you struggle with isolating and know that going out with others will increase your anxiety you are likely to choose to stay home. Such a decision makes sense to you. This is because it makes you feel better because it lowers your anxiety and you get relief. This is where you need to make the more important decision. Do I want to change?  If you are okay with what you are doing or not doing, you essentially are telling yourself that no change is required.  If you are depressed or anxious and not engaging in life, there is probably a part of you that thinks, “I can’t change or that change is too hard, it won’t last, what’s the point of trying, etc…” One way to address this dilemma is to identify the benefits of changing if you could.  Imagine that change is possible and that you would be okay. How would your life be better by changing?

Think about it from the perspective of relationships, physical and emotional health, energy level, financially and even spiritually. The purpose of identifying the benefits is to increase your interest, desire and motivation to pursue changing.  This is how we talk ourselves into things.  By the way, you do this each time you talk yourself into not changing as well, which demonstrates that what you tell yourself really does influence your decisions.

Once you have identified that you are willing to change and the benefits to changing, you need to identify one realistic step you can and are willing to take toward actually changing. Staying with the example of isolating, if you want to not isolate or want to be more social, you need to identify what would be just on the fringe of your comfort zone.  Perhaps this would be spending fifteen minutes in the family room or kitchen (could even be when know one else is around), which would be a change from staying isolated in your room. Perhaps a step just passed that would be taking a walk around your block or neighborhood.  Break down your decision into as many achievable steps as you need to be successful. Start with the easiest step.

You can also talk with your supports regarding your decision.  Getting feedback from those you trust and who support you can be validating, encouraging and helps you realize that you are making the right decision.

For every step I also recommend that you validate and acknowledge that you are making progress. That means leaving the, “Yea, but” out of it! No minimizing or discounting.
So to review my two cents on how to make a decision:

1. Identify that a decision is to be made.

2. Identify the options or choices.

3. Make a list of the reasons and benefits of making that decision.

4. Identify the achievable steps you are willing to take to be successful.

5. Review the reasons and benefits with your supports and get their feedback.

6. Validate and acknowledge each step you take as good.

Best regards,

~ Dr. Lou

P.S. It might be best to write all of this down.


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