Good Decisions Make Us Feel Happier: The Six Step Process

One of the keys to a happy life is making sensible judgements. So often we waste time trying to decide what we should do. We puzzle over our decision, sometimes pulled one way and sometimes another, and often we end up doing nothing and missing opportunities.

A good decision is one that considers all the options. So if you have a difficult decision to make, here’s a Six Step process that will help.

Step One: Sit down with a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle, so you have two columns.

Step Two: In one column, list all the good things that you can think of on one side of the argument. In the other, list the arguments against that side. You may end up with something like this:     

                                              Should I give up my job?

 Arguments for giving up                        Arguments against giving up

I hate my job                                                  I don’t have another job to go to

I think I can be a writer                                  I’ve never had anything published

I will have time to write                                  I may not be good enough

I can live on my savings for 6 months          I like having a regular income

I will feel happier as a writer                         I like going on expensive holidays                                                                            

And so on............

Writing the arguments down will help to clear your mind and make it easier for you to make the decision.

Step Three: When I make this sort of list, I like to give weighting to the items, as I find some of them are more important to me than others. For example, ‘I will feel happier’ would be more important to me than ‘I don’t know whether I’m good enough’. I’d give the ‘happier’ item five points, and the ‘I don’t know’ item only one. You can choose how to weight your items. It’s your list, after all.

Step Four: Add up the points and make a total.

Step Five: Then you make the decision. Avoid slavishly following the totals. You may surprise yourself by deciding to act in a way that seems to go against all the logic, but that ‘feels right.’ The list will have clarified your thoughts and you will, at the very least, know what you’re letting yourself in for.

Step Six: Finally, as Napoleon is reputed to have said: Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.

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Frances Evesham: on the run around Europe for years, with only a husband, three children and a succession of opinionated cats to keep me out of trouble. Somerset stopped me in my tracks. Now I walk in the country and breathe sea air. I will get around to cleaning the house soon.

I've been a speech therapist, a professional communication fiend and a road sweeper. I sometimes work in the criminal courts to uphold fair questioning of people with special needs.

I smell the roses, lavender and rosemary as I cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other. Writing historical romances and books on communication leaves enough time to enjoy bad jokes and puns and wish I’d kept on with the piano lessons.