Listen to the Podcast episode instead.

Do you know that where you are today, who you have become today is as a result of decisions you have made in the past? When it comes to decision making, you can find yourself under any of the three categories below:

o Wrong Choices

o Indecisive

o Right Choices

If you consistently choose right – whether in terms of career, eating habits, saving, spending, and investing – after some time, you will see the positive impacts of choices in your life. The opposite is true if you regularly make wrong decisions. It is, therefore, essential to learn how to become a better decision-maker. 

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it’s difficult to choose between many alternatives? You know that you need to decide about which option to take, but you are doubtful about whether or not your choice will be in your best interest. You found yourself in a state of confusion, over-analyzing your plans, going back and forth between the different alternatives. 

People from time to time find themselves in this situation, in which they find it extremely challenging to make up their minds on what they need to do to choose the best option when presented with multiple choices. The highly successful people have a well-defined strategy for making decisions that will be beneficial to them so that they can achieve their big-picture goals.

So how do you make decisions? What will you do when you need to choose between two similar alternatives? Indecision can affect your productivity and can cause a drag on your time, preventing you from making any decision until everything becomes urgent. If you want to be more efficient in decision making, then you need to be aware of the 3-step framework for making a better decision. Making the best choice out of multiple options does not necessarily mean over-analyzing or choosing slowly. 

Here is the 3-step framework for effective decision making:

1. Preplan: Preplanning your decisions will give you a little bit of an edge when it comes to time to make your choice. Preplanning involves being clear about not only what you want, but also what you absolutely cannot tolerate. For example, if you get two job offers, and one will require extensive travel, making you unavailable for your family. If it is not your desire to travel for jobs, and if you had made up your mind before the opportunity showed up, it becomes easier for you to quickly decline the job offer that will require you to travel. The same analogy applies if you are looking for a home to rent or buy before you start your search, you should do your preplanning by listing the criteria that you desire and be clear on those things that you are not willing to compromise on. Preplanning your choices will help you to make quicker decisions because it will help you to quickly eliminate those options that do not fit your preplanned criteria/requirements.

Preplanning will help you to eliminate analysis paralysis that comes when you need to choose from multiple alternatives. You will become a better decision-maker if you can come up with yardsticks to clearly define what you want even before you get into situations where you need to make a choice. Without having a form of a pre-conceived idea about what you want, it becomes more challenging to choose from multiple options causing a drag on your time and consequently making you look indecisive. To change this perspective, you should always develop criteria about what you want along with the pros and cons of all the different options in consideration.

2. Pray: Commit your ways to the Lord, and he will order your steps. As an evangelical Christian, I do believe that there is nothing we can achieve without the support of God. So along with having a plan, you need to commit your plans to God. He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-seeing God. The truth is, none of us can know with all certainty where our choices will lead us, but the mighty God is the one that sees the end even before we begin. It is always a wise thing to commit your plans to him, and he will guide you to achieve your goals. However, the only way to get to this level with God is by developing a personal relationship with him. So, what are you trying to achieve? What is the difficult decision you need to make? Put a plan together, commit your plans to God, and he will order your steps.

 3. Act: You have planned, you have prayed; the next step is to move forward and act. Do not make the mistake of going back to step one and planning again. Doing that will mean that you are second-guessing your plans and that you do not have faith in God. Let’s face it, there will always be uncertainties and risks in life, trusting God, and having faith in him that he has your best thought in his mind is the best way to lead your life. To accomplish your goals, you must be willing to back up your plans with actions. For example, if you are planning to invest, yes, by all means, put a plan together that will help you with the goal, but results will only come by acting on the plans. In the same way, if you are a student and you want to ace your results, come up with a plan and back it by the action of actually studying. If your goal is to lose weight, come up with a plan, back it up by actions, which may include exercise and nutrition control. Acting on your plans also include coming up with strategies, learning, and preparing for the outcome that you are trying to create. For example, if you are planning to get married, you need to get ready for a life where your every decision is not solely going to be about you. If you plan to run for an election, you should prepare for a life where everything about you will be open to the public. To me, planning without action are nothing but fantasies. At the end of the day, your outcome is not be measured by your plans, but by the execution of all your ideas.

Are you in a situation today where you are uncertain of the best way to move forward and make the decision that will produce the best outcome for you? Do you always go back and forth and second guess your decisions? Are you currently finding it challenging to choose among multiple alternatives? This is what you need to do. Plan. Pray. And Act.

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