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9 Steps to be Decisive

Photo by Orin Optiglot
It is the moment of decision that your destiny is shaped. ~Anthony Robbins

Life can oftentimes feel overwhelming, especially when we face many options, pending decisions, and countless unknowns. Making a decision can seem daunting, and even scary, when you consider the long list of impacts your decision will have. We feel clouded in mind-created confusion and incapacitated by the fear of the consequences. It can be easy to get caught in the turmoil of reaching a conclusion, however I know you will find that a decision is as easy, or as complicated, as we choose it to be.

Our life path is shaped by the decisions we make in every moment. If we are not conscious in the decisions we make, then we feel as if we are endlessly drifting in our unconscious bubble, feeling helplessly hopeful, yet afraid to face the unknown. Burst the bubble, take control, and decide to be decisive.

The perceived ability to make a clear decision comes with the choice and belief that you are Decisive. Clarity has power and making an unquestionable decision gives you energy. This absolute energy will attract the resources and support you need to carry out that decision.

When you are clear and sharp on your decision, others will not second guess you; instead, they’ll back you up.

There is no magic in developing the ability to be decisive. It is simply a mindset; a mental attitude that comes with practice and persistence.

The following are techniques I personally use to gain clarity. I have found them to be helpful in helping me become more decisive.

  1. Believe – Tell yourself that you are Decisive. Stop telling yourself (and other people) that you are indecisive. It’s a great story but it doesn’t help you much if you really want to make fast, firm decisions.
  2. Visualize – Visualize yourself as a confident and decisive person who is able to make quick and firm decisions. Go ahead, close your eyes, see yourself in decisive action. “What do you look like on the outside?” “How do you feel on the inside?”
  3. “No Bad Decisions” – Recognize that there are no ‘bad’ decisions. Have faith that no matter which decision you choose, that there is a beautiful lesson behind it, and that you will benefit from it, regardless of its potential outcome. Action beats inaction.
  4. Be Brave – Don’t be afraid to make ‘mistakes’. You will get better at evaluating situations, information and your emotions the more you do it. Let the fears subside.
  5. Faith – Learn to listen to your instincts. Trust your guts. Start by paying close attention to what your inner voice is telling you.
  6. Take a step back – Even if you only perceive a limited set of options, you are never so limited. Expand the possibilities by considering your hidden assumptions and creatively brainstorm other solutions.
  7. Set Time Limit – Force yourself to make decisions under tight ‘deadlines’. You don’t actually need a lot of time to make sound decisions, you just think you do. See Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink” on split second decision making.
  8. Persistent Practice – Force yourself to make fast decisions, often. You will get better over time. Start with small decisions like, “What to have for dinner.”, “What to do on the weekend.”
  9. Think Out Loud – grab some fresh paper. Clearly define the question at the top of the page, write down your options and assumptions, followed by any other thoughts or concerns you have. Just dump all your thoughts to the paper as they enter your mind. Do not edit, just write it all down. Don’t worry if your thoughts are unclear or do not flow, just keep going. (We will cover specific techniques using writing to achieve mental clarity in a future post.)

Decisiveness comes with the Decision that you are Decisive. Decide today.

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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25 thoughts on 9 Steps to be Decisive

  1. Thanks for the great post on decision making. It took me years to learn that it is okay to make mistakes or wrong decisions so long as we learn from them and move on. Mary Kay Ash said that “success is failing forward”.

  2. What a great quote! Thanks for sharing, Paul!

  3. Thank you Tyler! Thanks for reading.

  4. student

    the posting give me some inspiration. ya, you rite…always no bad decisions, thanks for tat

  5. A very inspirational post. I have 1 massive decision to make… and now I’ve just made it (it’s a secret) :p

  6. Cool, I’m glad to hear that Matt! Thanks for the comment, it made me smile. :)

  7. I find this post very compelling as I’ve always thought of my self as very indecisive. Identifying the problem is one thing, doing measures to counter it is quite another. Thanks for this list, I like it so much I put it on a post it beside my workstation. :)

  8. Hi Mishi, that’s very flattering. Thank you for the comment!

  9. jd

    Hey Tina —

    Nice collection.

    I don’t know if you’re familar with “Sources of Power” by Gary Klein, but it’s a book dedicated to how people make decisions. Not just any people, but it shows how people under the gun (firemen, cops, doctors …) can make split-second decisions with amazing results. It’s a process of pattern-matching and “satisficing.”

  10. Useful in the finest regard. Much appreciated.

    Handle your happiness, y’all!

  11. They’re all great tips, but my personal favorite is: “Persistent Practice – Force yourself to make fast decisions, often.” Useful, practical advice when taken with everything in above in the proper context.

  12. pm

    the worse part is being faced with a question that requires your immediate attention, yet you have no time to think!
    that’s what I want help with.

    or, what about this scenario: you wish and wish and hope and hope for something, but when you are actually presented with the option to make it happen, then, and only then, you have a gut feeling that you don’t want it anymore!

    if you change your mind like that, internally, is it still being indecisive?

    I have found that the most important thing in being decisive, is to stick to your guns. after you have made that decision, stick with it. don’t be flexible, don’t let yourself OR others try to change your mind.

    I like what this article says, about embracing whatever path, that the outcome of your decision has in store for you.

  13. Kavita

    Thanks for the article. Found it very helpful

  14. Teresa

    Thank you. This really made a difference in my life.

  15. Great post on mindset, Tony robbins is the master of this kind of thinking, I just linked to your post as we just wrote a very similar one – though having to do with real estate investing and the power of our thoughts. Thanks much, Mike

  16. Jonathan

    Doesn’t #6 make you less decisive?

  17. Great points. i love all of them :)

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