The Decision Making Process: 7 Strategies for Success

Tough Decisions Ahead Road SignThe ability to make good decisions is a key to success in life, and in maintaining work-life balance, wouldn’t you agree?

Yet many of us, myself included, struggle at times in the decision making process, for fear that we’ll choose the wrong option.

This is especially true when it comes to important decisions regarding our family, career, business, etc.

Like whether to go back to school, quit your job, start that business you’ve always wanted, start a family, or work from home. Or maybe decisions regarding how to care for an elderly parent or how to help your child pay for college/university.

Yesterday, in my post on How to Make Good Decisions, I promised I’d give you some tips on how to make good decisions, so…

the decision making process

Here are some seven tips on how you can improve your chances for success in the decision making process:

  1. Embrace the decision making process – Yogi Berra said, “When you come to the fork in the road…take it.” My interpretation is that when you are faced with a decision, embrace it. Don’t shy away from it.
  2. Start with a well-defined goal – Be sure you fully understand the question or problem before you make a decision or provide an answer.  As one of my mentors says,” Sometimes, how we see the problem is the problem.”  If the decision has to do with major areas of your life, like your career, family, finances, etc., you really need to develop a life plan so you know where you’re going.  Decision making is easier when you have a clear goal in mind, because you choose from choices that will move you toward that goal and avoid choices that won’t.
  3. Seek wise counsel – Solomon, one of the wisest men who ever lived, said “Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many counselors bring success.” (Proverbs 15:22)  Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – from wise people you know, or even from people you don’t know personally, but you know they have experience you can gain from.  Most people are more than willing to share what they know, if it’ll help someone else.
  4. Don’t fall into the trap of the paralysis of analysis – While it is important to weigh all the options, don’t allow yourself to freeze up for fear that you’ll make a wrong decision.  A friend said, “A good decision is not always the best decision, but it is better than no decision.”
  5. Resolve yourself to the fact that you may not make a perfect decision -  You’ll never know all the things that you don’t know about a given situation.  Be diligent in doing the best research you can, make your decision, and be OK with it.
  6. Pre-make your decision – If you have the luxury of time (and let’s face it, sometimes we do, and sometimes we don’t) make a decision and then sit on it a while.  Spend a few days, a week or a month living in the decision, as if it had already been made.  For example, if you’re considering whether to take out a loan to buy a car, and the payment will be $300 a month, start living that way now by putting away $300 a month into savings.  How does it feel?  How does it impact your other spending decisions?  Does it line up with your financial goals and life plan?  Them imagine what it would feel like a year from now?  Does it still feel good and seem like it makes sense for you?
  7. Make your decision with FOCUS – Once you’ve made your decision, go all-in with your decision.  Don’t second-guess yourself or try to re-analyze it.  I love this acronym from Nicole Dean:  Follow One Course Until Successful.  Figure out all the things you need to do now that you’ve made your decision, make a plan, and do them until it’s done.

Would you add anything to this list?  Have any of these strategies benefited you in the past?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.  In my next post, we’ll explore ways to recover from, and make the most of, a bad decision.

You might also like:
How knowing your life’s purpose will help you make great decisions
How to turn problems into opportunities
Decision making process – WWJD?


  1. Really like this advice, can be so hard deciding what to do for the best sometimes.

  2. Thanks a lot for your Interests.we need new program and skills with my best wishes


  1. […] in Decision Making We’ve been talking about decision making, specifically how to make good decisions, here at Life Compass. Last time, I shared 7 strategies to help you increase your chances for success in the decision making process. […]

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