Have you ever made a dumb, hasty, immature, reactive or plain stupid decision? Or wished you had better decision making skills?
Yup! Of course, you have ‘cause you are human.
None of us has the ability to make the right decision every time. It just isn’t possible! This post will help you understand and improve your decision making skills.
What Was I Thinking?
Midlife women generally have solid decision making skills. We care for kids, support a spouse, and make our homes function smoothly. There are a million small decision in creating a safe, supportive environment for a family. Eat in or take out? Soy milk, almond milk, dairy milk? Who cleans up the dog poop? Best retirement investment vehicle? Does any of this sound familiar?
Sometimes Our Decision Making Needs A Tune Up
How about a decision that hurt your spouse? Or your children? Or yourself? Every now and then we make a bad decision, and the consequences are bitter. Maybe you screamed at your teen for swearing and it went too far. Or how about the time you decided to give your spouse the cold shoulder in hopes they would figure out what pissed you off? Or you told your mom, who is too nosy, to mind her own business, and then she started to cry about what a disrespectful daughter you are….blah blah blah. Ya feel me?
Regrets, I’ve Had A Few
We all have done something that we deeply regret. Intentional acts of anger, greed or jealousy usually come to mind. Words and actions made in haste or as a rush of emotion are usually not helpful.
When I coach my clients, we spend time looking at how they make their decisions. Our next step is to analyze the circumstances of the bad decision. Once we understand the reason, we can create an action plan for better results. Trust me, you can improve your decision making skills, resulting in greater happiness.
Dumb and Dumber
Everyone can remember a choice they made by lazy, fuzzy thinking. Everyone has decisions influenced by stupid fashion or ridiculous trends. Two words: Parachute pants. I mean did anyone really choose to wear parachute pants? Or did the parachute pants choose you?
My Big Lazy Mistake
I recently made a dumb decision and it has cost me lots of time, energy, and worry. I bought Frontline flea treatment for my dog from Amazon. ( Yup, I bet you know how this is going to end!) After I received it, Amazon sent me a warning email saying the flea treatment was fake.
They recommended I buy some new Frontline due to the evidence of the product being counterfeit. Amazon refunded my money. They did all they could to warn me of the consequences of using a potentially fake product. And what did I do?
I examined the box carefully, looking at every sticker and graphic. I couldn’t see any evidence that the treatment was fake. So, I went ahead and used it.
Can you guess what has happened? Yup, I am spending more money on powders to kill fleas, along with the endless hours of vacuuming Every.Damn.Carpet. Every day. For two weeks. And all the furniture of course.
No matter how the decision takes place, we all have those moments when we struggle to forgive ourselves.
What were you thinking?
All our choices come from our thinking. Our thoughts create our actions. When our thinking is immature, cloudy, or overly emotional we can make decisions that leave us with regret.
All babies are born with the potential to develop and mature into independent thinkers. Sometimes we get stuck in a developmental stage due to trauma or missing the stimulus that we need to continue to grow.
We might look like adults, but inside we are operating at a much younger level of decision making. If you have an incomplete level of development, there is a good chance that your decisions might look like an older child or a teenager.
Here are three possible mindsets that influence your decision making.
Are You Ego Driven?
We all know someone who is “ego driven”. This typically means a person who takes offense at the slightest things and then blows up in an angry shaming tirade. We all have an ego. We all will have ego reactions, but some folks let their ego rule their life. This is the person who quits a job upset for some slight reason. It could also be a person who loves to gossip, making their ego feel better about their own sketchy decisions.
They Made Me Do It
Sometimes, we make bad decisions based on pleasing other people. This could be a parent, a child, or our partner. We all grew up in a family, and each family has its rules to follow. The big secret is that you might still be making decisions to please a family member. Sometimes we use the decision making skills from our childhood, never questioning if they still serve us.
When we make poor decisions to please others it feels like we can blame them for the results. But the reality is, we still must live with the consequences of our choice. You can blame your mom for using scary clown wallpaper in your bedroom, causing you to wet the bed until you were a freshman in college. But now that you are a grown ass adult, you must own your choices.
Don’t Call Your Psychic, She Doesn’t Know Either!
So, does your personal life ever feel like the Titanic? Peering through fog, hoping to see the deadly iceberg, and when you do, it’s too late to turn! It makes you want to grab your life jacket and hope for the best!
Taking action without all important information is sucky, but we all have to do it at some point. I can’t predict the future, can you? It can feel crappy when we decide without all the important details. For some of us that can cause anxiety, racing thoughts and an endless loop of worry.
Not every murky decision brings us loss or trouble. But it can be unnerving when you are pressured to decide and you feel uncertain. If a decision is needed and you don’t feel confident, remind yourself that you have made good but uninformed decision before. You are able to do it again!
All The Feels
The best way to begin to forgive yourself for bad decisions is to understand what made you choose that action.
- Where you Hungry? Angry? Lonely? Tired?
- Did you feel pressure from family?
- Did you feel like a spotlight was on you, forcing you to respond?
- Were you lacking information? Did you do your best to get more information?
- Was your ego triggered? Were you offended?
- Did you feel like having a revenge moment?
- Or maybe a mic drop moment?
So, How Do I Begin To Make Better Decisions?
Remember, our actions come from our thoughts. If our thinking is immature, hasty or uninformed we need to brace for a shit show. Training our mind to slow down and analyze before we act is more effective.
Journal out the answer to these questions to help you identify your thinking patterns.
- Do I feel like an empowered adult when making decisions? Or do I still hear a parental voice in my mind?
- Am I feeling vengeful? Do I want someone else to pay a price for my circumstances?
- What offended me today? Did I take a hasty action as a result of being offended?
When faced with an uninformed decision answer these questions:
- Have I done all that I can do to get the missing information? Is there a phone call, a google search that I can do?
- Am I making assumptions because I am too lazy to take the extra step? ( This is what I was guilty of with the flea treatment)
- Am I willing to live the with outcome due to the lack of information?
Decision Making Skills Are A Big Deal
Decision making is one of the most important parts of life. Because where we are today is a result of our decisions. Training our minds to analyze our thoughts is the first step to clearer actions. Take the time to really explore your thoughts. Don’t hold anything back, be honest with yourself about your motivation for your decision making. Only when we are willing to look at our thinking, can we change our thinking.
Get A Coach
If you have tried to understand some of your decision patterns but feel confused it might be time to bring in a coach. Working with a life coach or therapist can help you uncover some of the hidden patterns that can hold you back from confident decision making.
As a coach I help women identify fears, worries or anxious patterns that are affecting their life. Together we get life changing results that bring more energy and emotional freedom.
Send me an email midlifeismagical@gmail dot com or leave a comment if this information has been helpful to you! My goal is to create content that helps women change their thinking. When we change our thinking, we change our lives!