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Taking Time to Make Important Decisions

Are you planning on making an important change in your life? Perhaps you’re thinking about changing jobs, going back to school, or moving to a new city. Maybe you’re considering getinginto or out of a relationship...

Though you maynot realize it, these can be stressful eventsin our lives. Even relatively small changes can be stressful.

Sometimes we're not sure if we're making the right decision, but we get impatient with waiting and move ahead anyway. So be kind to yourself and take the time you need to think the decision over before taking action.

Perhaps you know it's time to make a change and you're eager to get started. Being motivated is great. But being impulsive can have consequences.

All too often people who make an impulsive change find themselves looking back later and wondering if they made the right decision. You don’t want to want to look back down the road and kick yourself, asking if you made the right decision.

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Picture of someone at a crossroads.
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Obviously some decisions must be made more quickly than others because of things beyond your control. But when you have the opportunity, taking a sure-footed and slow approach to big decisions is the safer option.

Taking the time you need can help you to weigh your options, making it more likely that you'll be satisfied with whatever decision you come up with.

When you're in the early stages of making a change, many people find it helpful to put their ideas on paper. Write down your thoughts, making columns for the pros and cons.

It may sound overly simplistic because you know you have it all in your head. Yet putting it on paper helps to clarify each thought. As you write down your thoughts you may also find that more thoughts will come to mind.

The reason for this is that your brain is freed from the responsibility of remembering the first few points and can now redirect its focus to coming up with more arguments either for or against what you’re considering.

Because the act of writing is slower than thinking, it also forces your mind to slow down, helping you to more fully consider each thought.

Another idea is to ask the opinions of others. Finding people that you know, trust, and respect can be amongst the best people to ask for guidance.

Family members and close friends can be good sounding boards. If fact, having someone who knows you well, gives you the added confidence that they will truly consider what's in your best interest.

Talking with someone who knows you is key to helping you see your situation from a variety of different perspectives, which in turn is an essential element in making a wise decision.

If you're fortunate enough, maybe you can even find someone who is going or has previously gone through making a similar decision. If so, they can reflect on their experience and offer you the benefit of hindsight.

Vocalizing your plans, hopes, and/or concerns also helps connect the thoughts in your mind with what you're feeling in your heart. It's another way to help you realize what's truly important to you.

The simple act of speaking out loud can sometimes turn up issues you never realized were there. If you don’t have someone else to talk with, talk out loud to yourself or write your thoughts down in a journal, on a piece of paper, or type them up.

Finally, take some time to step away from your thoughts. Give yourself a break. Stop thinking about the issue at hand for awhile and focus on something different.

Some people benefit from taking a change of scenery. Still others may need to go out and do something fun and distracting.

Either way, by clearing your mind you'll find your mental sharpness increased when you return to your dilemma later on. Suddenly you may find yourself seeing and realizing things that suddenly seem so obvious, but that you missed earlier on.

Whatever your process is, it's important to not feel forced or rushed into making an important decision, whether by others or even by yourself.

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