How to Make Better Decisions

How to Make Better Decisions: Learning From My Own Mistakes

We all make decisions every single day, from the moment we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Some are small and inconsequential, like what to have for breakfast, while others have the potential to shape the course of our lives, like accepting a new job offer or moving to a new city.​ The quality of our decisions directly impacts the quality of our lives. Over the past few years, I’ve become increasingly aware of how my own decision-making process could be improved.​ I’ve made my fair share of impulsive choices and regretful calls, but through these experiences, I’ve learned some valuable lessons about making better decisions.​

1.​ Slow Down and Define the Problem

One of the biggest mistakes I used to make was rushing into decisions without fully understanding the problem I was trying to solve.​ I’d jump to conclusions, often based on incomplete information or emotional reactions.​ This often led me down the wrong path.​

I vividly remember one instance when I impulsively booked a vacation package deal based solely on the alluring pictures and discounted price.​ I didn’t stop to consider if the destination truly interested me, or if the travel dates aligned with my schedule.​ The result?​ A trip I didn’t enjoy nearly as much as I should have, and a dent in my bank account.​

Now, I’m making a conscious effort to slow down my decision-making process.​ Before making any decision, I ask myself:

  • What is the actual problem I’m trying to solve?​
  • What information do I need to gather before making a choice?
  • What are the potential consequences of each option?​

Taking the time to clearly define the problem and gather all the necessary information helps me make more informed and rational decisions.​

2.​ Challenge My Assumptions and Seek Diverse Perspectives

We all have our own biases and assumptions that can cloud our judgment.​ I’ve learned that it’s crucial to challenge my own assumptions and seek out diverse perspectives to make well-rounded decisions.​

I used to be very quick to dismiss opinions that differed from my own.​ However, I’ve come to realize that surrounding myself with people who think differently is incredibly valuable.​

Recently, I was faced with a difficult decision regarding a career opportunity. I was leaning heavily towards one option, but I decided to seek advice from a mentor who had a very different perspective on work-life balance. Their insights challenged my assumptions and helped me see the situation from a fresh angle.​ I ended up making a different choice than I initially intended, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.​

3.​ Embrace the Power of Writing It Down

This might sound simple, but I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to write things down when making decisions. Whether it’s creating a pros and cons list, mapping out different scenarios, or simply jotting down my thoughts, the act of putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) brings clarity and structure to my thoughts.​

I’ve started keeping a decision journal, where I document important decisions I’m facing, the factors I’m considering, and the ultimate choice I make.​ This not only helps me track my decision-making process over time, but it also allows me to reflect on past decisions and learn from my mistakes.​

4.​ Accept That Not Every Decision Will Be Perfect

Here’s the hard truth: no matter how much effort we put into making well-informed decisions, there’s always a chance things won’t go exactly as planned. I’ve learned to accept that uncertainty is a part of life and to be comfortable with the fact that not every decision will be perfect.​

Instead of dwelling on the “what ifs” or letting the fear of making the wrong choice paralyze me, I’m focusing on making the best decision I can with the information I have at the time.​ I’m also learning to be more adaptable and adjust my course as needed.​

5.​ Trust My Intuition (But Don’t Let It Rule Me)

Our gut feelings can be powerful indicators, but it’s important to strike a balance between intuition and logic.​ I’ve been working on developing a stronger sense of self-awareness to recognize when my intuition is based on solid ground and when it might be influenced by unconscious biases or fears.

If something feels off about a decision, even if I can’t quite put my finger on it, I’ve learned to pause and explore those feelings further.​ Often, my intuition is trying to tell me something important that my logical mind might be overlooking.​


Making better decisions is a journey, not a destination.​ It’s a skill that requires continuous practice, self-reflection, and a willingness to learn from our mistakes. By slowing down, challenging my assumptions, seeking diverse perspectives, embracing the power of writing, accepting imperfection, and trusting my intuition, I’m striving to make more thoughtful, deliberate choices that lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful life.​

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