How to Make a Decision that Will Change Your Life

How to Make a Decision that Will Change Your Life

Last update: 23 January, 2018

Most of the time we’re aware when there’s something important in our lives that needs to change. Sometimes we even know what kind of change we need, like ending a relationship, leaving a job or moving.

However, we can’t find the way to move from purpose to action. Our mind gets foggy and we postpone the decision indefinitely.

An important decision is essentially composed of two elements. First, you must have identified that there really is a serious problem.

Second, you know that it’s necessary to change the situation in order to overcome the problem. You understand that it’s no longer time for band-aids. Instead, it’s time to take concrete and often radical measures.

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”.

-Theodore Roosevelt-

Most of us have gotten to this point. Afterwards, we get distracted by other things or let time pass “to see what happens”. We don’t end up making the big decision that we know we should.

Perhaps what we need is a method for moving from thinking to action or just accepting that we don’t want to radically turn this situation around.

Next we’re going to talk about some suggestions that can help you in the difficult process of making a big decision. It’s not a “step by step” you have to follow to the letter. Rather they’re guidelines, stages to go through before making a final decision.

Get rid of the idea that your decision is going to create too many problems

We would all love to make a perfect decision. A decision that solves everything right away. One that has no “cons.” In other words, a “strike”, like in bowling when you knock over all of the pins in one go. To our disappointment, those kinds of decisions do not exist.


a woman riding in luxury on a giant turtle


Every decision requires giving something up. You don’t make a decision because it solves everything, but because it leads to a situation that significantly improves some aspect of life that is important to us. The decision solves a problem that’s crucial, but leaves intact other elements that we’ll still have to address.

A big decision also implies some level of dissatisfaction, pain, or deprivation. That’s why we need courage to make it.

Think about how if we make the decision, it’s because our problem is so negative in our life that it’s worth sacrificing for.

Identify the risks and dangers involved in the decision

Any big decision also implies risk and, sometimes, danger. Before taking the next step, we must try to see where possible potholes are. This won’t just make us stronger moving forward. It will also give us more determination and awareness about what we are deciding.



a zipper train: making a big decision


Here’s an old trick: make a list. Take a sheet of paper and write down all the risks involved in your decision. Be concrete. Try to be very precise.

Identify each risk and how it may affect you. Don’t omit anything, even if you think it’s a tiny, trivial risk (it’s better to be conscious of it). When we’re going to make a big decision, nothing is irrelevant.

Try to do the same with the dangers. The difference between risk and danger is that risk may be minor, while danger compromises your health or life. It sounds extreme, but for example being in serious debt when you’re thinking about switching jobs is a danger.

Then look at the factors on your list and the role that your emotional dependence can play.

Examine your emotions and make an action plan

Before making an important decision, it’s normal to have a lot of doubt and fear about it. The trouble is that these fears sometimes distort your perspective.

Something tells you it’s time for a change, but another “internal voice” also tells you to stop. You have to resolve this contradiction in order to move forward.


a girl holding on to a giant balloon over the mountains


It’s vital to have your feelings clear. Is your desire to grow and improve pushing you to the decision? Or is it a whim? A burning passion? Have you clarified your decision methodically or are you afraid? If you can answer these questions you’ve already done half the work.

When you have your feelings relatively clear, and you’re aware of the risks involved in the decision and what you will lose and gain with it, you will be ready to take action.

Don’t postpone it. Set a date to do what you have to do. Then do it and don’t look back: it’s done.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.