By Ringside Talent
January 11, 2017
Here are five simple strategies:
1. Collect all the information.
The first step is research. If you make a decision without the proper information—like joining a company without learning what the culture is really like—you’re setting yourself up for disappointment later on when you learn something that would’ve made a difference.
Putting the time in on the front end means fewer chances for regret down the line. You don’t want to be thinking, “If only I’d checked out the website more closely!” or “I should’ve asked that in my interview!” You want to be thinking, “I did my research and made the best decision I could.”
2. Calm down.
Making a choice is stressful by nature, but doing it from a place of calm consideration lowers your chance of making the wrong one. That’s because the calmer you are, the less likely you are to make a hasty, emotional decision.
Try to get into a relaxed state of mind, remove any stressors—including people—from the room and think through your decision with a clear head and an open mind. Don’t rush, don’t freak out; instead, take deep breaths and think about the facts.
3. Know all the options.
Don’t leave any option unexplored, no matter how unlikely it seems: You want to know the full range of choices and not limit yourself to two.
4. Keep a list
Instead of just going through the pros and cons in your head, write them out in list form. It’s not just a matter of clarifying important points and picking a side. Keeping the list will help you minimize regret, because if you start to second-guess yourself later on, you’ll have evidence for why you made the decision you did.
5. Keep things in perspective
This is important both during decision-making and afterwards. We often get so caught up in finding the best option that it consumes us. Reminding yourself that things are going to be OK no matter which choice you make—which is true most of the time—puts you in the right mindset for a regret-free decision.
If all else fails, try to channel that regret into something useful. Making a poor decision prepares you for better decision making in the future. Analyze what went wrong, refine your process and move forward.