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Decision Making

Making decisions in life can be a difficult task. Throughout your life you will make decisions that will affect your future. In fact, the decisions you make today will not only impact your future, but also other people and the world in which you live.

Decision making involves thinking, talking, and searching for information related to a problem. You gather data that can help you with the decisions you need to make. You do this by talking with others who know about the subject, going to the library, and thinking about two or more solutions.

When families and individuals know their values, they use them as a guide for all aspects of life. Whether choosing a career, using money, or deciding what to wear, values are the basis for all decisions. Most decisions are not made all at once. Decisions take time to complete.

Decision making usually occurs when events, habits, and patterns of living change. An example is your ten year old car breaks down and needs a costly repair. You need transportation to get to work, do shopping, and to handle other tasks. You must decide the best way to spend the family's money. Should you: fix up your old car right away using savings; make monthly car payments on another car; sell the old car as is and take mass transportation; or save money to repair your car and in the meantime take mass transportation. You plan to base your decision on your family's values of keeping your job and using money wisely.

In deciding -- or making a decision -- there is a six step process:

  1. Define the problem or goal. Understand the problem clearly.

  2. Gather and list all the information you can get on the problem.

  3. Examine two or more solutions to the situation. It is important to have many possible solutions to the situation. It will take time to research the variety of solutions.

  4. Analyze the possible outcomes for each solution. Look at the good and bad sides to each solution. What are the consequences of each? Answer the questions: Will this solution be good for me...the family...co-workers? Stay with your values and those of your family.

  5. Choose the best solution to solve your problem. You must be willing to accept responsibility for the decision you make and the outcome it brings, whether good or bad.

  6. Evaluate the decision you made. Decide if you need to revise your action plan. Always be ready with another alternative to solve the problem and reach the goal, just in case the first one you chose did not work out.

You probably won't be happy with every decision you make. You can increase your chances of satisfaction by understanding your values, setting clearly defined goals or action plans, and carefully following the six step decision making process.

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