Making big decisions is difficult under the best of circumstances (ie. You’re one of those sure-of-themselves anomalies and the answer is really clear-cut). Throw in perpetual indecisiveness and you’ve got the recipe of a very difficult choice to make, so how do you battle this? How do you decide if you should take that big leap in your life—whether it’s a new job, career path, a big purchase or even marriage? How do you know that the grass is really greener on the other side? From one perpetually indecisive person to another, we’ve rounded up some tips on how to help you make that big decision.
Figure out the “why”
Why do you need a change? If it’s career-wise, are you hoping to change jobs to a similar position merely because you don’t like your boss/coworkers/office or are you doing it to better your career? If you want to move is it because you’ve been living at home your entire life and need to spread those wings or are you just being picky and wanderlusty so switching apartments seems like a half-decent idea, though probably not necessary? Are you moving in with your SO because you want to be closer to them and it’s at that point in your relationship or because you’d just really like to cut your rent in half? Knowing why you’re hoping to shake things up will really help you to figure out if this is the right time to make this decision. Change is good, as is progress, but don’t switch jobs just because (you have no idea if your new boss will be worse) or move in because you want to save some cash.
Identify and prioritize your goals
What do you want out of life? Is saying yes to this decision going to help you reach those goals? Think seriously about it. If you’re goal is to own a home in two years and the big decision is whether or not to go back to school, you need to decide if you can wait a little longer to make that purchase. Sure, going back to school will (hopefully) help your career and in turn help you make more money to purchase said house, but you also need to decide if you can wait to buy a place or if you’ll even be able to go back to school (or when) once you’ve bought your new place.
Make “the list”
It seems silly, but make a pros and cons list. Write down how this decision will affect your life, both positively and negatively. Sorting out your thought process will help make your decision a little clearer and may even give you a bit more perspective on it. For instance, if it’s a new job that requires more commuter travel than you’re already doing, keeping you away from your family/friends/SO more than you’d like, but you plan on moving houses in a year or two, is that something you can stick out? Does it compensate for travel at least? Laying these little things out visually will really make you realize if you should go forward or not.
Think on it
Try your best not to make a snap decision. Take a nap, go for a run, watch a funny movie (or several), but try to clear your head for a while before you finalize your decision. Taking some time to let the choice sit with you will really help the answer become more obvious and it'll give your mind and body time to adjust to the possibility of change. Sometimes just letting yourself not think about it for a little bit helps bring a new frame of mind.
Talk it out
Not that anyone else can really help you make this decision, but sometimes it’s good to get an outsider’s perspective. Grab a friend, go for a drink (sometimes this helps you see things differently—not kidding) and talk about that list you just made. Maybe they’ll have some profound insight to help you make this decision that never occurred to you (I still maintain one of my good friends is a well disguised Yoda or fairy godmother or something—she is wise beyond her years and always has the best advice). The worst that happens is they confuse you more and you consume three bottles of chardonnay. Worse things have happened.
Trust your gut
At the end of the day, only you can make this decision, and more often than not you made it within 10 seconds of being presented with it. What is your gut telling you? Did your guy propose and your immediate reaction was to run away crying? Then maybe you need to rethink your relationship. When you were offered that lesser-paying job in the company that you really wanted did a smile immediately go to your face? Then accept it and get a part-time job to help make up that lost income. Whatever it is, trust your instinct and take that leap. If anyone has anything else to say about it can just go fly that kite.