Ever long for the days when you were a kid and there were two decisions: play or nap? Yep, me too.
Unfortunately those days are long gone. Now I make thousands of decisions a day. What to eat to feel my best? What to wear to impress the new client? What to say in this meeting to make the biggest impact? How to respond to an email so my assistant has what she needs to do her best? Do I reach out to John to see if you can help on a project or do it on my own? And if so, what’s the best way I can do that so I’m not rejected? When do I spend time with my husband? When the heck will I exercise? The decisions seem endless.
Research shows we make thousands of decisions each day – estimates range from 5,000 to 35,000. With food alone, we make 226.7 decisions every day.
But are you making good decisions? Yes? Maybe?
If you’re human, it’s like some of your decisions are not so great. Those potato chips – not your best decision. Hitting snooze 3 times and missing the gym – not a good decision. Yelling at your husband for not fixing the sump pump – not good.
Creating your best life starts with making your best decisions. With so many decisions to make in each moment, how can you make your best decision? Let me show you.
What Is A Great Decision?
Not all decisions are created equal. Before I cover how to make a great decision, let’s look at the types of decisions we can make: preservation decisions and expansion decisions.
1. Preservation Decisions. Preservation decisions are those that maintain the status quo. They are designed for survival. They are comfortable.
Preservation decisions are automatic. Consider the decision to choose an ice cream flavor when you’re a chocolate love. You don’t even think about vanilla, mango or peppermint.
Preservation decisions are made out of your unquestioned belief system. That’s why preservation decisions are comfortable. I don’t mean comfort in that we like what we get from these decision, but they are comfortable because we know what we will get.
Imagine you sell medical devices. You are faced with selling the newest medical device to a 70-year-old doctor. You decide, before going in, she won’t buy because 70-year-old doctors never buy the newest medical stuff. The result is you don’t give it your best and she doesn’t buy. You got exactly what you expected.
Preservation decisions aren’t bad, but they might not create the result you’re seeking.
2. Expansion Decisions. Expansion decisions are transformative. They come from a desire for growth.
Expansion decisions are made with awareness, presence and consciousness. They are independent of beliefs and even evidence. For example, you decide to try peanut butter ice cream because it sounds good and you’ve never tried it. Risky. It could taste awful or it could be the best ice cream you’ve had. Either way, you’ve expanded your possibilities.
Expansion decisions are risky because you aren’t sure what you’ll get. They are uncomfortable. They also produce extraordinary results. Expansion decisions require you to suspend your beliefs and see all possibilities. For instance, imagine you decide to grow company sales 20% this year. The best annual growth you’ve ever had is 10%. By deciding to do something you’ve never done before you create space for new possibilities. You may not hit 20% but you won’t be playing at 10% either.
Expansion decisions will be your go to for making your best decisions.
How To Make Your Best Decisions
Making your best decisions, whether it be what to eat for breakfast to lose weight or how to have a breakthrough launch of a new product at work, requires expansion decision-making. Here are a few strategies for making great, expansive decisions:
1. Reduce the number of decisions you make each day
There is a phenomenon called “decision fatigue.” Research shows decision-making is a tiring process and our decision-making ability erodes over the course of a day. In other words, the more decisions we make each day, the more we start operating on automatic.
To improve your decisions, reduce the number of decisions you make. It could be the clothes you wear, your food, your buying decisions, etc. Even the President of the United States uses this principle. In a recent interview, President Obama said he has two colors of suits to reduce the number of decisions he makes to free up energy for decisions that will effect the world.
Eliminating the number of decisions you make, allows you to go deep with the important decisions and create energizing, extraordinary results.
2. Consider all possibilities.
When faced with two possibilities, your results will be constrained by those possibilities. Expand your possibilities and you expand your results.
When President Kennedy said we would put a man on the moon, we didn’t even have the math to make it happen. His simple declaration and decision, however, sparked the possibilities in the minds of scientist that allowed us to make it happen. Believing in all possibilities changed the world forever. That’s the power of possibilities.
3. Commitment to your vision.
Once you make a great decision, you have to follow through. This is commitment. But to make a great decision, it must be grounded in your vision. It doesn’t matter what area of your life we are talking about: relationships, health, career, or finances, your vision will drive great decisions.
If you are committed to losing weight, your vision of having more energy and looking better will drive better decisions such as going to the gym, skipping dessert and opting for a salad at lunch. Any decision not aligned with your vision is a preservation decision.
What’s a great decision you can make today? Let us know in the comments below.