How To Make Big Decisions

By Hilary Stringer, life coach & wellness centre owner

They creep up on us, the big decisions in life.

We don’t always get time to think about things as much as we'd like to before we need to make choices. And like buses, the often come along all at the same time, after you’ve been waiting for something to change for ages.

Many of us don’t like change. We are comfortable doing what we’ve always done….. until the point where we realise that not changing is making us unhappy and we need to take the plunge.

So what’s the best way to manage change and make those big decisions?

Start by asking why?

It’s a little word but an important one. Let’s use changing jobs as an example of how it works.

The thought has occurred to you that you want a new job. But why? The answer to that question could lead you in several different directions.

Let’s say “I don’t get on with my boss". Would you like the job if you had a different boss? Ask why again at this point – what is it about the relationship with your boss that you don’t like?

  • Are they an unkind person fundamentally?

  • Are they good at their own job?

  • Are they asking you to do things that are unreasonable for your role?

If the answer comes back that the problem lies with them, then could you move to a different job in the same company? Or if not, maybe it is time to look for somewhere you would be more valued.

It’s not you, it’s me!

If actually, when you look closer, they are just doing their job, are you a square peg in a round hole? Sometimes, a free spirit can end up in a job that needs them to do very structured work, or a person that loves structure can be asked to be too flexible. There’s no criticism or blame on either side – it’s just not a good fit for you.

Why else?

The next ‘why’ will take you to the cause of that and help you to look for a job that’s more suited to your needs. Look at what you do all day – do you enjoy it?

Look at all the individual parts of what you do and ask why you like or dislike each of them.

Make lists of the things you’re good and (and not good at) and ask why again. What is it that appeals to you or turns you right off? Think of other reasons you might want to change your job (don’t like the hours, commute is too long, want a promotion, want more flexibility) and try the why on those too.

Try the why

Have a go. Try it in other big decisions – moving house, buying a car, relationships, friendships – it works everywhere. Keep asking why until you get to a root cause. You need to be honest with yourself to do this, but it’s really worthwhile and can save you from repeating old mistakes.