Today I wanted to talk about decisions and decision making. So, it’s a big one. We got to take decisions all day long. There is no way how we cannot take a decision, and despite the fact that sometimes I hear people say “you know I’m just not going to take a decision on this for a while”, then intermediately we are taking decisions by not taking action. So, there is no no way around that. I’ll acknowledge that sometimes I would rather not take a decision on something, or postpone it, and and I’m very aware that I’m just postponing it and thereby taking an implicit decision for the time being and I gotta be okay with that. It’s something to reflect about and to sit with. So when you think about the decisions that you take over the course of your day… let’s take a deep inhale with that… just come into this present moment… and then briefly reflect back on when this morning you were taking the first decisions. Was it getting out of bed versus hitting the snooze button? Or did you take that decision well ahead of time? So that to you it was absolutely clear and ingrained that this is the option that I’m going to do.
And then from there, morning routine or as a little bit of figuring out how each day goes? And either way is okay. It does make a difference on your decision-making energy in the sense of there’s research that shows that every day we have a certain amount of what we call willpower for decision making, like a certain mental capacity for making decisions, and the more decisions we have already taken out of the way, the more mental capacity we still have to put into decisions that we still get to make. So, for me personally it works well to have a morning routine to get some things out of the way. There are people who have perfected that to the T where they’re almost in an automatic mode each morning, “all right that’s the thing that I’m going to do and that’s going to get me out of the door in time” and they have set everything from what to wear to what to have for breakfast and all the steps in between, and before and after. And that can be a super effective way to run your morning and to get things done efficiently. Or, you may want a little more leeway and freeway and then that means some of your decision making capacity for that day goes into making those decisions and that’s fine, too. Just something to be aware of, and that’s something that I find really interesting, especially when things don’t go as expected. So, when I have a set morning routine and everything flows great – what if I’m so set on my morning routine that if something shoots across the other way as it often does, either with work or maybe with kids or family, or with whatever comes up on a given day, or with your health, then how much does that throw us off? Sometimes, we’re like “shrug, okay”, turn the other way, that’s what I’m gonna do, and sometimes it can it can really throw a wrench in our day, so it feels like. So that’s something to sit with as well. So where personally does that throw a wrench in my days, and where is it easy for me to pivot and what can I learn from that?
Another thing that I find very interesting is: Where do decisions come from? Are they more brain-centered, are they very analytical, are they more heart-centered, do I feel the emotions, or are they more in my gut? Do I make my decisions from my gut feeling from a certain level of instinct? And different people operate in different ways and each of them is fine in their own regards. I just find it really helpful to know where my decisions come from.
For me, personally, I know that when I have taken decisions purely from my analytical mind, they may be very logical. They may not always have felt right afterwards. Or even in the moment for that matter, but in that moment the analytical mind ruled, and then sometimes afterwards I realized huh, it doesn’t quite feel aligned. And so it’s great to check in with those three capacities, like can I check in with my brain, can I check in with my heart, can I check in with my gut feeling?
So, when you’re not quite sure on how to do that, when you tend to get stuck in your analytical mind a little more, or when that’s just the place where you spend a lot of your time for making decisions, then it can be helpful to just place a hand on your heart to check in with those emotions, and ask “Okay, heart, what do you feel like? How do you feel about this?” And maybe the heart may not always give us a straight answer in a yes or no maybe it’s something more to be learned about. It’s like “Heart, what can you tell me about this decision?”
And then, for the gut level, to check in with your gut, here you can actually ask a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question in the sense of asking your body what does a ‘yes’ feel like, and sitting with that for a few seconds or for a few breaths, and then asking your body what does a ‘no’ feel like. And sitting with that and really feeling it. If you take the time to ground with a few breaths and then ask your body this question what does a ‘yes’ feel like.
Maybe that feels expansive on a certain level, maybe it feels excited, maybe it feels like goosebumps and big smiles, maybe it feels like a deep exhale. Whatever it feels like to you, note what does that ‘yes’ feel like in your body?And then take a few breaths and feel into what would a ‘no’ feel like? So, for me a ‘no’ feels restrictive, feels like making myself small, feels tight in my chest. So note what that feels like for you, and don’t take my sensations as your cues. Feel into what the own sensations in your body are. And then remember what that feels like, and then come back to the decision that you wish to make, and ask your body again. Is that a ‘yes’ or is it a ‘no’? Sometimes, it’s inclined with leaning forward or leaning away from something, so there can be a lot of different cues, and you’ll know what’s right for you.
Last thing I want to mention is what if things don’t work out? So if a decision impacted you or your life, or some other people, differently than you thought it would how do you work with that? There’s two aspects to it there is the looking back “what could I have seen in that situation that maybe I didn’t see at the time?” but now I am able to perceive and you know how we say that hindsight is 2020. So it’s not about beating yourself up for not seeing it at the time, it’s becoming curious of why wasn’t it possible to see it at the time, or how come it wasn’t something that I was able to notice at the time, and maybe learn a little bit from that. Which brings me to the second aspect of how would you then do that differently in the future if you did learn “oh, there was this aspect that I didn’t see at the time and I have an idea now of why I wasn’t able to perceive it. Is there now something that I would do different next time a decision like that comes around, to take one that I’m then thoroughly settled with?
Now all that said, let’s take a deep breath here again. Sometimes it’s rough to reflect on past decisions if we’re not satisfied with the outcome. All that said, also know that our strong analytical minds sometimes go into that habit of of questioning, and in that habit of doubting. And regret about past decisions is not where we want to spend our energy. It’s just taking a curious look reflecting understanding and then deciding “hey, what’s the best way forward I can take from here?”
Even in the face of doubt, which can be a debilitating thing when we’re trying to take a decision, but we’re riddled by doubt, then coming back into the present moment grounding in your body, and being super present with what’s going on right here in this moment, can be a good anchor. Just knowing that you are settled in this physical body, you can touch that own body to make sure that you’re grounded that you’re in the present moment as opposed to somewhere in your head spiraling off into a future that may or may never happen.
Grounding in that physical body is going to give you the best foundation for making your decisions every day. So I notice for myself the more I’m up in my head and just staying there, eh, not the best place to make decisions. The more I get grounded in my body and really stay with that feeling, the better I know I can rely on my choices.
I hope this has served you. Please feel free to email me comments or questions suggestions, and I’m always happy to hear from you. Have a beautiful, beautiful day.