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4 Simple Rules on How to Make a Decision

When making decisions, get clear about your reasons

When making decisions, get clear about your reasons

You’ve got to get absolutely crystal clear about your outcome and your purpose. If you forget the reasons behind your decision, you won’t follow through. 

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Decision-making errors

Most decision-making errors boil down to:

  • logical fallacies (over-generalizations, comparing apples and oranges, circular thinking)
  • limiting beliefs (underes...
Confirmation Bias

If you already have an opinion about something before you've even tried to figure it out, chances are you'll over-value information that confirms that opinion.

Think about what kinds of information you would expect to find to support alternative outcomes.

Attribution Bias

The “fundamental attribution error,” is when we excuse our own mistakes but blame other people for theirs.

Give other people the chance to explain themselves before judging their behavior.

Not Making Good Decisions
We are exposed to biases that influence our ability to make good decisions.
  • We are quick to jump to conclusions because we fail to search for information that might disprove our thoughts.
The Four Villains of Decision Making
  • Narrow framing: The tendency to define our choices in binary terms. We ask, "should I, or shouldn't I?" instead of “What are the ways I could...?”
  • Confirmation bias: People tend to select the information that supports their preexisting attitudes, beliefs, and actions. 
  • Short-term emotion: When we’ve got a difficult decision to make, our feelings occupy our minds. And this doesn't add any new information that could benefit us. 
  • Overconfidence: People often think they know more than they actually do about how the future will unfold.
Defeating Decision-Making Villains
  • Counter narrow framing by widening your options. Expand your set of choices.
  • Confirmation bias leads you to gather self-serving information. Analyze and test your assumptions to overcome the bias.
  • Short-term emotion will tempt you to make the wrong choice. So distance yourself before deciding.
  • Prepare to be wrong. Don't be overconfident about how the future will unfold.
SMART Resolutions
SMART Resolutions

Pick a goal that is meaningful and doable, making sure it's coming from inside you, not imposed by others.

Make specific, realistic plans for your New Year Goal using the time-tested SM...

Creating a Plan

Chances are you won't just wake up one day and suddenly change your life. To go where you want to go, you have to chart out a plan.

Quitting Bad Habits
If you want to quit a bad habit, start by identifying its 3 main parts: the cue, the routine, and the reward. After you check the cue and your routine that follows it, you can swap the routine with something good (or less bad) to do.

For example: If you feel the cue of smoking, replace the smoking with some other activity like having a cup of coffee.