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Overcome 10 Stressors That Block Decision Making Success

Following through is a key decision making strategy.

Wikimedia Commons
St Louis Botanical Garden Maze
Source: Wikimedia Commons

As women become increasingly more involved with decision making -- from running a single parent household to running for public office -- many are still stifled when it comes to achieving their goals. Consider this: It was commitment, determination, and follow-through that brought women the right to vote, freedom of choice over their own bodies, and the demand of equal pay for equal work. How did it happen? Women articulated their needs; practiced hardball strategies; studied the opposition; and were determined to see their decisions, choices, and rights honored. However, one’s own personality or insecurity can be a roadblock. Recognize the stressors that work against you and turn them around.

Decision making is stressful. See report by Anthony J. Porcelli and Mauricio Delgardo on “Stress and decision making: effects on valuation, learning, and risk-taking” in Stress and Decision Making, Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences. Volume 14, April 2017, Pages 33-39

Here are 10 stress situations to overcome

Instead of feeling trapped in a decision making maze, recognize the roadblocks.

  1. Panic: Accept panic as a natural feeling when you are about to do something that you have not been able to do before. Sleep on your panic and, if you do not feel better in the morning, review your goals and strategies until you feel confident enough to proceed.
  2. Fear of Change: Once you realize that you have embarked on a new pattern of decision making, you might find yourself falling into past habits such as deferring to authority, succumbing to defeatism, procrastination, and fear of making the wrong decision. Embrace your new found ability and replace fear with determination to achieve your goal.
  3. Lack of Sleep: Research shows that lack of sleep negatively impacts decision making. Researchers tell us that sleep is so important that even losing an hour or two a night can interfere with a person’s judgment and attitude. For Sleep that Eludes Millions, This To-Do List Offers Hope (Psychology Today).
  4. Inability to Address Priorities: If those you trust tell you that you are wearing blinders and are missing the solution to a problem, go back to the drawing board. Clarify the problem and then go forward with confidence rather than be derailed.
  5. Trade-offs: Anxiety can occur when you begin to feel that in resolving a situation, you have given away the store. You can do one of two things: Go back and try to renegotiate your solution. Or accept the fact that everything has a price. If the decision helps you meet your priorities, then the price was right.
  6. Acceptance Fear: If you are worried as to how your decision will be accepted by family, friends, co-workers, children, spouse or lover, ask yourself why. Then ask them. Consider their views. If you are convinced that your are making the right choice or decision despite what others think -- practice saying, “I am so sorry,” ever so humbly. Whether by Intuition or Logic, Make a Choice and Be Grateful (Psychology Today).
  7. Confidence Crisis: Decision making is about having the courage of your conviction, not necessarily about others agreeing with you. If you wither and stress out when someone says, “I don’t agree with you” -- Take a minute to review your process; make a pros and cons list; and then proceed with confidence.
  8. Fear of Failure. You may be fully confident of your decision, but suddenly realize it’s your ball game. If you are willing to accept the praise for success, you must also be prepared for consequences if you fail. That said, focus on the win; review your strategies; refuse to be intimidated; and focus on success.
  9. Keep Your Eyes on the Goal: Sometimes when one is close to success, the realization hits. Your plan will take a long time to implement. And so you decide on a Plan B which will give you an immediate solution, but may not be as beneficial in the long run. Step back a minute. Talk with a trusted friend or colleague. Never let time sabotage your own victory for the sake of pleasing your ego.
  10. Watch for the Secrets Backlash: In some families and situations, the need for secrecy is imperative. Telling others of your plans can result in reactions such as, “You must be kidding.” Or “That’s an impossible task.” However keeping the secret can result in an uprising when the truth comes out. People will say, “You never gave us a clue.” Or, “What didn’t you tell us?” Keep in mind that you don’t need to give clues. What you owe yourself is to make a thoughtful, honest decision in your own best interest and/or in the interests of those you love.

The responsibility for following through is yours alone. A decision that is important to you may not be as important to others. If you want your decisions to come to fruition, you must take the responsibility to make them happen.

Copyright 2019 Rita Watson

Adapted from The Art of Decision Making: 20 Winning Strategies for Women, (Rita E Watson) Lowell House.