BY CHRISTI HEGSTAD | President, MAP Professional Development Inc. 
 
Do you ever come home from a long day, hear someone ask you what's for dinner, and feel like you might explode from the pressure of making one more decision?

We make thousands of decisions every day: Will I hit snooze? Do I want eggs for breakfast? Should I grab an umbrella? Which activity will I attend tonight? When shall I call Mom? Decision fatigue is a common phenomenon and, if not remedied, can quickly turn our strength into a state of being overwhelmed and our confidence into exhaustion.

I know this all too well. With each personality assessment I've ever taken, "love of learning" appears as a top strength every time. This serves me well in my coaching and writing. However, it also has its drawbacks; namely, I can research-study-ponder an idea to death without ever actually making a decision or taking an action. This self-knowledge has prompted me to adopt strategies and set parameters in order to make strong decisions, a few of which I'll share here:

1. 10-10-10. In the book by the same name, Suzy Welch offers a simple but brilliant tool for decisions small and large: Make a hypothetical choice, then envision the possible consequences (positive and negative) 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years from now. This three-faceted lens transformed my decision-making literally overnight.

2. Check in with your values. What are your core three to five beliefs that serve as your moral compass? How does your potential decision honor them? Whenever you feel "off" -- whether in making a decision, watching a debate or carrying out your work -- chances are a value has not been honored (or is being downright violated). Use that knowledge to choose wise action.

3. Research ... to a point. Although some people struggle with the consequences of an "act first, think later" mentality, many of us lean more toward "Think, research, think, research some more, think, make lists, think ..." -- you get the picture. Do the necessary homework to make an informed decision, but don't fall into the analysis paralysis trap.

While I use these strategies regularly, the best decision-making advice I ever received came from my mom. When I was a young mom myself with two toddlers and a baby on the way, I constantly asked her questions: "What would you do? What did you do when I was little? What should I do?"

"Christi," she replied with her signature kindness, "Whatever you decide, if you make the decision from a place of love, it will be the right one."

This advice applies whether making decisions about your family, your business or your volunteer work.

Much of our decision fatigue comes not only from making so many decisions, but from spending so much time waffling in indecision. So map out your 10-10-10. Conduct a values check. Do your research. Then, with love, decide and immediately take an action in favor of that choice -- and enjoy the instant relief that comes from having made a strong decision!

Christi Hegstad, Ph.D. is a certified and award-winning coach, speaker, and author, helping people work with meaning and live with purpose. 

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