The One Exercise to Help You Make a Difficult Decision

Making a decision can be easy or hard depending on the impact they will have on our life. Choosing what to eat for breakfast may not be the biggest deal, but deciding where to live can have major repercussions.

Oftentimes the hardest decisions to make are those that involve a change. More specifically, it’s the decision of whether or not to make a change.

If you are currently struggling to decide whether or not to make a change in your life, whether that change is big or small, I have an extremely helpful exercise for you. This exercise will help you make the difficult decision of whether or not to implement a change in your life. Plus, it will provide you the awareness and confidence to know that the choice you make is the best one for you.

You can download the printable “Should I Change?” Chart here. Save it, print it off, and use it again and again for different decisions and changes you may (or may not) want to make in your life. Here’s how it works.

The One Exercise to Help You Make a Difficult Decision

Step 1: Name the Change

Be as specific as possible while you think about the change you are considering. Write it out if this helps you think better.

Step 2: List the Good Things about Not Changing

First you acknowledge the good things about not changing. These are the reasons why you are currently doing the thing you are doing. Think about the good things you have now without the change. What might you lose if you do decide to change?

Step 3: List the Bad Things about Not Changing

Next you move on to the bad things about not changing. These are the less than ideal circumstances that exist currently, and you don’t want your life to be like this anymore. These will not go away if you don’t change, and they could end up hurting or hindering you if you carry on this way.

Step 4: List the Good Things about Changing

This quadrant contains all of the rewards or benefits of your proposed change that you want to have or experience in your life. These are positive things that you don’t have right now, but you can get them if you implement your change.

Step 5: List the Bad Things about Changing

The bad things about changing are not currently in your life; however, the fear is that they will happen if you do decide to change. What are some impacts that this change could have on your life in a negative way?

Step 6: Compare and Evaluate

Have you heard that folk tale about the whining dog who’s actually sitting on nail? When the owner is asked why the dog doesn’t get up, he replies, “It doesn’t hurt enough.”

Everything we do serves us somehow regardless of whether it is in a healthy or unhealthy way. That is why it has to hurt enough to actually get up and make a change in our life. The bad things about not changing have to be worse than the bad things about changing. The good things about changing have to be better than the good things about not changing.

(I use this technique a lot with my clients, and it can be incredibly helpful!-Jess)

Do you have enough motivation?

Another thing to consider is where the majority of your motivation is coming from: internally or externally. Internal motivation is personally rewarding while external motivation is based on outside rewards or punishments. They are both effective in different situations; however, internal motivation can often result in more long-term success.

Internal motivation is ideal because it is within your control. You cannot control someone else giving you a reward or refraining from a punishment (external motivators), but you can stick with a change because you want to make your life better for yourself.

Take a look at your chart and find what the biggest motivators are for you for either changing or not changing, whatever you have decided. Remember them for encouragement on challenging days.

If you decide not to implement your change, go forward without guilt knowing that you have taken the time to weigh out the consequences.

If you do decide to implement your change, I encourage you to start small to make it sustainable. And remember to look for those internal motivators to keep you going in the long run.

The final bonus step of this exercise is to own it!

Make your decision, whether to change or not change, and be confident in it. You don’t need anyone else’s approval. After going through this exercise, you have truly considered all sides, and you have the clarity to decide what works best for you in your life.

Related: 7 ways to boost your confidence at work

Confident Life Contributor 

Grace Furman is a freelance writer and blogger at Heartful Habits. Heartful Habits is a place of inspiration and support for your natural health and wellness journey. She loves learning and sharing about wellness tips, natural remedies, beauty DIYs, green cleaners, and more. Visit her on the links below!

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  1. Maria Parenti-Baldey

    So true! When you stop and think about the decisions you have to make, it puts it in perspective. Good exercise.

  2. Linda Luke

    Love the printable to go along with the exercise. This is something I often recommend for my clients.

  3. Kylie Purtell

    Such a great approach to decision making. I don’t think I’ve ever consciously sat down and thought about things in this way and I think it might be time to start, I can see how beneficial it would be! Thanks for sharing and linking up with IBOT!

    1. Jess

      Certainly with bigger decisions I think this method can be very handy!

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