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A practical roadmap for rational decision-making

Updated: Jan 24

Have you made a decision you regret? Or have you felt stuck making an important choice? We’ve all had those feelings. Our 7-step framework can help you to navigate even the trickiest decisions.

Making a decision, especially an important one, shouldn't be done impulsively or without proper consideration. A structured approach can help you ensure you’re not just reacting, but proactively shaping your future.

This email offers a brief outline of seven steps to refine your decision-making; whether you're someone who tends to be indecisive or someone seeking to enhance the quality of your choices, these actionable steps might help you feel more in control.

If you want to dive in deeper into these decision-making insights, consider trying the tools linked below or joining the Clearer Thinking 7-Day Make Better Decisions Challenge.

1️. Avoid narrow framing

When considering your options, there are often more than you realize. For example, when something you own breaks you might think your only choices are to buy a new one or fix the old one, but you can also borrow, rent, upcycle, part-exchange and more. So, spend some time looking for options you might not have considered straight away.

2️. Explore your intrinsic values

Figure out your intrinsic values, and spend time reflecting on whether any of the options you’re considering conforms better or worse to those values.

3️. Consider the impact of biases

There are common biases that might affect you when you’re making decisions, such as short-term bias, the sunk cost fallacy, and ignoring the probabilities of outcomes.

4️. Reflect on your principles

Build a list of your principles and reflect on which of them might be relevant to your decision. If you have any relevant principles, reflect on what they suggest you should do.

5️. Learn from your past mistakes

Think of a decision you’ve made in the past which you would consider a mistake. Try to identify the immediate cause and the root cause of the mistake. Reflect on those causes and then consider what you can do to stop yourself from repeating that mistake in the short term and the long term. Reflect on how you can avoid making that mistake with the decision you have been considering in the previous steps.

6️. Set effective goals

To increase the chances that your decisions take you where you want to go in life, try setting effective goals and reflecting on whether your decisions will take you closer to those goals. To set effective goals, do things such as make your goal challenging (but not too challenging!); make it about achieving what you want (rather than avoiding what you don’t); make it meaningful; and check your commitment level.

7️. Make your decision!

Once you go through these steps, you should feel more confident and certain of the decision you want to make.

However, if you feel that you need to put more thought into it, we strongly encourage you to try our 7-Day, Make Better Decisions Challenge. By signing up free, you’ll get an email sent to your inbox each day, talking you through one of the steps above in more detail, always followed by a quick and thoughtful exercise, which you can do by yourself, at your own pace.


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