Are you finding it difficult to make the hard decisions you need to make? Or even to know which decisions need to be made first. When we stop making decisions, they don't go away. They sit there in the back of your mind, getting in the way and making even easy decisions, like what to eat for dinner, harder. Not making decisions means our minds become clogged up and the way forward very foggy. We get stressed and a vicious circle starts, making decision-making harder.
But it sums up a situation that many of us, me included, face when our circumstances change, especially as we get older. Some hard decisions about money, health, relationships, work need to be made and they are ones we don't like to face up to. As we age, the things we used to do easily become more difficult or even impossible. We have to change but to how and to what? You are not alone.
As I whooshed through my fifties, my hard decisions included: how do I do the things that I want to do and fund them? Do I have enough money to retire? What is retirement? Do I need to keep earning money for financial reasons, social reasons, or emotional ones? What type of work and what do I have energy for? Should I take a risk and do something new or different?
Then on a practical level do I need to downsize my house to something more manageable and cheaper to run? Do I need to change jobs because I am finding it difficult to cope at work and my motivation is non-existent? One of my current hard decisions is selling my car to reduce my outgoings. The trouble is, if I do that, I feel that I am losing my independence, something that I have worked hard at achieving. Another is should I reduce my current levels of medication because they are making me tired.
For other people, there are truly life-changing decisions to be made. You may be in a position through no fault of your own that you need to reduce the staff in your business, or even close it. Or take on caring responsibilities for a relative.
All hard decisions. All linked to each other. How do I decide and especially what does it say about me? Does downsizing my house or job mean I am old? Am I destined for bingo, tea, and cake, the images often associated with the over 60’s, or people who choose to retire? I am past 60 and certainly not ready for that.
Many of these decisions impact our sense of identity. Our roles at work and home (boss, parent, expert, etc) help us define our place in the world. In the pecking order. In society. Losing that job title, or car, or address means we have to re-evaluate who we are. If we lose them suddenly or unexpectedly because of health or redundancy - the shock is traumatic and can take years to recover from. We can then feel that we are a failure, that we are not worthy if we change or our circumstances change. And it is a loss. No one talks about it in such terms, “oh so and so is grieving for the loss of their business or their health” but it is a loss just the same. You continue in the state of limbo, not making the hard decisions you need to make, which makes your decisions even harder to make. And we haven’t factored in making decisions that put your own happiness in first place above others.
But decisions have to be made. You know you have to let some things go, change things, and find new challenges.
To hide from making these hard decisions we say to ourselves (and others) things like “it’s not the right time”, or “I will let other people down” or ” I have invested too much (time, money, effort, etc) to let go”, or “people will see me as finished, or a failure or on the scrapheap” or even “I'm too tired or not ready or maybe tomorrow”.
The biggest reason we allow those thoughts to stop us from making hard decisions is that we have not developed a picture in our minds of a positive, vibrant future for ourselves where we are the starring role. If we are to change - what do we change to? Just as when we started when we were young we need to identify places, spaces, and activities that fit our circumstances, finances, energy, health, and interests now. And then there are things you always wanted to do - but never did - those dreams or ambitions that just got shoved aside.
So our answer to the question - how do you make a decision, is to have a crystal clear idea of what you want to be, what you want to be doing, and where. Once you have this nailed down the hard decisions are not quite so hard, and you start on building a new future. Building this positive energy means you now have the answer to those blocking questions. Now is the right time. I am doing this to help me and those around me. I am redefining myself as an entrepreneur/volunteer/adventurer/carer or whatever it is you want to do. You are changing course, saying goodbye to things that served you well in the past but now hold you back. You are realistic but determined, optimistic, and experienced. You are remaking you, you. You are defining your new place in society, in the family. And you will be surprised how positively people will respond to that. You have changed the narrative from “Oh he/she is a failure for having to close their business, or it’s a shame they have got so old they can’t do the work anymore” to “look at her/him, what an entrepreneur” or “I wish I had the energy to do all the things they do”.
We are taught to define ourselves by a label and that is what makes us successful. So we now need to choose our new label, one that makes us happy.
So what can you do to get started on making those decisions?
Make a list of all the things that you need to make a hard decision about.
Put the list to one side and take some time to think about what is most important to you that will make you happy. What you want to do regardless of what others may think of you.
Look at your list again, change it around so the most important things are at the top down to the things that are least important, that fits with what you want to do.
Work on the most important and forget the rest for the time being.
Look at the positives that will result from making the hard decisions, rather than the negatives.
Get some help from someone outside of your situation. This will help you look at things from different angles and it can help to make those hard decisions.
Keep in mind that you are not alone. You, me, and many others are going through the same process of trying to make those hard decisions.
We can help. We developed the Guided Conversation Online to help people redefine their future and come up with a life plan which will make decision-making easier. As an online, 7-module programme the Guided Conversation Online, (money-back guarantee if you don't like it) helps you discover what it is you really want and need. You work through it at your own pace, guided by qualified Life Coaches, and you develop your own personal action plan. You can try our FREE module right now. Click here www.tqtribe.com