Have you ever asked yourself these questions?
“What do I want to do with my life?”
“What do I believe in?” “Who do I want to become?”
“Do I want to be in a relationship with this person?”
“What matters most to me?”
Growing up, decisions always seemed to be made for me. As a kid this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I had parents who loved me, and they looked out for my well-being and made decisions accordingly. My siblings and I had a lot of freedom, and it wasn’t until high school that I felt like I was faced with decisions that would change my life.
What college do I want to go to? What major? What career path?
Making big decisions (and I mean the long-term, large consequence ones) is difficult.
Many can get tripped up by the fear of making the wrong decision or feel pressured because of impending time restrictions and deadlines. Confusion can arise from the not knowing what’s “right” and “wrong.” It’s scary to know you could be going down a path that leads to more pain rather than profit.
It wasn’t until my fourth year in college that I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. And honestly, there’s still a lot of confusion regarding the specifics. Everyone lives life at their own pace. There’s no rush to “get everything together.” Your direction is more important than your speed. Here’s a little secret: nobody has it “all together.” We are incapable of perfection, and that’s okay.
So what can you do about making big decisions?
Here are 5 tools and reminders you can use to help you make effective decisions:
Seek counsel from people you trust.
When making decisions, you can often feel helpless. Having people who give you multiple pros and cons and are subjective can help you make a well-rounded decision. Likewise, you can learn from others’ experiences who have been through similar situations and avoid the possibility of making the same mistakes.
Pray about it.
I have made so many important decisions because I have prayed and the Lord has shown me the path I should take. God led me on the path that helped me choose which university to go to and which friends to pursue a deeper relationship with. In the same way, reading through scripture can provide wisdom regarding your choices of right and wrong.
Spend time with yourself.
Knowing yourself takes time. Journaling and verbal processing has helped me realize my interests and preferences. Writing about how I feel, as well as talking to someone I trust about what I’m going through, has allowed me to healthily process who I am and what I truly want. Take personality tests! Find things that interest you on YouTube. Learn more about your culture and heritage. Knowing who you are makes it easier to make big life decisions.
Do what makes you happy.
Remembering your core values can help you make decisions that advance your well-being. When you’re making big decisions, think about the long-term effects. Choose things you know will bring you joy in the future. Your happiness matters. You matter.
It will be okay.
Remember, a bad decision is not the end of the world. Whatever you choose, you are able to make it through. You are fully capable. And if you mess up, it’s no big deal. It happens. Life is full of ups and downs, shortcomings and compromises, good and bad decisions. Failure is a part of the process.
I get it - big decisions can be scary and gut-wrenching. There can be a wide range of negative feelings attached, but I promise you are able to get through it. This is your story, and you are doing a beautiful job of writing it. I encourage you to continue to write it well.
You got this!