3 strategies to make a decision

decisions make our future. I know, to start a magazine article with such a huge statement can be tough, but I know, that you feel me. scientists say, that we make up to 20.000 decisions per day! most of them are not consciously made – daily habits are decisions, that we make without knowing it and would need some extra mindfulness, to change them. beside that, we have to make choices by mind. there are times, when I really want to avoid making a decision, because I am afraid to choose the wrong direction. this can be about making a new cell phone contract „which one is the best? which one is the cheapest? do they trick me?!“ or big life decisions. my last one was about my banana bread and in this article I want to talk about, why we really need to make decisions and which strategies can help with it.

the suspicious banana bread

talking from a very privileged point, many of us have learned two things during quarantine: there is so much unnecessary stuff in our kitchen cupboard and there are so many ways to bake a banana bread.
banana bread baking has become my very own way of meditation. banana bread baking is somehow intuitive and creative with a delicious outcome. when I have started with baking, I sticked to the recipe, because I was afraid of failing. to be honest: I would love to be more risky when it comes to cooking or baking, but the idea of failing and that I have to throw away the food, really blocks me. food waste is a no go. so I do my best, not to f*ck it up. food itself is very holy to me. with an eating disorder background and a healing journey, my perspective on food is very special. it is not taken for granted. but this another story.

after some time I started to try things out. like nuts and poppy seeds, different flours…
however: some days ago I‘ve made a banana bread, that seemed unsuccessful. the smell was different and my gut said: there is something wrong with it. I took it out of the oven and let it cool down and different to my usual routine, I didn’t try a piece. because I somehow knew, that it isn’t delicious.

I felt some kind of shame and put the banana bread deep into the mind-space I call „chosen obliviousness“ – one superpower of mine is to forget things, that are not that important and better to be forgotten. like a birthday present, I see before my birthday or another surprise I should be surprised with. but back to the banana bread.

instead of disposing or even trying the bread before, I lurked around the bread for three days. I forgot it. tough my girlfriend and I LOVE banana bread as a welcome snack on hiking tours, I didn´t cut a piece. I couldn´t decide what to do with the bread. what, if it doesn´t taste good?

after some days I felt that this can´t be a way of coping. ignoring the banana bread has the result, that I can´t bake a new one, so I took all my courage to give it a try. when I cut a piece ….flies came out of it! the hot weather and the juiciness of the banana bread seemed to be very welcoming for flies.

the art of making decisions

what does the banana bread has to do with decisions?

making decisions has a lot to do with who we are and how we identify ourselves. decisions reflect our morals and way of thinking. making decisions means to bring mind and feelings into balance or to decide, which one has more weight. it means to show up.

whatever we have to decide is about the future. in my case: what, if the banana bread does not taste good? it can also be the questions: what, if I don´t have enough money for this cell phone contract? what, if I leave this job and can´t pay my rent? what, if I end my relationship and will be alone for the next years? WHAT IF???

I think it is quite natural to be aware of the consequences of our actions. but overthinking can lead to fear. awareness is very different from fear. while awareness can help us to do researches and collect informations for better decisions, fear paralyze us or put us in a state of stress, from which we make rashly decisions.

the art of making a choice means to take the responsibility for our life. to be successful – whatever success means to you – is to make choices, that help you create your very own way of living.

two kinds of tools has helped me to make decisions: oracle cards and flipping a coin! yes, I know, what you think, but let me explain: when you flip a coin, you know your choice while the coin is in the air. you have a feeling of „please this side! please this!“. oracle cards are a tool of reflection. they don´t tell you the future, but they reveal, what sleeps in your subconsciousnes. which emotions appear, how your body reacts to symbols. (if you want to learn more about this, contact me!)

when you feel like this is too freaky, I want to give you 3 strategies to make better decisions. because at least, finding a decision can be a very scientific way. strategies can help us to get out of the feeling of being stuck. another benefit of strategies is, that they reduce fear. a strategy gives us control of the situation. with a strategy, you draw a map, that leads you to the destination you were looking for.

here are 3 strategies do make decisions:

  1. identify the problem: do you really know, which problem stands behind your need of making a decision? for example: you are unhappy with your job. to make a decision, which way you should take now, you have to know: is it your boss? the money? the time? the sector? to know your problem is the base of the direction you have to take. because it won´t help you, if you change your office, but you´re unhappy with the sector you are working in. breaking up with your partner won´t help, when it is not about the other person or the feelings you both share, but more about you and yourself. you need to know your goal, to make choices that benefit you.
  2. ask a critic: sometimes your mom isn´t the best help, when it comes to decisions – not as long as she isn´t a harsh critic. ask someone, who can give you a new perspective and has a new line of thought. we tend to ask people, who might say, what we want to hear from them, to sooth our emotions. but this does not help, when we want to make important changes and decisions. your process of decisions will be improved a lot, when you discuss with someone, who is radical honest! I know, this can be tough. but for me this is a way of showing love and interest. my girlfriend is radical honest and this can be quite confronting, which helps me to make the best decision possible. this critic can also be a mentor, therapist or coach. someone you trust, but who has no own part in this story.
  3. test your decision: the monk Ignatius von Loyola, who lived in the 16th century, suggested to test a decision by living one choice for three days (in my case of the banana bread, this did not help…obviously). it is very effective to embody your choice and make notes about how you feel, dream and think during these days. after the first phase, you live and embody the other choice. make notes and after these three days, compare your feelings and thoughts. do you see, what this is about? this way you can test the reality, that comes with the decisions. if you don´t have this much time, meditate about it. I try decisions by making them and sitting in silence to sense them in my body. does my breath run free? how does my back feel? is it stiff? is it relaxed? how does my jaw react to my decision? our body gives us very clear reflections.

at some point of process, you have to realize two things: get rid of the fear of consequences! fear does not help you. and: you tried your best, you gathered all informations you could. good is good enough. if we wait too long, others make the decisions for us – no choice is a choice as well. but the choice of others might not be, what we wish for our life. we can wait until things are rotten and a nice home for flies or we can make a decision, while our own heart vital and ready to enjoy life. and banana bread.

beside strategies of the mind, intuition is a very powerful tool that helps us navigating through life.

next week I will talk about our intuition and how we can develop our connection to it.

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