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The Challenge of Making a Decision

by Ryan Goodwin

Every day, we are blessed to hear stories from families all over West Michigan. Stories about the life of a loved one who is on their final journey; stories about a past which was full of life, love, and happiness; stories of plans for a future, enriched with faith, hope, and prosperity; and stories which may be over, or at the same time, stories which are just beginning.

Among these stories comes a time for many families to think about the necessities of planning, before it becomes a necessity of deciding.  A decision is defined by Webster’s dictionary as: ‘a determination arrived at after consideration’.  This implicit definition assumes everyone has that time to think about a decision, however, this is not always the case.  Amongst the plethora of great stories we hear, our ears do collide with inauspicious tales, usually stemming from a mindset of “that won’t happen to me” or “I have time to do that later”.

Making a decision is not always easy.  However, one of my favorite sayings is- if you plan for the worst, the best will always happen.  In order to plan for the best to happen and make sound decisions, I want to share with you four tricks I came across while reading an article the other day.  For the next big decision you need to make (let’s say choosing your Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare), use these tips to assist your plan:

1.) Limit the Amount of Information You Take In.  Every plan needs some fundamental research to make an educated decision, however, too much information can make you lose steam power on your ‘train to decision-town’.  While in college, one of my professors would tell us to KISS our project (Keep It Simple Student).  Consider KISSing the research for your next decision by focusing on what is important to YOU, not others the decision may not affect.
2.) Pretend Like You Are Advising a Friend.  Use this new knowledge you researched to now pretend you are going to host a presentation on <insert subject your deciding on here>.
3.) Challenge yourself, for the sake of argument, while weighing out the benefits vs. burdens.  You are now going to write down the good, bad, and the ugly of your decision.
4.) Write down your benefit vs. burden in a spreadsheet.  Spending time in this area as opposed to getting lost on the internet researching for weeks on end will truly help you focus on what is important to you.

With the above to consider, give these four tips a shot when facing that next decision.  Above all, set a date to plan for the decision and begin without delay.  Getting your planning and decisions on paper can help you tremendously and do not ‘plan to fail, by failing to plan’.

Be Blessed, and may God walk you through the entire process.