Sometimes going to friends and family to help you make important decisions can end like this...

A woman saying,

Thankfully there's another powerful tool you can use that you may have overlooked, but always have with you: self-reflection.

Self-reflection is the habit of deliberately paying attention to yourself and your own...

  • Thoughts

  • Emotions

  • Behaviors

  • Motivations

  • Desires

And asking the "what?" and "why?" behind them.

GIF of Lily Singh holds then parts hands while asking: what is my life, what do I like, what are my priorities?

It's important to self-reflect when making important decisions so you can use what you've learned from the past to help you make a choice in your current situation.

How Do I Self-Reflect?

Do it in a calm, quiet space so you can concentrate and avoid distractions. But it's also possible to do during situations that need a decision and action right away.

Asian woman starts out window in deep thought. She has one hand propped up against her chin. No matter the situation, it's important to ask yourself:

  • What are my options?

  • Have I been in a similar situation?

  • Which option is the best for me and who I want to be?

  • What will change from this decision?

  • What actions do I need to take?

Keep in mind how much time you have to decide and set dates to keep yourself on track so you won't take too long to make a decision.

Quiz

What are some pitfalls of self-reflection to avoid?

Where You've Been And Want To Go

At the beginning of any decision, it's important to reflect on the past. Ask yourself:

  • Have I been in a similar situation before?

  • What did I do then?

Use what you've learned from those past experiences to help you make a decision in your current situation. A white man saying,

Once you've considered your past, ask yourself:

  • What are my options?

  • What do I want the outcome to be?

Think about what could change and how you may need to adapt to that change. How will your decision affect your entire life? How might it change or stay the same?

Do What's Best For You

Make sure you're being true to yourself as you explore your options.

The best option should fit with your personal vision for your future, and not anyone else’s expectation of you.

Rupaul saying,

As you try to make a decision, ask yourself:

  • What are my short and long-term goals?

  • What are my passions?

  • Will this decision help me become the person I want to be?

Quiz

You're thinking about quitting your average paying job to start your own business. What's a good question to ask as you make your decision?

What Will You Need To Do?

Making important decisions takes some planning and preparation to reach your desired goal.

Use SMART Goals to be proactive and responsible about how you plan and implement your chosen course of action.

SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely

Some options may require more time to accomplish than others. This is why it's important to ask yourself:

  • What are the possible impacts and consequences of my choices?

  • What actions will I need to take for each option?

  • How long will the decision take to accomplish?

Pick The Best Course Of Action

Kara has been unhappy with her career for a while. So she's thinking about quitting to start her own business.

Here's what she's done so far....

  • She's determined what her skills and strengths are

  • She's already discussed it with her family and they fully support her

  • She's been researching how to start a candy shop

A woman on her laptop looking like she's making a decision

What should Kara's next steps be?

A. Make a bunch of candy to sell at her current job

B. Wait until her daughter is in college to take serious steps towards her business

C. Create a timeline, business plan and find funding for her new business

D. Do nothing and stay at her job — it will get better eventually

Quiz

What's the best course of action for Cathleen?

Take Action

Don't let all your thoughts stay in your head. As you weigh your options, remember to write them down on paper!

A man thinking and taking notes

Next time you need to make a decision, reflect on these questions:

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This Byte has been authored by

JS

Jennifer Stone

Instructional Designer