Decision-Making Tips & Tools


Using Helpful Decision-Making Tools


Answer honestly. Why are you engaged in decision-making now?  Is it about a problem? Is it about a long-standing wish to be fulfilled? Is it just something you want to check off on one of your lists? What pressures are you experiencing to make a decision (internal and/or external)?  Is it Big, Little, or In-Between? NOTE:

  1. A Big situation is being a refugee from a war zone, or facing homelessness THIS AFTERNOON, or being in an abusive situation, to include things like sex and slave trafficking, all of which is rampant on earth at this writing.stick figure making decison about which path to follow
  2. A Little situation is not being able to decide which pattern you want for your new, mostly affordable bathroom makeover, or choosing which networking events to attend, or deciding whether to drive or fly to your Mother-in-Law’s house.
  3. An In-Between situation is being given a warning diagnosis and considering health and life-style options related to that. Maybe it’s finding a job when you DO have the required knowledge, skills, and abilities and jobs are available. Perhaps you must choose between work you love, which pays less and work which bores you, but pays more.


  1. Unless you are in a Big Situation, you are safe, have options, and can take a moment to calm yourself before contemplating your decisions and your decision-making process.
  2. If you are in a Big Situation, it is likely you will need to find or research external resources to help you, so add that to your decision-making steps. Let’s go through some suggestions for making excellent choices now.


Coffee cup and note saying Make Yourself ProudOverall, you need to be aware of the guiding principles and ethics that should govern your decisions. For example, a guiding principle is that the outcome must be a “win-win” for all parties. (No Winners, No Losers) A guiding principle might be to use the least costly option.

A Code of Ethics may be the Golden Rule, or Equal Opportunity for All. It could be that all who need to know will be fully briefed, or that all records will be accurate and made public.


meditate before decision-makingOnce you realize your circumstances do not qualify as being the end of your world, you will be able to think more clearly. To achieve more clarity, you might meditate, ask for spiritual guidance, take a walk, or just go to a quiet space where you can be uninterrupted. Having slept well is important to ensure your mind is clear and that you are not unduly influenced by emotions.

What is Your Goal or Objective?

stick figure drawing goalsWithin your chosen topic, get a clear view of what you want to accomplish and WHY. What is your ACTUAL deep, internal motivation? For example, are you planning to do something because you WANT to or because others expect it of you?

Once you have gone through the process you choose (from the steps below), you can proceed to the end. Go to Trust Your Gut Instincts, as you review the options, and Pretend It Has Come True, once you’ve made a final decision. Alternatively, you may want to START with Trust Your Gut Instincts and, thereby, save yourself a lot of time.

S.W.O.T. Analysis as a Decision-Making Tool

There are hundreds of articles about this, so I’ll just mention that S.W.O.T. Analysis one way to analyze the next steps. After you have defined the topic at hand, view things by listing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and the Threats to success. It is an elegant analytical tool for complex personal and business projects, but it may leave out some key elements for your decision-making.

Decision-Making Lists

figure on teeter totter work like balanceI suggest multiple columns and multiple viewpoints. I also suggest thinking about how what you decide will affect both your personal and your professional lives. That means thinking about reputation, time management, priorities, relationships, etc.

  • Column 1 = Pros (arguments for doing something)
  • Column 2 = Cons (arguments against doing that same thing)
  • Columns 3 + 4  = Probable Consequences (Col 3 if you do it; Col 4 if you do not do it)
  • Column 5 = yes or no answer to the question, “Does it meet your ethical standards?”
  • Column 6 = yes or no answer to the question, “Does it make you feel comfortable with yourself if you do this?”
  • Column 7 = What resources do you need and are those resources available to you? (Examples include things like: money, people with expertise, classes, certifications, physical objects from supplies, to vehicles, to real estate.)
  • Column 8 = list what information you must gather to make a sound decision.

The first time you make these lists, view them from your current circumstances and mindset. If the decision relates to something that involves others who will judge you (such as a potential employer), complete the answers again from that person’s anticipated viewpoint. It often is better to be wise than to do something that is merely self-indulgent, just because you feel like doing it. The same principle applies to personal relationships.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals in Decision-Making

Again, there are hundreds of articles and class on this topic, so I’ll just remind you what “S.M.A.R.T.” can mean.

S. – Specific (or Strategic) (Detailed, not general. “To earn $100K a year,” not “To be rich.”)
M. – Measurable (you can demonstrate tangible success or failure to achieve the goal)
A. – Achievable (or Assignable) (can be done within the parameters including timeframe)
R. – Realistic (or Relevant) (is within the power or capability of the person striving to achieve the goal)
T. – Time based (an action-oriented goal that can be met within a realistic and specified date)

Trust Your Gut Instincts

crossed fingers in decision-makingDon’t just cross your fingers and hope for the best. Your Soul or Spiritual Mind knows things intuitively that your Logical Mind either does not know or might disregard. Ignore your gut instincts at your own peril. I have a saying, when I get that queasy feeling in my head, heart, solar plexus, or stomach…“When in doubt, DON’T.” Each time I follow my head, instead of my gut instincts, there are dues to pay, and I wish I had listened to my internal Self!

Pretend It Has Come True!

red balloons A great Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) technique you can use is to imagine your now clearly defined decisions as having allowed you to achieve your stated goals. Imagine exactly how that would feel. Picture the date on which you will have accomplished your goal. Envision exactly what proves to you that you DID IT! (Examples are: a wedding ceremony, a bank balance showing the amount you want to have received, a “perfect” well-paying job in a nice location with lovely co-workers and a good boss, etc.)

Allow yourself to physically feel exactly what that success would be like. Use all your senses! Imagine what it would be like, what images you would see, what sounds you would hear. Let your imagination fill in all the details and then hold that image to you, revisiting it as often as you like. You are retraining your subconscious mind to create and maintain that new reality on your behalf.

Decision-Making Cycle of Events

Thanks to Tutorialspoint, here is a chart for you to use in making sure you complete all the steps and then evaluate your decisions after they have been implemented. You might want to go to their website to take advantage of their tools for decision-making.

decision-making steps

Since I first published this post, I discovered that the website, Groom and Style, Enabling Smarter Lifestyles, has a great article which focuses on the many decisions and factors that people have to consider when they are transitioning from College to a Career. Check it out here! Transitioning from College to Career: A Guide for New Grads  I’m so glad to have found Groom and Style as a resource. You’ll find some great tips about everything from health to hairstyles, and from home and garden to fashion accessories. They have useful information for everybody!

Nancy WyattI now have to put all of this into practice to see how best to expend my energies and time in 2019. I would love to hear from you about the kinds of decisions you must make and how any of these tools may help you. Also, let me know if you are interested in some of my basic business and writing training classes. Happy New Year!

Do It The Write Way! Let My Fingers Do Your Talking!


About Nancy Ayanna Wyatt

In addition to being a writer/editor, creator of infographics, and a highly engaging presenter and trainer, I am an ethical, energetic, and multi-faceted manager, demonstrably successful in directing human and financial resource allocation, contract administration, policies and procedures development, and supervisory functions. I have managed diverse departments, ranging from business offices to police, to name only two, while working for multi-national corporations, non-profits, higher education, state government, and small businesses. I have created extensive procedures, manuals, and training programs. I use the Internet, MS Office Suite, and presenter software. I have created 3 Word Press websites "from scratch." I sell photos on merchandise at My earned reputation is for fair play and for keeping people informed at all levels. I am praised often for my communication skills, which include listening, public speaking, writing and editing, training, and interpersonal relationships with people of all ages, cultures and hierarchical levels. An example of a presentation is "How To Start A Business," for which I provide extensive notes in English and Spanish. Seminars on many topics may be booked through my website or by calling me. You also may hire me to create/and or present new teaching or training projects!

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