How to Make Choices

Choices can be overwhelming. It’s easy to choose between good and bad – but what do you do when you’re faced with two good options?

Studio 5 Relationship Coach Dr. Matt Townsend walks through the process of how and why to choose.

How and Why to choose when there are so many choices

The Enemy of the best is the good!

Slow Down

Most of our biggest mistakes happen when we are forced to choose, so force the decision to happen slower so you can get out of the emotion of the decisions. If you notice that you do end up making a lot of quick last minute decisions, it may be because you have a habit of procrastinating or not planning ahead. The best decisions are made in peace and tranquility, not in a hurry. They are in the spirit of a choice, not a reaction. Making a choice is harder than simply reacting and they both also create completely different lives for us. One is healthier and more principally centered, and the other is more reactive. When you sense your children, friends or family are creating pressure for you to decide something, slow down the process by using a simple phrase like, “Hmmmm, that sounds interesting, let me talk to my spouse.” Or “Sounds like a great opportunity, let me check my schedule and get back to you.” Having a little phrase like that in your repertoire may buy you enough space to begin to actually make a choice instead of a reaction.

Thoroughly Study Your Choices

Now that you have the space, it’s time to truly evaluate the choices you have. One of the ways that Ben Franklin taught us to do that was the simple Pro’s & Con’s list. Take each decision and run them through that list. Share your choices with another person and ask for their feedback. Many people who know you well can quickly help you judge what you are truly capable of doing, better than they can. Identify what is the personal driver behind each choice and honestly evaluate if that is really what you want to keep pushing? Be real about the actual consequences of the choices you make, and be sure you understand the full impact that they may have on you emotionally, socially, mentally, spiritually and financially. Discuss them with your family who will also have to pay the price and most of all let your conscience be your guide. What promptings are you having about these decisions you need to make? What is your heart saying?

Perform an Ego Check

Many times one of the things that most confuses us when we are trying to make decisions in our lives are the competitive and self-centric prompts from our ego. Our ego is designed to make us look good (usually just better than everyone else). Gain a sense of worth, esteem, nobility that places me in a more special place than those around me. Our ego becomes another way to make us feel good about ourselves. It’s where we get caught up in the titles, positions and things. It’s where we want everyone else to know about what we’re doing because we want people to be proud of us. Many times it makes it so we’re more interested in making the choice because of what it does for “me” rather than what it really does for the world. The ego is a horrible task master that will continually keep us searching for more and more symbols to validate who we are, and you need to make sure that the ego is not the driver of your decisions in life. Ask yourself, “Would I want to make this same choice if no one on earth would know about it?” Or ask, “Truly what is different about me if I choose to do what I’m thinking of doing?”

Reconnect To Your Greatest Purpose and Passion

Many of us try to make the biggest decisions in our life without ever connecting in to our deeper purpose, or mission in life. The best way to determine what decisions to make in our lives is usually by making sure that they are connected to our deepest aspirations. Ask yourself the following questions: By making the choice I’m choosing to make, what will that mean to me in 20 years, 30 years or more? What do I want my grandchildren to be able to say about me when I’m 80 and how does this decision play into that? In the end, have clarity of where you want to be in 5, 10 or 15 years from now. Knowing how you want your life to be in the future is one of the best ways of knowing what decisions you need to make today. Another important way to evaluate each decision is to see how it will directly affect all of the important people and roles in your life. For example, let’s say that you have to decide whether you and your spouse should refinance the house to start a new home business for you. Filter each of the decisions through your important roles as a mother, friend, spouse, and a daughter of God by asking the following questions: What will the decision to refinance our house to start this business do to me as a mother over the next 5 years? What will it do as a friend? As a spouse? Or, as a daughter of God? The answers you come up with by using these questions will take your decision-making to a whole new level.

Follow Your Conscience

Once you’ve slowed down, studied your options, checked your ego and reconnected to you purpose, then its time to let your conscience be your guide. The word conscience means con- with and science- knowledge. To make a decision with your conscience, you are making it “with knowledge”. Your conscience helps you make decisions with the knowledge of your value system, what you feel is the “right” or “wrong” thing to do. To follow our conscience, we need to make a commitment to one of your choices and start acting on the choice. As we move forward on that choice, we should feel more peace and motivation to move forward with our choice. It doesn’t mean that it will be easy, just that it will “feel” right. For example, think of the single mother who has to “choose” between staying home with her young children, something she loves doing, or to go to work to provide for their support and needs. By allowing her conscience to be her guide, she will be able to feel the peace of her decision. That doesn’t mean that she won’t miss her children and will automatically love going to work, but it does mean she will be able to feel more confident in how to proceed with this very difficult decision. This difficult decision can be made easier when her conscience is at peace, knowing that there is a deeper purpose being satisfied. By following your conscience, you will receive a greater sense of peace and optimism about what you are doing. You will feel a sense of purpose and positive energy, showing you that you are heading in the right direction, and that spirit will help you to keep pushing forward even when it’s hard.

Matt is offering a free relationships class. This is part of the ongoing relationships classes which Matt offers. The next one is on Thursday, December 13, 7:00 PM at DATC in Kaysville. There will also be classes offered in Sandy. You can find more at

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