We make decisions many times a day, most of them so tiny and insignificant that we do them without thinking. Yet, for all of us, there comes a time when we have to make a life-changing choice that can change the entire course of the future.
What are these big decisions in life and how can we best evaluate our options in these momentous times?
1. Breaking up with a partner
Ending a marriage or breaking up with a long-term partner is a decision that can have far reaching consequences. It can be hard to adjust to life on your own again and it can be especially hard if you have children to consider.
You’ll always have the fear of making the right decision – and doing it for the right reasons. Some different takes on the process can be found here.
2. Changing career
Changing career paths is a big decision, albeit sometimes born of necessity after, say, redundancy. Maybe it’s a desire for change if a current profession is no longer providing career stimulus, or a limit of development and achievement has been reached.
Many people change careers – sometimes more than once in their working lives. It often entails major life changes such as retraining, altered financial circumstances and relocating. This requires a careful weighing up of the pros and cons – from the hard-headed financial facts of the situation through to the emotional impact from greater job satisfaction or a better work/life balance.
3. Having children
This is a difficult decision for some – often tougher than many are willing to talk about.
Couples need to be open and honest with each other and try to work out a family plan that works best for them, bearing in mind the health and age of the mother right through to where you live (and whether your house is suitable for a baby) and the financial security you can offer your child as it grows up.
Some people are happy without children – but that needs to be a clear and considered decision, bearing in mind the possibility that they may regret it in later life.
4. Aborting a baby
Although many people would like children at some stage, unplanned pregnancies do occur.
This can be a harrowing experience, especially for the mother. Professional help is advisable during the decision making process along with post abortion care to deal with the psychological aftermath if abortion is the option taken.
This is not a decision to take lightly but the mother needs to be supported to be able to make the best possible choice in the long run, often bearing in mind many of those family planning decision outlined in the previous point.
5. Life support
The decision to end life support for a loved one is usually based on strong medical advice when they are either severely injured or very ill and coming to the end of life.
Even though medical experts will be on hand and would have likely advised on it being be the best course of action, it’s still a very tough decision. While the experts can weigh up the scientific evidence, they cannot put themselves in the same emotional position as you. Take time – and speak to others – before coming to your conclusion.
How to make big decisions
One way is to ‘play it forward’ and imagine what life will be like one, two or more years down the line. What will things be like based depending on what decision is made now? This decision making advice from a former CIA executive helps bring a logical way of thinking to the process.
But don’t be afraid to admit that you’re struggling. Many of life’s biggest choices are the hardest things you’ll ever do in your life. It’s fine to admit you’re struggling – and always the right move to ask for help from friends and family members. Take as much time as you can – don’t rush in the heat of the moment and regret what you decided – and always think of the impact your choice will have on others too.