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Dictionary defines decision as “determination, as of a question or doubt, by making a judgment: the act of or need for making up one’s mind.” Decisions are part of the living process. Everyday we’re making decisions about what to eat, what to wear, what not to eat, what not to wear. But some decisions are more involved than others. Those decisions that not only impact you but others, those decisions that not only affect your life but the lives of others. Those decisions are often the most challenging. So how do we make decisions that will not only change our life but the lives of those we love?

1. Be honest with yourself

Making personal decisions that impact the lives of others is especially tough. You want to do what’s best for you, but what’s good for you may not be what’s pleasing to those you love. So what do you do? Do you deny your own happiness and contentment to keep others happy in their normal? You have to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. Why are you making this decision? Is this what you really want? Is the happiness of others worth more than yours at this time? No matter what you decide, you have to live with you; so you must do what’s best for you. This may sound a bit selfish. But how can you live an authentic life if you’re not being true to yourself. How can you embrace life if you’re denying yourself the happiness you wish to give others. Remember, you can’t give what you don’t have. In order to bring happiness to those around you, you must first possess happiness.

2. Be ready for the consequences

Part of the decision making process is running the various implications of your decision in your head. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Your decisions impact others; as a result consequences are a major reality. Some decisions cause you to lose friends, some family or even certain opportunities. Some of us postpone making certain decisions because we aren’t ready to handle the consequences. We want to make sure everyone we love is comfortable and happy, even if it means sacrificing our own happiness. But you can no longer afford to avoid making decisions for fear of the consequences. Life is about making decisions. It’s part of the navigation process. You can’t journey through life without making moves, turns, changes, growth. Making decisions means living with those consequences or rewards. The key is to not allow fear to stop you. Whatever happens, you’ll get through it because you’ve been honest with yourself and you have prepared yourself as best you can for the aftermath.

3. Be ready for the change

Decisions bring change. Change is inevitable. So ready yourself for the changes your decision will bring. Whether change in lifestyle, living location, a relationship or friendship, your decision will bring a new normal. You have to prepare for that change before you decide. But don’t allow fear of the unknown or a different normal to stunt your decision. Remember, silence is a response, and not making a decision is still making a decision. You’re either deciding to live in discontentment out of fear or deciding to make a change. Either way decision or indecision impacts you and the quality of the life you have and the life you deserve.

4. Don’t outsource your decision

Remember, with all decisions, pray and seek wise counsel, but don’t put the decision in the hands of others. Don’t look to others to make the decision for you because you’ll always blame them for the consequences, and you’ll never grow because you have not taken responsibility for your decision. Sometimes we go to others not to get wise counsel but for them to tell us which course of action to take. We put their feedback about our own inner voice for fear of the consequences or the uneasiness of others. Let your life decisions be your decisions.

5. Rely on peace, not excitement

Pray and get peace about your decision. Sometimes we confuse peace with glee, certainty and excitement. Having peace about a decision is a combination of knowing that God is with you and he approves. (If you make a decision to rob a bank, God doesn’t approve but He will be there for you when you’re doing seven years in the joint).  Leaving a relationship that is unfulfilling is hard. You don’t make that decision gladly but you have peace knowing that you’ve exhausted every opportunity to make it work and now you must go forward. Making a decision to leave a job that pays you well but is spiritually and emotional hazardous to your health isn’t something you do with balloons and excitement. But when you have peace you decide that your mental and spiritual health are worth more than any paycheck. So make a decision and move forward. Though adjusting to the changes of your decision takes time, allow this time to grow you emotionally and spiritually.