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Making Empowered Decisions To Create Freedom

We make countless decisions every single day, most without even realizing it. What to wear, what to eat, how to respond to someone, whether to speak up or stay silent. Our lives unfold based on the path created by each choice.

Yet, with so many options and potential outcomes, decision-making often becomes overwhelming. We suffer from analysis paralysis, trying to identify the “right” choice. Or we avoid deciding altogether to escape regret. But not making decisions limits our freedom and prevents us from forging the life we desire.

In this article, we’ll explore how to approach decisions from an empowered mindset, so you can take inspired action, continue moving forward, and create the life you want.

The Drain of Decision Fatigue

Our prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher-order thinking, has very limited capacity. According to neuroscientist Sandra Chapman, we only have the ability to make about 70-100 decisions per day before reaching “decision fatigue.”

Each time you try to make that same decision, but don’t really make a decision, you use decisions from your decision bank, leaving way less decisions available for every other part of your day.

Once mentally drained, we start opting for easier choices that may not align with our goals. Decision-making feels impaired. The mere prospect of choosing becomes unappealing, so we avoid it altogether. Think about snacking late at night, for example.It makes perfect sense that you do this if your decision bank is empty by that time of day. And one of the reasons it may be empty is because you’re not using that decision bank effectively.

This is why decluttering and streamlining is so liberating. Every non-essential item or obligation we eliminate frees up precious mental resources for the choices that truly matter. Be ruthless in questioning everything to pare down to just the essentials.

3 Ways Not Deciding Limits Freedom

There are two ways you aren’t making decisions. The first is when you indulge in indecision and keep delaying a choice you are aware of. The second is when you just live your life on default, not making conscious decisions, or living out decisions you made ages ago without redeciding if that’s still what you want.

Freedom Limit #1

Unmade decisions take up a lot of time, and time is your most precious resource. Time spent thinking. Time spent researching. Time spent hashing it out. This is time you will never get back. It’s time you can’t spend on something else that is important to you.

Freedom Limit #2

Unmade decisions take up a lot of brain space, because it’s always there nagging at you, reminding you that you need to make a decision. This is brain space that you could be using to create your best life. Not deciding takes away from all the other areas of your life.

Freedom Limit #3:

When we don’t make decisions out of anxiety or exhaustion, we fail to take the next step in designing our lives. Days slip by in passive inaction instead of purposeful creation. Opportunity cost builds as options narrow over time.

While choosing entails risk, not deciding has a guaranteed opportunity cost of 100%. As Jim Rohn says, “Not making a choice is still making a choice.” Defaulting to what’s comfortable limits your potential for growth.

When you don’t make decisions you want to make, and when you don’t make decisions at all (live your life on default), you limit the life you’re able to create and the person you’re able to become.

So how do we actually do this?

Step 1: Stop Trying to Predict Outcomes

Most decision delay comes from fixating on potential outcomes, which we can never accurately foresee. We imagine best and worst-case scenarios, trying to identify the “right” choice that guarantees success.

But we have very little control over outcomes. We can only control our input through thoughtful, values-aligned decisions. The rest unfolds organically. Allow yourself to let go of predicting and manipulating outcomes. Stay focused on your intentions.

Step 2: Decide Based on Who You Want to Be

Since you can’t control outcomes, make choices based on identity, not potential effect. Ask yourself: Who do I want to be in this situation? What personal values and qualities feel most important? What would the best version of me do?

Making decisions through the lens of desired identity frees you from fixating on results. The outcome simply reveals new information to build the person you wish to become.

Step 3: Trust Your Intuition

In the face of complexity and uncertainty, often our intuition provides the clearest guidance. Mental analysis can only take you so far. Once you’ve reflected thoughtfully, listen to your inner wisdom.

According to Gary Klein’s research, experienced decision-makers rely on intuition more than pure logic. The struggle comes from overthinking and doubting our intuition. Have the courage to honor it.

Step 4: Make More Decisions

Examine your daily life piece by piece a redecide everything one at a time. Is this still the time you want to get up in the morning? Is this the morning routine you want to follow? Is this the exercise you want to be doing? Is this the way you want to parent? Is this what you want your relationship to look like? Is this the kind of [fill in role] you want to be? Is this the job you want to be doing? And for each question, follow it with why or why not?

Questions to Consider

About Decisions

  1. What decisions are you not making? Why?
  2. How are those unmade decisions limiting your freedom?
  3. What would it take to just decide?

When Making Decisions

  1. How much of your time is this decision worth? (Now give yourself only that much time to decide)
  2. Who do you want to be in this situation? What decision is most in line with that?
  3. What decision moves you closer to your goals? If they both/all do, maybe it doesn’t matter which one you choose 😉
  4. What are you so afraid of? What’s stopping you from just making a decision?
  5. If you knew it would work out beautifully either way, what decision would you want to make?

You Can’t Make a “Wrong” Choice

When aligned with your values and intuition, no choice you make is ever wrong. At worst, you get an outcome you don’t prefer. But failure is impossible. You either get what you want, or you gain priceless insight. Both are progress.

You can be happy and successful any choice you make, because this is created by thinking, not outcomes.

It only becomes a “wrong” decision when you decide to think it was a wrong decision – which is completely optional, no matter what the outcome was. If that decision was made from an aligned place, why would you dishonor yourself by telling yourself it was wrong after the fact? It wasn’t wrong, it just didn’t go the way you thought it would. This is a thought error.

Rather than judging past choices, reflect on what you learned. Mentally congratulate yourself for having the courage to decide at all. Even temporary detours lead you where you need to go.

The path of indecision leads nowhere. But the path of intuition, identity, and values holds endless potential for growth. Perfection is impossible, but inspired action always creates meaning. Your destiny unfolds one empowered choice at a time.

Just decide.

Stop letting indecision limit your freedom.

Live Free. Love Life.

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