How to make important life decisions mindfully

We all have to make important life decisions from time to time, like changing jobs, getting married, buying a home, or choosing schools for our children. Often the stakes are high, and you’re right to be concerned about making the best decision possible for you and your family. That’s why important decisions often benefit from careful consideration and analysis of each option. But how can you be sure you’re choosing the right option for the right reasons?

It’s now widely accepted that mindfulness benefits decision-making. Here are some ways to be mindful as you make important decisions and determine what’s best.

1. Take your time.

Let the options brew in your mind. Slow, deliberate reflection can grant you clarity. Set a deadline for yourself, you could give yourself 2-3 days to just think and rethink or set a particular date for yourself.

2. Accept that making important decisions can be hard.

Big decisions often have big, long-lasting consequences. Instead of wishing a big decision were easier, honour the fact that it’s not, nor should it be. Lay out the pros and cons for each side and chat through it with someone you trust.

3. Be true to yourself.

Only consider options that are aligned with what’s truly important to you. Often we’re overwhelmed with choices that seem very important at that time, but when we really think about it, it does not matter in the long run. Ask yourself – will this really matter 5-10 years from now?

4. Aim to reduce your stress.

Choose simplicity over complications, ease over difficulty. Then you can better pinpoint what’s best for you. Reach out for help when possible to ease your stress. For example, when buying a house, reach out to a mortgage broker to do the heavy work so you can focus more on finding the right home.

5. Take your lead from others.

It can be immensely helpful to hear other people reflect on the choices they've made. Doing so can help you mindfully reflect on your options, and others' insights may lend clarity to the choices you face. While you can do your research online, it can also be helpful to talk to the people you already know, and trust.

6. Trust the process.

Life’s big decisions require trust. Sometimes we need to trust our gut feelings, believing that we know what’s best for us based on experience. Other times we need to trust others and learn from their knowledge and experience. When we trust ourselves and others, we’re able to make the best choices in the moment.