10 Strategies To Make A Choice You'll Never Regret

Forget the psychic and the Magic-8 Ball. Simply using these clear-headed strategies can ensure that you do the right thing.
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1. Go With Your Gut Instincts

A study found that when making simple choices (like what to eat for lunch), it pays to be rational. But, when it comes to bigger ones (like which job to take), you’re better off listening to your instincts. That’s not to say you should buy a car on a whim, but if you have weighed the pros and cons and still can’t reach a conclusion, let your snap judgment be the tiebreaker and go with what just feels right.

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2. Get Into A Stress-Free State


Go for a haircut right after you are laid off and you could wind up looking like Javier Bardem in No Country For Old Men. The reason being, we tend to act rashly when we’re nervous or upset. Research suggests that anxiety not only makes it more difficult to settle on something, but also actually makes you more likely to come to the wrong conclusion. So, if you’re fighting with your boyfriend while choosing between dream destinations, try to resolve the disagreement quickly, so you can make a more clear-headed resolution. And, since one study found that stress has a residual effect, wait a few days after you’ve kissed and made up before planning for your vacation again.

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3. Talk It Over With A Select Few

Chatting about your predicament with close friends, your mom, or whomever you trust to give an honest opinion is a good idea. Hashing out your options allows you to further process the decision, and hearing others’ perspectives (whether you agree with them or not) can help you arrive at a more informed—and better—conclusion.

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4. But Avoid Discussing It With Everyone


So, you know that running your decision past a few key people in your life is smart. But, it’s best to keep your hairstylist, trainer, and barista out of it. Soliciting too many opinions—especially from people who don’t know you that well—can leave you with lots of conflicting (not to mention bad) advice. Before seeking someone’s opinion, ask yourself if the person is really in a position to know what’s best for you. If the answer is no, keep it to yourself.

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5. Put Down The Mojito

There’s a reason Google Mail Goggles was invented: Cocktails make it easier to act. Although one drink can relax you while you’re agonizing over a choice, more than that can cloud your judgment.

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6. Don’t Leave It Up To Chance


It can be dangerous to make a major, life-changing choice based on what your horoscope instructs you to do. While it’s definitely fun to let these things influence small decisions (which dress to wear on a date, if you should ask out a guy), the bigger stuff (dumping your boyfriend, working overseas) should not be left up to the stars.

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7. Blow Off Bullies Who Are Pressuring You

When grappling with a decision, it can be easy to be swayed in one direction by someone who has self-serving motives—whether it’s a salesperson talking you into buying a pair of shoes you can’t afford or your parents nagging you about applying to a multinational company. Distance yourself from the person or people pressuring you while you sort out your thoughts. If that’s not possible, pretend you’re advising a friend on the matter, which will help you act more logically and guilt-free.

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8. Consider The Long-Term Consequences

Some decisions make short-term sense, but in the long run can be disastrous. For example, telling your guy you cheated on him once three years ago may relieve your guilt, but it will probably cause him to break up with you. Similarly, doing things like sitting in the sun or having unprotected sex often can feel right in the moment, but these toxic behaviors have serious health ramifications. A good rule of thumb: Play out each possible scenario in your mind...and consider the outcome (on your health, on a friend’s or boyfriend’s feelings, on your credit card bill—whatever) before making a controversial move.

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9. Keep In Mind That You Can’t Always Use The Past To Predict The Future

It’s important not to rely simply on experience, especially when you’re making a choice that will seriously affect your bank account or lifestyle. In our rapidly changing world, experts recommend assessing each new opportunity with a fresh mindset. What might have been a shrewd move a few years ago—like buying a house or leaving your nine-to-five gig to start up your own business—could wreak havoc on your life today.

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10. Sleep On It…But Just For One Night

Researchers say unconscious deliberation (that is, getting shut-eye) can help you analyze your options and come to a conclusion, which is why people will often tell you to sleep on it. However, belaboring a decision for too long means you aren’t comfortable with any of the choices you have before you and you need to consider alternatives.

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Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox ("The Devil Wears Prada")
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