5 Keys to Making Decisions

14 March, 2019
When making decisions, it's important not to only thinking about yourself and your own well-being, but about what benefits those around you and for a common good as well. 

William James, the famous philosopher and psychologist from the early 20th century, made it clear through his work that regardless of the passage of time, one thing is still relevant today: making decisions is one of the keys to happiness.

Happiness is like trying to keep your balance while balancing on a ball. One step forward or one step back causes the whole thing to slip from beneath you. That’s why your primary goal should be to make the right decisions to keep you at that perfect, balanced spot.

However, making decisions isn’t always easy. There are certain situations that will push you farther than you should go, which is when you experience that pit in your stomach, the fear, and the feeling like you’re losing control.

Other times, your own thoughts make you take a step back. You end up stuck at some point in the past, and there, too, you lose your calm, security and peace.

Today, we’d like to share with you 5 simple keys to making decisions more effectively to help you be happier.

Read: Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Happy

Simple Keys to Making Decisions


1. A new thought creates a more powerful emotion for making decisions.

Sometimes, there are very few things that end up being as powerful as learning how to change your thoughts so you can thereby improve your emotions and perception of reality. According to positive psychology, in order to be happy, you have to believe that you deserve it.

Yes, something that seems so simple could end up completely changing your day to day life:

This changes your thoughts to prevent the negative or stressful events from becoming a wall, or rocks along the way.  Having a less fatalistic outlook definitely allows you to confront issues more holistically.

Losing your job, for example, can be traumatic. However, sometimes this forces you to start anew, and to even start projects that are even more productive and fulfilling.

Breaking up with your partner, fighting with or losing a friend… All of these are also very tough situations that force you to live through certain kinds of grief. However, sometimes these vital moments teach you to be stronger.

Making the decision to continue forging your own path and your own happiness is the philosophical rock in all these cases.

2. The ability to persevere is always within you.

Persevering doesn’t mean simply tolerating anything or getting stuck when met with adversity. Persevering also means fighting, working up strength, and most of all, being resilient.

Believe it or not, the brain is designed to analyze everything negative that happens to you, and to learn from adversity.

You are stronger than you think, which is something you should never forget.

3. Focus on the here and now.

A lot of specialists in the mental health field talk about the amazing benefits of meditation or yoga.

If you aren’t very accustomed to these types of exercises, however, make sure you at least continue with simple habits like going out for walks, taking strolls, being silent and calm in a relaxed environment.

If you get used to being centered and calm, you will be able to use present moment to be able to see your objectives and path to happiness.

meditate-for-a-while-to-relieve-tension and making decisions

4. Practice gratitude and humility when making decisions.

In order to be happy, you must also learn to be humble and grateful. Wanting things outside of your reality that are not feasible can lead to suffering.

Taking things for granted and not being thankful for every beautiful thing around you means you’re wearing dark glasses that block you from your ability to be happy.

Your family and friends, a peaceful, harmonious day, the health of your loved ones, your children’s happiness, the companionship of your pets… all of these are things you should be thankful for.

You might like: How to Keep Your Mind Fit and Sharp

5. Be able to give and receive happiness.

Sometimes, people fall into a rut of “materialistic happiness”, where each strategy, action and thought is oriented around bringing self-happiness. Slowly, this deteriorates into a selfish lifestyle.

Happiness is like an energy that increases when shared. You have to be able to give happiness, while also knowing how to accept and receive it from others.

There’s nothing more gratifying than making decisions in which everyone wins and no one loses. After all, life is more beautiful when the common good is shared.

making decisions for happiness

One of the biggest and most powerful steps in reaching true happiness is the realization that you already have everything you need. This feeling is a mix of internal peace, personal maturity, well-being and of course, happiness.

To reach this happiness, always remember to keep these tips in mind and follow your heart when making decision.

  • M. Javnbakht, R. Hejazi Kenari, M. Ghasemi. 2009. Effects of yoga on depression and anxiety of women. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.
  • Vera Poseck, Beatriz; Carbelo Baquero, Begoña; Vecina Jiménez, María Luisa. La experiencia traumática desde la psicología positiva: resiliencia y crecimiento postraumático. Papeles del Psicólogo. 2006. Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Psicólogos. Madrid, España. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/778/77827106.pdf
  • Vera Poseck, Beatriz. Psicología positiva: una nueva forma de entender la psicología. Papeles del Psicólogo. 2006. Consejo General de Colegios Oficiales de Psicólogos. Madrid, España. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/778/77827102.pdf