Decision-Making Skills

Decision-making is a skill that is learned and strengthened. The more often you make decisions the better you’ll get at it. While some decisions are fairly easy and don’t require a lot of detailed planning (e.g. what to wear today), others require more thought, such as what courses to pick for next year, what to choose for community involvement, getting a part-time job, resolving a conflict with a friend or how to  report bullying.

Keep in mind that there are many answers to some of the decisions you’ll face. To help you with difficult decisions, here are eight steps you can follow:

  1. What is the problem you are facing? Write it down so you are clear on what you are trying to resolve. Why should you solve this issue? This step provides you with an idea of how important this decision is.

  2. Gather information and ask for advice: Write down what you need to learn. What do others who have already been through this have to say? Gather information from family, friends, your teacher or guidance counsellor or a trusted adult. What are the facts?

  3. What is important to you? Identify your values, such as honesty, good grades, money, independence, etc. How will your values play a role in your decision?

  4. Brainstorm: Come up with ideas and options you can choose from.

  5. What are the consequences of each option? Use steps two and three to decide on the pros and cons of each possible option listed in step four. Write them down.

  6. Decide on the best option for you: This is much easier after you go through the steps. You may want to rank the information in order of preference. You also may want to take a few days to think about it.

  7. Create a plan and carry it out: When you have made your choice, plan out your steps to see it through.

  8. Measure the results: How would you rate your decision? What about the steps you took? What feedback are you getting? What lessons did you learn? If you’re not happy with this decision, you can always start again.