Woman contemplating a major decision at a crossroad

Staring at a Crossroads: How to Make a Major Decision

When you come to a major crossroads in your life, you might approach it in several ways. Sometimes, you might make a quick, impulsive decision and hope for the best. Other times, you may take so much time considering your choice that you get mired in indecision and anxiety.

No matter which decision-making style you tend to use, you need to make choices you can feel confident about now and benefit from in the future. Being impulsive can lead to poor choices and unfortunate outcomes. Yet, staying too long in the contemplation phase can make you anxious and stressed.

At NYC Therapeutic Wellness, we can help guide you on your path to learning valuable decision-making skills. We’re here as your sounding board and can also help you manage the stress, fear, and anxiety that arise as you prepare to make any major life change.

Your NYC Therapeutic Wellness therapist can guide you in learning to make decisions that satisfy your wants and needs.

Don’t wait until you’re overwhelmed with indecision or have already jumped into making the wrong choice. Find a therapist at NYC Therapeutic Wellness to help you navigate the road ahead in a thoughtful, relaxed way to meet your goals and honor the true you.

A 7-Step Decision-Making Process

The way each person makes decisions is unique, but you can streamline the process if you follow a simple formula. Here is an example of a 7-step process for considering and choosing your next major life decision.

7 Steps to Making Better Decisions Infographic

1. Manage Your Stress

Before you can take a systematic approach, it may be helpful to relieve your stress.

De-stressing might require you to adjust your mindset so that you don’t panic at the first appearance of stress. Once you let your mind know that you’re in no danger, your brain will move out of its fight-or-flight mode. Other techniques, like mindfulness, exercise, and relaxation, can help reduce the feeling of pressure. Your therapist can also help you with stress management techniques you might not know. Minimizing your stress can help you have the most clarity as you decide.

2. Recognize Your Thoughts and Feelings

Thoughts and emotions can swirl through your mind constantly whenever you face a major life transition. These thoughts and feelings create a tangled web of confusion. The intensity of the experience can bring you to the point that you rush to a conclusion to escape the chaos. Or you might put off making a choice indefinitely, allowing anxiety to build.

Identify and acknowledge each of your thoughts and feelings surrounding the decision. One way to do this is to write them down. Another way is to express them to a trusted friend or therapist.

Don’t expect to know what to do immediately. Instead, focus on expressing your feelings and thoughts. Later, you can move on to evaluating their content. For now, all you need to do is get them out there.

One emotion you may be feeling is fear. Ask yourself, is fear getting in the way of making this decision?

3. Explore All Your Options

Even with all the time you’ve spent thinking about your upcoming decision, you may have missed some of the options you could choose. Do a little brainstorming to see if you can come up with other possibilities you haven’t considered before.

It’s also helpful to get a fresh perspective. Talk your decisions and options out with someone else, tell them your ideas, and see if they can add any more possibilities. You can also research your options at this point, looking for statistics on how situations like yours most often turn out.

However, keep in mind that you are a unique individual. What works for someone else might be completely wrong for you. And what is perfect for you might not work at all for someone else. Maintain a balance between objective information and your personal insights into your differences. A therapist can help you stay on track.

4. Seek Objective Help

You need someone to talk out your thoughts and feelings about each option with. This individual should be someone who can listen to you carefully and patiently and respond non-judgmentally. They may reflect back on what you’ve said because you can often look at it more objectively when you hear someone else say it. They might ask questions to ensure they understand what you mean and how you feel.

What this person shouldn’t do is tell you what to do. You are a capable person, and your decisions are for you alone to make. The person you trust with your thoughts on an important decision should always support you in a way that helps you build confidence in your own personal choices.

An NYC Therapeutics Wellness therapist can help you through your difficulty in adjusting to a big life change. When you discuss these issues with a professional counselor, you can rely on unbiased and supportive encouragement throughout the process – even during the messy parts of decision-making.

5. Consider the Consequences

Before you make a decision on a critical change in your life, you can benefit from considering what might happen next. You can’t predict the future. Yet, some choices naturally lead to unhelpful outcomes.

If you want to know where this decision will take you, you need to examine the objective information you’ve gathered and recognize what makes your situation unique. You also need to engage your imagination, thinking of what might occur based on what you know about yourself, the situation, and others.

Coming to a decision about something that significantly impacts your personal well-being and happiness is not like finding the answer to a mathematical equation. You have to find the right solution, but you also need to choose something that will improve your life satisfaction. A therapist can guide you as you make this choice so that you realize what you want and move toward it.

6. Remember That You’re Unique

Others might know you are up against a major life transition. You may have even told certain people that you are having trouble deciding what to do about it. And these people may have all kinds of advice for you. You may feel pressured to do what a loved one wants you to do or torn between the people who want to help you or push you.

Through all this, you need to remember that you are unique. No one else can truly see this decision from your perspective. You must do what’s right for you, regardless of what others think. How can you do that? You need to examine your personal goals and values.

Therapists at NYC Therapeutic Wellness can help you discuss what matters most in life from your perspective. They can also help you using goal assessment tools and values inventories. When you’re clear on what is important to you as an individual, the answer to your choice usually comes more easily. Your therapist will offer you support and encouragement while you reach your own conclusion.

7. Commit to Your Decision

After you decide what to do next, the work of implementing this change begins. Doubts can creep in, causing you to question your decision and bringing more anxiety. That’s why it’s a good idea to stick with your therapist as you take steps to move toward the next phase of your life.

Committing to your decision involves taking steps to make your chosen state of being a new reality. Whether it’s a new relationship, the end of a partnership, or a change in career, you will likely feel more confident with each positive step you take. Honor your decision, trust the process to make it, and lean into what is to come and what you can learn from this choice.

Talk Out Your Decision with a Professional in NYC

Our NYC Therapeutic Wellness therapists are here to help you sort through and discuss your major life choices. We approach your personal issues by recognizing your uniqueness and your individual situation. We acknowledge your struggles but help you move beyond them to a happier, more satisfying personal and professional life.

Located in Manhattan, we know well the pressure you are under as you navigate life to reach your personal goals. New York is no easy place to live and work, but we have the knowledge, tools, and compassion to help you manage stress, anxiety, and the most important decisions of your life!

Talk to a counselor at NYC Therapeutic Wellness for support in achieving personal growth and healing. Instead of going it alone in a difficult situation, count on experienced counselors who can help you create the changes you want to make for a more fulfilling life!