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Step-by-Step Decision-Making

If you have a plan for how to handle major decisions it may save you a lot of time and anxiety, waffling back and forth unsure of how to proceed. The following guidelines can help you find clarity and avoid conflict: Define the problem or conflict. Write down a question or a statement that accurately represents what you need to decide.

Brainstorm for possible solution. Write down everything. At this point make no judgments about the rightness, wrongness or do-ability of any suggestions. Be creative and bold with your suggestions. Write down all you can think of and then take a short break and add two or three more.

Share your feelings. One at a time, share your feelings about the problem. Remember that feelings are not wrong or right, they just are. Just listen to each other and do your best to hear and understand what your partner is sharing until you both feel heard and understood.

Evaluate possible solutions. Separately evaluate the pros and cons for each of the possible solutions and then share your evaluation with your partner. This process helps to clarify your thoughts and helps you to better understand your partner's perspective.

Wait. If at all possible, allow at least a day before making the final decision. This allows for some space to see how the solutions β€œsit” with you before committing yourself to a final decision.

Discuss and decide. Each describe what you want to happen and share any concerns you may still have. If you both have chosen the same solution, great. If you have not both chosen the same solution, then discuss possible compromises until you come up with a solution that works for both of you. You can repeat any of the above steps if needed.

Commit.Once you have reach an agreement it is important that you both commit to the solution. Smile and proceed with full effort and work as a team to make the best possible resolution.