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PEOPLE : Make a Decision to Learn to Decide

January 26, 1994|ASSOCIATED PRESS

When it comes to making decisions, practice makes perfect.

"Decision making is an acquired skill," says Ian H. Gotlib, a Chicago psychologist, in a recent issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.

"People who are self-sufficient tend to be better decision makers because they've had to be, but anyone can learn the basics."

For starters:

* Prioritize. Make a list of all the decisions you make during the day, no matter how minor. At night, review them for clues to what you value most.

* Take time to mull your options. There is nothing wrong with consulting friends, family, bosses and therapists, as long as you don't cross the line from investigative to obsessive.

* Test your feelings. If you have two alternatives, "just toss a coin and see how you feel with the choice that comes up," Gotlib says. If you feel bad, realize that's a clue to your real feelings.

* Just do it. Accept that the process is tough, but don't let fear paralyze you.

Once you have made your decision, you still must weather hazardous afterthoughts. Even the best decision makers have regrets, but they don't allow them to cause self-doubt.

Ultimately, indecision can prevent you from getting on with life.

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