A Strategic Way to Make Difficult Decisions

Decisions, decisions.

Did you know that one of the reasons people come to counselling or therapy is to get help making decisions? That fact is one of the many things I learned in my studies last year.

(Cue the marching band! I am one step closer to earning my credentials to provide Addictions and Mental Health Counselling. Being a full-time student was more time intensive than I had anticipated; however, it was a great year of learning!)

In my counselling course, I learned a system for making decisions that you will find helpful.

A traditional pros and cons list can still be effective when making simple decisions. However, it can be beneficial to dig deeper when it comes to life’s big decisions. In fact, when determining what to do in conflict situations (such as dealing with bullying or racism), deciding among a variety of alternatives (such as changing careers, getting in or out of relationships), and even changing behaviours such as drinking less alcohol or exercising more), identifying the possible cognitive (thoughts) and emotional (feelings) gains and losses can help you to make decisions that reflect your values and strengthen your resolve to follow through.

To help you systematically consider any decision’s logical positive and negative consequences, complete this Decision Balance Sheet (Ivey et al., 2018, p. 298-299).

Doe Zantamata said, “Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons, and some luck. The only thing that’s for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they’d just had the courage to leap” (1000 Minds, 2023). Only you can decide which direction to take. Make value-based decisions and take courageous action on those things that matter most to you.



1000 Minds. (2023). 70 inspirational decision-making quotes. https://www.1000minds.com/decision-making/decision-quotes

Ivey, A. E., Ivey, M. B., & Zalaquett, C. P. (2018). Intentional interviewing and counselling: Facilitating client development in a multicultural society (9th ed.). Cengage Learning.