When it comes to making tough decisions with ADHD that take you out of your comfort zone, it can really be emotionally trying.
The only way around those decisions is to be untrue to your beliefs. And that’s an approach you most likely want to avoid. Your conscience is bound to eat away at you if you go that route.
Instead, try this 7-step process to help you make those tough decisions with confidence:
- Weigh the alternative(s)
- Consider the outcome(s)
- List drivers and resistors
- Limit the advice you take
- Think outside your comfort zone
- Identify what you have control over
- Decide to take action (or not)
1. Weigh the alternative
When a tough decision looms overhead, you know there’s always an alternative. Quick decisions often lead you to go with easier alternatives, that ultimately avoid stress. But when considering an alternative, you have to consider its cost.
If you’re honest with yourself, you may realize that the alternative but tougher decision may be the best decision from a moral standpoint. It’s hard to go wrong when you go the moral route!
Avoid making decisions that you know may rest on your conscience forever. Those make it difficult to live with true peace of mind.
2. Consider the outcome
Usually, difficult decisions work out for the better in the end. But what you’re worried about is those who may not be pleased with the decision. The toss-up is between two glaring options. Do you continue in a less-than-favorable situation? Or do you decide to make a change for the better?
A great way to justify making a hard decision is to consider the outcome (what happens as a result of this decision). Do you see yourself in a more positive situation after you make this decision? Can you envision life being less stressful with the consequences after you decide?
Always remember what you’re trying to achieve. Is this decision based on your goals, or driven by your needs. If you alone can take responsibility for the result, and that outcome aligns with who you are, and what you want and need, it’s likely an outcome that you can live with.
Conversely, if you’re making this decision to people-please, or comply with someone else’s goals and ideas, this outcome will likely not make you truly happy.
3. List drivers and resistors
With every decision, there are factors that drive you toward the decision and those that resist the change that a decision will spark. For instance, if you’re sitting in a chair right now as you read this, consider that the chair has driving forces (your weight, gravity) that are holding the chair to the earth. It also has resisting factors (chair composition, frame, format) that are actually supporting you in that seat. These (hopefully for you) are in a state of balance or equilibrium.
When facing a decision – you’re staring down the invisible line of change. And, there are reasons that you wish to make the decisions, and likely reasons that are making you resist deciding. It can be extremely helpful to write all these factors down on paper to allow you to gain perspective on the decision.
4. Limit the advice you take
In some scenarios, advice is very helpful. However, in others, it can easily cloud your judgment. When making a tough decision, go with your gut. It’s usually correct if you’re aligned with your conscience!
When you start to hear several different opinions, you can get confused. Of course, you can be courteous to everyone offering their suggestion. You may want to respectfully listen to everybody who’s trying to help. But listen with one ear!
It’s possible to hear the advice and not take it to heart. It’s also possible to weigh everybody’s feedback and filter the ones that aren’t helpful.
5. Think outside your comfort zone
Remember that life in general tends to be uncomfortable. While you would prefer otherwise, it’s a reality you just sometimes have to face. When you prime your mind to think of discomfort as the norm, those tough decisions become easier.
Nobody likes to be uncomfortable, especially for extended periods. But that’s what you’ll be if you avoid making the tough decision when it’s necessary for your well-being.
If you know something is right, aim to block out all the noise and listen to your conscience.
You may end up losing friends for the decision. But you may gain so much more as a result, too. Consider peace of mind, a clear conscience and genuine happiness. These can all be yours when you decide to do what’s truly best for you.
So focus on the task at hand, and what accomplishing it can help you achieve. If the end result of your decision betters your situation and supports your goals and conscience, then you can be confident that you’ve made a wise decision – even if it was tough.
6. Identify the things you have control over
More time and energy have been wasted by people who attempt to control things that they can not. The Serenity Prayer is a prayer attributed to the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr (1892–1971) in 1943. However, Winnifred Crane Wygal first published it in 1933.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
The prayer originally asked for courage first, and specifically for changing things that must be changed, not things that simply can be changed:
Father, give us courage to change what must be altered, serenity to accept what cannot be helped, and the insight to know the one from the other.
7. Decide and take action.
This is the biggie for ADHD adults.