How to Make Better Decisions for Your Happiness

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Our life is made up of a million decisions we make each day that build upon and a?ect one another. ough some decisions are more significant than others, each one has the ability to nurture your happiness or hinder it. Be sure that when you are making decisions large and small, you are considering their potential impact on your happiness. Here’s a quick guide:

1. Listen to your intuition.

As you face decisions, be still enough to allow your intuitive knowing to emerge. Be willing to listen and follow where it guides you. Daily meditation is a great way to create the space for you to hear your intuition. Even just ten minutes of quiet stillness each morning and/or evening can give you tremendous benefits through stress relief, clearing your mind, and letting your good ideas surface.

2. Consider doing what you would do if failure was not a possibility.

Nobody wants to try something and fail at it, but fear of failure keeps most people from taking even the first step toward a goal they have. Only the people who actually take risks have the privilege of failing. Everyone else is just standing on the sidelines watching, waiting for the perfect moment to act.

3. Do what you would do if no one would be mad or disappointed.

It’s natural to care about what our friends, family, and colleagues think of us. For example, I am highly motivated by pleasing others and receiving their admiration and praise. My tendency to yearn for external approval often ends up getting me all mixed up in the head when it’s time to make a decision. I try to find a perfect solution where my problem gets fixed and no one is inconvenienced or upset about it. In short, I tend to search for a guarantee that no one will criticize me. But as we all know, the only guarantee in life is that one day, we will all leave this Earth.

Considering that you get this one precious life (at least in this incarnation anyway), you should spend it doing what your heart, in partnership with good sense, leads you to do rather than making decisions to seek others’ approval.

It took me years to learn this central lesson from Melody Beattie’s breakthrough book Codependent No More:

You can’t take care of yourself and another person’s feelings at the same time.

Rather than putting other people’s feelings and opinions above your own well-being, make your decisions without worrying about people being mad or disappointed that you didn’t do what they wanted. It is possible to be considerate of other people’s feelings without letting them matter more than your own.


Trying to please everyone is impossible and undermines the power of your own inner compass.

4. Pretend that no one is going to congratulate you on your decision.

Similar to the last point, if you are a person who thrives from receiving gold stars for your accomplishments, you probably look for ways to get attention, respect, and maybe even envy from your friends. While it may feel good in the moment to make someone go, “Ooh, look at her. She’s so fancy,” you are ultimately the one who will live with the consequences of your decision. Don’t make your decisions based on the people you hope to impress, how many “likes” you’ll get on Facebook, or how many high fives you will slap at the next happy hour. If you make decisions that support your personal and professional goals, I promise you’ll get the delicious and irreplaceable stamp of approval from your own intuition. That’s the only one that truly matters.

5. Share your decision with someone after sleeping on it.

After you have taken time to properly think through a decision, its possible consequences, and what path would make you most happy, give yourself some time to have that decision be yours and yours alone. You can be scared about the future and still feel like you are making the right decision. Once you have digested it, if you still feel good about it, share the news with a trusted friend. is will help make the decision seem more real and create some accountability.

6. Serious decisions require at least a one-week waiting period.

When I’m very stressed about a particular decision, I can be very indecisive, swinging wildly from one option to the other. This indecision likely comes from a fundamental lack of trust in myself to know what is best for me. Excitable and fickle can be a dangerous combination, especially when I think out loud with other people and drag them through the rollercoaster in my head.

What’s worse, the conflicting opinions I solicit from other people clutter my vision even more. I’ve discovered that sticking to a mandatory waiting period before publicly declaring or acting on a big life decision allows me to be confused in peace.

What would you do if failure was not a possibility?


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Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.