A Quick and Easy Decision-Making Barometer

You know when you have a decision to make, and you’re just not sure what to do? I’m not just talking about big life decisions (but those are included). One of the issues I’m working on for myself is not just saying Yes to everything. I don’t know why I do it, and although I’ve gotten better at saying No to some social things that I don’t feel like doing, I still say Yes to every professional offer, even if it’s really not going to benefit me and/or I am not interested. Because of this, I end up getting into things I don’t want to be doing, and then I either have to find a way to get out of it, or I am just not all that happy about how I’m spending my time (or I end up with no free time!). The result? I need to find a way in the moment to identify (a) if I want to say Yes to something, and (b) how to be more assertive about not doing things I don’t want to do.

My mentor introduced me to this exercise last week, and I’m so excited to share it with you!

The first few times you do it, you might need to be in your home or quiet place so you can really focus, but once you have the hang of it, I bet you could conjure it up in the middle of Pittsford Wegmans at noon on Sunday! I’m also going to make an audio version of this that I can share with you if you’d like, but it won’t be till next week—I said Yes to too many other things for this week!


Be comfortable and close your eyes. Start breathing deeply into your belly.

Think about a time in your life when you had that awesome, comfortable, happy blissful feeling. For me, it’s something that started quite a long time ago. When I was a senior in high school, my mom was sick and couldn’t work for several months. So when I got home from school everyday, she would be home in bed, and as soon as I came inside I would get in bed with her.  We’d just lay there for hours and talk. Now, it’s something we do when we have the chance—a few years ago when we lived together (sometimes with Matthew “fishing” off the bed), and a couple months ago after she had dental surgery. It’s my place of comfort—do you have something like this?  It doesn’t have to be a recurrent place/situation, just a context you can visualize that is your most comfortable, blissful, and happy.

When you think about your place/situation, bring up the feelings too and just hold onto them (if you’re doing something nostalgic in your mind and it makes you sad, you might want to pick something else for this exercise).

Next, think of something or some decision that you’re facing now. For example, someone has asked you to if you want to collaborate on a project or friends have asked you to go on a weekend shopping trip.

Ask yourself this: When you think of the decision in question, does the comfort level you conjured up for your happy place stay the same or does it decrease?

If it decreases, visualize what it would be like to say Yes or decide one way or another.  If your comfort level is lower compared to when you were feeling your happy place, consider saying No or picking something else.

There is no reason why you can’t go through life feeling the bliss of your happy place all the time. In order to do so, you need to be in touch with how you feel as you make your daily (even small) decisions.

Please tell me if you try it and if it works for you!  I’ll let you know when the audio is ready. Once you practice a little, you’ll be able to use this tool anywhere at anytime.

This may just be his happy place...well, this and somewhere out in the woods or fishing. Kids are much more in touch with what makes them happy!

4 thoughts on “A Quick and Easy Decision-Making Barometer”

  1. Something about letting kids play with candy and use frosting like glue…every so often, the teacher would call an “Elf Break” when the kids could each pick one thing to eat. Matthew picked a pretzel instead of candy 2 out of the 4 times!

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