How to Tell if You Are About to Make a Wrong Decision

5 Things to Consider Now to Avoid Regret Later

Whenever we make a wrong decision, it can affect us in many ways and lead to unexpected problems.

Having the ability to make right decisions is an important skill to develop to avoid experiencing regret later.

Each day, we make many decisions, some which are simple or non-critical, such as what we wear, what to eat or how to use our time.

We also make difficult decisions, that if incorrect, can have significant repercussions. These can include how we perform, the way we communicate with others, our attitude and behaviour, and our ability to complete things on time.

If we avoid making bad decisions, it will make our lives a lot easier, without more stress.

Factors That Can Contribute to Wrong Decisions

To know if we are about to make a wrong decision, we first have to understand what influences our decisions. Contributing factors include:

  • Lack of knowledge or awareness.
  • Preconceived ideas, beliefs or mental biases.
  • Overconfidence which can play out as, “I know best.”
  • Not having defined criteria for making decisions.
  • Feeling rushed or pressured to decide something.

Even though we will make mistakes in life, having things to refer back to, can prevent us from experiencing regret later.

make a wrong decision

5 Things That Indicate You Are About to Make a Wrong Decision

It’s useful to know how to avoid bad decisions. Here are five things that indicate you are on the wrong path and should rethink what you are about to do.

  1. You know something does not “feel” right. If your gut or intuition is telling you something, listen to it. Whenever you go against your intuition, you will probably make the wrong decision. The key is knowing the voice of your intuition and learning to trust it.
  2. You are frantic or rushing to decide. If you decide when stressed or under duress, it’s highly likely you won’t make the right decision. If you are tired and feel pressured to decide, you risk creating problems later on.
  3. You have not given yourself space to think through your options. There is a fine balance between deciding from an empowered state and deciding out of fear. Giving yourself time to review options is a smart move. However, it should not lead to delays or procrastination because of fear or avoidance.
  4. You are trying to convince yourself to choose something when you shouldn’t. If you have to force yourself to choose something when there isn’t a need to, you are heading down the wrong path. Most times, you will have the freedom and time to choose what is right for you.
  5. You have not talked to those who will be impacted by your decision. Your decisions will affect others, most times. If you don’t involve those who will be affected, you risk affecting your relationships. It is better to take more time and discuss with others involved before deciding.

How You Can Avoid Making Wrong Decisions

Here are things you can do to avoid making wrong decisions.

  1. Be better informed before deciding.
  2. Set up decision rules.
  3. Build your decision-making ability by making more decisions daily.
  4. Develop a high level of self-awareness.
  5. Learn from your past decisions.
  6. Give yourself enough time or space before making critical decisions.

5 Things You Can Do if You Make a Wrong Decision

No matter how hard you try, you will make bad decisions. Here are five things you can do if you make a wrong decision.

  1. Process the emotions you are experiencing and practice self-forgiveness and self-compassion.
  2. Extract lessons from your decisions and use them next time.
  3. Reflect on what is most important or what you want to focus on now.
  4. Look for opportunities to turn a bad decision into a positive outcome.
  5. Do not let one bad decision define what is possible for you.

Final Thoughts

No one wants to make wrong decisions. We are wired to do what we think will give us the outcomes we want. Invariably though, we will stumble and make mistakes.

If we learn to recognise when we are about to make a wrong decision, we will eliminate stress, guilt and regret from our lives.

If we don’t know the signs that indicate we are on the wrong track, we will make our lives chaotic and create more stress.

Action Step: Before your next important decision, ensure none of the signs that indicate you are about to make a wrong one, are present. Use the ideas suggested here to avoid making a wrong decision.

Question: What are other ways to tell if you are about to make a wrong decision?