5 Best Practices to Follow When You’ve Made a Bad Decision
Nothing impacts our mental health quite like poor decision making. When we regret the choices we make, it’s easy to overthink things, place blame, worry, become anxious, and more. But the simple fact is that we all make thousands of decisions each day. In fact, researchers found that, on average, we make a staggering 221 decisions every day just about food.1 It’s not surprising, then, that every once in a while, we make bad choices. Oftentimes a bad decision is fairly inconsequential: Maybe you picked a new book to read and it was dull, or you decide to wash your car and then it rains later that day. No big deal.
But sometimes with poor decision making comes consequences. Maybe you leave a good job for what you think will be a great job, and then the new company downsizes quickly and lays you off. Perhaps you yell, “I never want to see you again!” at the person you love the most and later regret it. Or maybe you made an investment and lost money.
Discover five actions to take after you’ve made a bad decision.
Maybe you feel regret, anger, embarrassment, sadness, or several emotions at once. And it’s okay to experience those emotions. But remember: We’re all doing the best we can. No one is perfect, and you can’t change the past.
Don’t let negativity consume you. Making a bad decision doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you human.
Determine how you can move forward and take action.
The worst thing to do after making a bad decision is nothing. Is there a way to repair the situation, or at least decrease the consequences? Can you inform others who may be impacted by your decision making? Perhaps someone else will come up with a helpful idea.
Quickly make an action plan and start taking steps. You’ll create momentum that can yield positive changes.
Evaluate what happened.
Set aside your emotions and assess what happened. Approach the decision and the consequences as data. Determine what you can learn from this instance of poor decision making. Decisions truly are bad only if you repeat them.
Consider how to improve your decision making next time.
If you made the best decision you possibly could with the information you had at the time, then know that you did your best. If you could have made a better decision, determine what you need in the future to generate a better outcome. Maybe you need to do more research, consult with others, wait a bit longer before making a final decision, or make a decision more quickly.
Try using a decision-making process.
If you’re looking for a new approach to decision making, try following a standard process like the DECIDE model.
D = define the problem.
E = establish the criteria.
C = consider your options.
I = identify the best solution.
D = develop and implement a plan of action.
E = evaluate and assess the solution.2
Of course, no system can guarantee that every single decision you’ll make is right. But following a process like the DECIDE model ensures that you’ve done your best to make a well-informed decision.
If you’re interested in helping people make good decisions that can improve their lives, you might consider earning a mental health degree online. An online degree program offers the flexibility you need to earn your degree from home or anywhere you choose study, at any time of day or night, so that you can continue working full time while you go to school.
In an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling online master’s degree program, you can learn assessment procedures, evidence-based counseling practices, and key counseling skills that you can use to launch or advance a career in counseling. If this path sounds like a good fit, you can even use the DECIDE model to help choose the right clinical mental health counseling online program at an accredited university.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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