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Making SMART Decisions

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Making SMART Decisions

Decisions, Decisions. We all make them. We are in a constant orbit of making decisions. For example, deciding on a time to wake up, deciding on a time to go to bed. Deciding what to eat, deciding when to eat. Decisions occur all around us and by us every day, all day. Some decisions may seem to happen by unforeseen circumstances such as deciding to go to the hospital due to an injury or changing a flat tire. Yet, some decisions are more deliberate and direct, such as taking a specific course or going to the gym. Since decisions are constantly revolving, then what makes certain decisions positive or negative?

Of course, some decisions are considered more on the negative spectrum, such as crime or rude behavior. These types of behaviors may trigger some type of harsh result. Then some decisions are considered to be more on the positive spectrum, such as eating healthier and being helpful. These types of behavior may trigger more of a pleasant result. But, have you ever thought about what makes a positive decision so positive? 

According to Merriam-Webster, a decision is “a determination arrived at after consideration” and the term positive is characterized by “an increase or progression.” So, it is determined that a decision becomes positive if the intended result of the decision is characterized by some type of increase or progression.

Then that begs the question, how does one make a positive decision? By attempting to predict the intended positive outcome. For example, if a person wants to graduate from college (intended outcome), then they first must make the decision to go to school. If a person wants to purchase a car (intended outcome), it is a good idea for the person to decide to appropriately budget their money for the purchase. If a person wants to establish a healthier diet (intended outcome), the person may decide to buy healthier food options. Can you identify a pattern with this behavior sequence? If you want a particular positive outcome, that positive outcome is ultimately triggered by a positive behavior (i.e. a positive decision). 

So, what is one way that a positive behavior change or making positive decisions can manifest itself into one’s life? The answer lies within the skill of goal setting.

Yes, some positive decisions may occur spontaneously, such as calling a friend or making a to-do list. Then there are some decisions that require more thought, though, mainly due to the meaning or purpose driving them. These decisions require the skill of goal setting to help them come to life.

There are short term goals which can be achieved around the timeline of 6 months or so, then there are long term goals. For example, a short term goal would be taking a class and a long term goal would be graduating. A short term goal would be paying the first car payment and the long term goal would be paying off the car.

Some important aspects of making goals include being realistic and the achievability of the goal. This introduces making your goals SMART. According to Mindtools.com, SMART is an acronym you can use to guide your goal setting.

SMART:

  • Specific (simple, significant, sensible)
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating)
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable)
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic)
  • Time bound (time based, time limited). 

It is a good idea to make your goals SMART because this will increase your follow-through probability. When you follow-through with your goals, you may feel a sense of accomplishment and/or pride.

Everyone has the capability to make positive decisions. Follow-through with the positive decision depends on you. Yes, sometimes the original plan or goal may need to be altered due to unforeseen circumstances, and that is ok. It’s life. It is ok to adjust your goals when necessary. In fact, assessing for alternative solutions can be part of the decision making process. So, what positive decision would you like to make for yourself? Remember, an intended positive outcome, is triggered by a positive decision. Be positive. Be intentional. Be SMART.


Prudence Hatchett, M.S., M.Ed., NCC, LPC, BC-TMH, ACAS, CCATP, KLSC,
is the owner of PH Counseling, LLC and PH Counseling School online.
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