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Pre-Decision Making: A Key Strategy for Personal Growth

Updated: Jun 4

In a world brimming with endless choices and constant streams of information, the concept of pre-decision-making shines brightly as a crucial tool for triumph. Pre-decision making acknowledges the fact that our willpower diminishes throughout the day, often leading to choices that hinder our progress towards our aspirations. By making decisions when our minds are fresh, we can set intentions and create a foundation for our future actions. Embracing the power of pre-decision making allows us to streamline our decision-making process and propel ourselves towards our goals.

1. If/Then Statements: An Antidote to Willpower Depletion

Think of our brains when we wake as fully charged batteries, ready to tackle the day ahead. As the day unfolds, our mental energy depletes, making it harder to make decisions that align with our objectives. This depletion is what some call decision fatigue. One effective pre-decision-making technique involves crafting if-then statements. For instance, if you’re striving to shed some weight but often crave a chocolate bar in the afternoon, that craving may actually signal a need for a mental break or energy boost. A short stroll in nature or swapping the chocolate for an apple can recharge your decision-making abilities. So, when you are refreshed in the morning, tell yourself, “If I feel the urge for a chocolate bar this afternoon, then I will take a brief walk outside.” Our minds retain these if/then directives, guiding us towards the choices we desire.

2. Logic of Identity: Aligning Actions with Values

Another form of pre-decision making involves the logic of identity to fuel our perseverance through challenges. Social scientist James March believes that motivating ourselves through identity has more impact than appealing to consequences. Picture a colleague who constantly rubs you the wrong way, leaving you frustrated after each encounter. When you are well-rested, envision how you want to respond next time using the logic of identity.

Here’s how it unfolds: Complete the statement, “I’m the kind of person who _______,” with an action-based response. Then ponder: What would someone like this do in a similar situation?

For instance, to handle annoying interactions positively, you might proclaim, “I’m the kind of person who when faced with irritation, stays composed and rational.” What actions would this type of  person take when faced with annoying behavior? Options include deep breathing, asking questions, addressing the behavior using “I” statements like, “I feel attacked when you speak to me this way,” or politely excusing oneself.

By making decisions in advance, we can act promptly and decisively when challenges arise, leading to increased productivity and effectiveness by avoiding excessive deliberation. Pre-decision making serves as a roadmap for action, enabling us to concentrate on execution rather than contemplation.

In the end, through pre-decision making with if/then statements and the logic of identity, we seize control of our lives. By consciously choosing options in alignment with our values, we feel empowered and confident in crafting the outcomes we envision. This sense of command nurtures a positive mindset and a proactive stance towards life. You hold the key to shaping your path forward, one decision at a time.

Stay resilient, stay hopeful, and keep moving forward.


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