How to Make a Decision When You Feel Torn

Hey there!

So you’re feeling stuck? I know the struggle… I want to teach you about extrapolating a decision today. This is something I do all. the. time. when I can’t choose between two options and I feel like there are overwhelming downsides to every option (or they are both freakin’ awesome and I don’t know which is better).

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This is a short, simple exercise you can do any time you’re feeling stuck and torn between two choices. My first answer to these situations is always to check in with your intuition, which you can read more about in this post.

If tapping into your intuition isn’t bringing up any answers, though, extrapolating your decision is an awesome way to see what the underlying hesitation is and identify what you really want. This also helps you to see other options that you don’t always notice in the stress of the moment.

What is extrapolating a decision?

Extrapolating a decision is estimating what it would look like if you continued to make the same decision over and over through time.

Essentially, you’re going to imagine what your life would look like in five years if you continued making the same type of decision over and over. You pick one of the options you’re torn between, and let it play out in your mind and then imagine the next time you might be faced with a similar choice, you choose the same option.

Does that make sense?

Let me clarify with an example.

Say you’re torn between going out on a date last minute with someone you’ve been into forEVER, or going out for coffee with a friend you made plans with earlier in the week. You two hang out all the time, but you also know she’s had a kinda rough week…

So what are you going to do?

Well, imagine you choose the date. You let your friend know, you do your best to make it right and ask to move your coffee date to a Saturday brunch with her instead, or a wine night in the following day. She’s disappointed, but she gets it and you get to do both.

Now… Imagine your date goes really well, but you wait quite a while to get in touch after the date. It’s been a week or two, you have plans to work on a project due on Sunday. Your date reaches out to you Thursday to go on a date Friday… and your weekend is going to be packed… Now what will you choose? If you were sticking with the type of decision you made the first time around, you’d have to put your own life aside to make time for this date.

So, that’s the trend you’re starting.

(Hint: this is an awesome tool for setting boundaries and realizing that your boundaries are perfectly reasonable!! Because if you don’t set the boundary that this person can’t just expect you to drop everything, you risk putting your entire life off to the side for this one person. If you wouldn’t be okay with it ever again, why allow it the first time around? If the opportunity can’t wait a couple days for you or give you some notice, then maybe it’s not a quality opportunity you need in your life.)

Then, look at the other side.

Say you choose to stick to your plans with your friend. You respond that you already have plans, but that you’d love to grab coffee or dinner together the next day.

Your date has a choice now. And if they say no and lose interest, you know they weren’t worth sacrificing your time with a good friend over. If they say yes, then you can rest easy knowing you’ve already started to establish healthy boundaries and respected your own time and priorities while still getting what you wanted.

Now you can check in and ask yourself which of those future scenarios you are happier with, and make your decision accordingly.

You can do this with all sorts of situations and it really makes the process so much easier. In the moment, you wouldn’t have even been thinking about boundaries, but when you stepped back to play out your options and choose with your future self in mind, you saw a whole new perspective.

Give it a go, and if you’re feelings stuck, reach out to me! This is exactly the sort of thing I work through with my 1:1 clients.

Talk soon!

Jessica Peña