Helping you get through tough times

Making big decisions

There are times in all our lives when we have some big decisions to make. I’m talking about those big decisions that may impact our future or lead to major changes in our life.

Having decisions like this to make can cause a lot of stress. Until we figure out what we want to do, it can be hard to think about anything else.

While no one else can make these decisions for you (unfortunately!), there are people and tips that can help.

Arrows, Different paths, decisionsWrite it down

Write down the decision you have to make and the options you have at the moment. Once you have a list of your options, a ‘pros and cons’ list or a visual chart can help to make things clearer.

Explore all options

Sometimes there are options or paths that we haven’t thought of. It can help to explore all options, especially if you’re not keen on any of your current options. This might involve doing some research or getting expert or specialist advice. Depending on your situation, Citizens Information, Government departments or at the moment especially, CAO or a Third Level Institution might be able to provide advice.

Don’t over-think

Spending too long agonising over a decision may not lead you to make the best decision. Give yourself time and space to think but put a limit on the thinking. For example, give yourself 20 minutes in the morning to try and figure things out. If you need more time, tell yourself you can do another 20 minutes that evening, but aim to forget about it in the meantime. Make sure the decision-making process doesn’t take over your life.  Of course, some decisions will have a tight deadline, but over-thinking it, still most likely won’t help.


Explaining the situation to someone you trust and hearing their thoughts can help to clear things up, especially with people who may have been through similar situations. Take on board any advice and suggestions, but try not to be too influenced by what other people think. You can do what you think is best. Unless of course, everyone you talk to thinks a particular option is a terrible idea – then you may need to re-consider!

Mind yourself

Looking after yourself and your mental health is important. Getting enough sleep, eating well and keeping active can keep you thinking clearly and help you to make good decisions.


Remember, there are many paths you can take to get to where you want to be. It’s easier said than done but try not to worry to much about making a wrong decision. Making some mistakes is an inevitable part of life. Mistakes are also part of learning about who we are and where we want to be. Very few decisions are irreversible and sometimes making any decision is better than procrastinating and not moving forward.

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