It’s been about five years since I announced to my kids that I wanted to move to a house on a lake. I’ve not moved. I’ve looked at every house on the lakes I’m interested in (and can afford!) but nothing has felt like – “that’s it!” So, I’m still looking. Why is this decision so difficult?

As economist Milton Friedman wrote: “The best measure of quality thinking is your ability to accurately predict the consequences of your ideas and subsequent actions.”

It’s the gray area problems that are the hardest to resolve—the ones where despite all the research you’ve done and experts you’ve spoken to, the answer is still unclear. Problems where it’s up to you, your experiences, and your gut feeling to decide what is the best course of action.

I have five steps I try to take when I’m trying to make a decision:

  1. Commit to long term thought. I think just saying you are thinking in in longer periods will help settle your brain and shift from reaction to strategy mode for your decision. Reactive decisions are not good decisions;
  2. Take a deep breathe. Daoist philosopher Laozi once said “Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear.” Love this saying!;
  3. Watch for decision fatigue. This is why I wear the same clothes every day, so I have less decisions to make in the morning!;
  4. Never forget your gut. This is always the last check for any decision; and
  5. Have zero regrets!

I used to think that the difficulty of a decision was linked to the size of the decision. But that is fake news because think about the last time you spent half an hour trying to figure out what to watch on Netflix!

I’m not sure why I’ve not made a decision on a new house, could be my fear about such a big more or sadness in leaving the kids’ childhood home, or maybe I’ve really not found the right house. Regardless, this future difficult choice will shape the next stage of my life, whether I stay here or I go, so I can take my time and make it with all the information in front of me (which I hope to do lakeside!!