Set and Tally

Should you buy a new car? Reconsider your living space? What does the year ahead hold for you? This timeless list process will help you find clarity and get started on your next steps in an organized fashion.

1. Make two lists. On one list, write down all the benefits of making this choice. On the other, compile the many reasons you’d rather not. Write down the worst thing that could happen and your other fears and concerns. It doesn’t matter if both lists are the same length, but try to write out at least 10 reasons on each list.

2. Consider your feelings. Look over both lists. Take note of your initial reaction to each one. Are you drawn to one more than the other? Does either list inspire positive or negative feelings? These feelings may be an indication of the outcome you’re leaning toward.

3. Delete any false statements. Statements influenced by fear that might exaggerate a more negative outcome should be the first to go. Don’t let fear rule your process.

4. Make connections with your core values. Think about the things that matter most to you— family, integrity, lifestyle or something else. Place a check mark next to the items on your lists that correspond to these values.

5. Highlight areas of concern. Sometimes what prevents you from making decisions are certain risks associated with that choice, especially if things don’t work out. Highlight any of the statements on your lists associated with these risks.

6. Tally your results. Count only those items you checked off, and compare their number to any items that were highlighted. Hopefully, the number of results on one list are longer than the other, suggesting a clear indication of the choice you should make. In the event of a tie, give more weight to the list that feels most authentic to your values.

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