Cucumbers or Zucchini? Decision-Making Part 1

If you’ve gone through or are in the middle of a divorce, you begin to question every single decision you’ve ever made as an adult. How did this happen? What could I have foreseen that could have prevented this? Should I invest my money in this or that? Should I get a cat or a dog?

Should I buy the cucumbers or the zucchini? And then there you are, standing in the produce aisle for 20 minutes trying to decide. Been there? Yeah, me, too.

Decisions in Divorce

While standing in the produce aisle for 20 minutes choosing between cucumbers and zucchini doesn’t seem like a big deal, it absolutely is a reflection of the overwhelming self-doubt that has now taken over our lives.

As a result, it’s really easy for us to find ourselves in a place of being emotionally paralyzed even in the little decisions, much less the bigger financial decisions that will potentially change the direction of our lives.

After all, if choosing ‘the right one’ to spend our lives with turned out to not be the right one after all, my goodness, how do know whether or not we should choose the cucumbers or zucchini?

So, how do we navigate through the enormous self-doubt and second-guessing in order to move forward in confidence to make solid small decisions and the bigger, smart financial decisions? We’re going to explore this in our 2 part series.

If we stop and look back on some of the biggest moments in our life that went wrong, we find that, at first look, it appears our biggest regrets come from faulty decision-making. However, those decisions seemed like the right ones at the time.

Perhaps we went with our gut instinct or we let ourselves be swayed by others. There are many reasons why we make the decisions we do. None of us have a crystal ball to see into the future and almost everyone will have made the wrong decision at some time in their life.

First Things First - Create Your Space Just for You

First, before doing anything, it’s essential to create the setting. Think of this as a treat to yourself. You are in charge of charting your course for your current and future self. Go you!

Imagine yourself with a beautiful bouquet of freshly-picked flowers on the table, your favorite beverage (maybe a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea or perhaps a glass of your favorite wine) and your favorite lit candle. I personally love the smell of either vanilla, white linen or fresh cotton. For me, they create a feeling of freshness and relaxation.

Once you've surrounded yourself with all things serene to you, it's time to start the process.

Here are Six Ideas to Help You Move Forward

Remember when making a decision, no decision is right or wrong, decisions are merely making a choice among alternatives. 

I think out of all the points we’re going to discuss, this is the most important in helping move the scale further away from overwhelming self-doubt. Again, none of us have a crystal ball. Forgive yourself for past decisions.

Always avoid making a snap decision about something. If a decision is easily reversible then you can move fast on it while irreversible ones should be thought out.

At a professional development event I attended years ago, one of our sessions was about financial decisions regarding shopping and needs vs. wants. The biggest thing that stuck with me was this, “Wait 7 days before buying. If at the end of the 7th day, you still feel compelled to buy the item, then it’s meant to be. If you’ve forgotten about it, then it wasn’t. Bigger decisions take longer and that's OK.

Take notes when making a decision, write down all solutions, include all relevant information, all the pros and cons. Seeing it on paper can help give you the clarity you need to see any problems the decision might have.

I don’t know about you, but I could binge-watch Gilmore Girls over and over. (Confession, I have several times already.) If you have, too, then you’ll know how Rory was meticulous about writing down all the solutions, pros and cons before making a major decision. OK, maybe she went a little overboard sometimes in her lists, but the point is, it created an environment for her where she could brain-dump and move forward from there.

Make one decision at a time, never allow decisions to build up and force yourself to make them all at once.

This is crucial. When navigating a big transition, such as divorce, just take one decision at a time. It’s natural to want to get all the big decisions done and out of the way quickly, thinking that will simply fix everything right away, but it won’t. This is all a process. So, just take your time, one decision at a time. Your future self will thank you.

If others will be affected by your decision then get their input on the situation.

One example that comes to mind is if you have teenagers in high school and are considering whether to sell the family home or keep it until they graduate. Bringing the kids into the conversation, especially in a divorce situation, isn’t necessarily going to be easy, yet it will help them feel like they have a voice.

Make a decision and stick with it. You have to recognize that you cannot know with 100% certainty that it is the right one but once made stick with it.

Again, that crystal ball thing. None of us have one, although it sure would be nice if we did. If you’ve done your due diligence and made your decision, it’s all you can do. You’ve done your absolute best in making your decision based on the circumstances at the time.

Well, we’re going to wrap it up here for today and in Part II of our series, I'll be addressing several more ideas to help you move through the self-doubt to a more confident you when it comes to decision-making while navigating divorce.

Until next time.

Patty Gale, Personal Finance Strategist

P.S. You got this!

Patty Gale is a Personal Finance Strategist, Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI)  and Financial Recovery Counselor. She is the Founder and CEO of Fear.less Girl Financial, a personal finance boutique for women navigating midlife transitions such as divorce, widowhood or unexpected career transition.


P.P.S. Join Me for Saturday Morning Coffee



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