Our minds are designed to solve problems. So next time you’re tempted to throw a tantrum or pity party about the state of your thighs, credit card, career, laundry pile or relationship, ask yourself a question instead. Questions get you thinking up solutions, and can transform your emotional state from powerless to empowered. What have you got to lose?

1. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I can’t do this! It’s too big and overwhelming for me to handle.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘What small step can I take today?’

2. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I can’t afford that!’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘How can I afford that?’

3. Don’t tell yourself: ‘It’s too late to follow my dream.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘How do I get started?’

4. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I have to go along with this.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘How does my body feel about this decision?’

5. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I’m bored and frustrated.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘What would thrill and delight me?’

6. Don’t tell yourself: ‘This isn’t what I wanted!’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘How does this situation serve me?’

7. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I feel bad about this.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘Why am I feeling bad? What would make me feel better right now?’

8. Don’t tell yourself: ‘I’m scared.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘What am I afraid of? What’s the worst thing that could happen?’

9. Don’t tell yourself: ‘This is a huge problem.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘How important is this really?’

10. Don’t tell yourself: ‘They think it’s a bad idea.’
ASK YOURSELF: ‘What do I want to do?’



Did you know that a fast decision-maker isn’t necessarily a good decision-maker? The way you approach decisions is mainly a personality style. Some people like incubating an idea; it’s no indication of the quality of their decision-making, and though it may appear to be procrastination, it isn’t. Some people prefer not to commit themselves to a decision before they’ve conferred with others, and then there are detail-orientated types who feel uncomfortable making decisions based on scanty information.

What’s your style of thinking? Do you prefer to mull over the options before arriving at a conclusion, or do you trust your instinct and head immediately in that direction? Ask friends and colleagues for feedback, or take a psychometric test to find out. Then, if you know you’re an incubator, you can confidently say, ‘I need to play around with this idea. Can I come back to you tomorrow morning?’


Know yourself

Write a list of what’s important to you. Are you honest about who you are and what you believe in? Define your goals – to reach management level within two years? To buy an apartment? Once you have a strong sense of yourself and your beliefs, it’s easier to choose a direction you feel good about and to sidestep options you know aren’t right for you when presented with a choice.

Go easy on yourself. Some decisions will require time to make, while others are simpler and need to be made more quickly. Recognise that it is a process. It’s okay to feel a bit stuck, but if you feel frozen and unable to choose a path of action, it’s a problem. Ultimately, you have to be able to take a committed stand.