10 Steps To Making Decisions You’ll Never Regret

Balancing head and heart is key to making the “right” decision. Here’s how it’s done.

Michele DeMarco, PhD
5 min readJun 24, 2021


Woman standing in a cornfield deciding which way to go.
Photo: Burst / Unsplash

When I think back to some of the most pivotal moments in my life, I realize how profoundly different the outcomes were when I paused to really consider the decision in front of me. Hard won wisdom has taught me that a gut instinct — which is a good thing, and ought to be factored into any decision-making process — is decisively not the same thing as wish-fulfillment, which, if rashly followed, easily sends us running off a cliff.

So often, we go through life oblivious to the feelings, thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are driving our actions. For big decisions, this oversight can have serious effects, but it’s also the case for seemingly small ones. In the course of the day, we make hundreds of decisions — from when to get out of bed and what to eat, to how to organize our time or engage with others, to what behavior is and right and wrong. The truth is that all of these decisions, whether small or significant, shape our reality, identity, and story.

Making the best, most meaningful, and ethical decisions — because yes, following your system of “right and wrong” matters — requires a mindful approach, one that helps you to distinguish between competing options and to balance reason and prudence with emotion, gut, and desire.

Consider the following steps to help you make better, more mindful decisions — ones that you can feel good about and live with without regret.

1. Make time and clear you mind. You can’t be rash when trying to “do right.” Slow down. Get grounded. Make sure you’re in your “window of tolerance.” Find a productive environment in which to think — and this doesn’t mean the often-heralded “neutral” space; instead, think something that is inspiring or makes you feel comfortable yet alive. Then, take a deep breath and get to work.

2. Identify the challenge before you. Know what you want to achieve. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you are considering. Ask yourself, “Is ‘this’ the best, most accurate way of presenting the issue? What am I missing or overlooking?” Don’t assume the obvious way is the only way. Consider at least two alternatives…



Michele DeMarco, PhD

Award-winning writer, therapist, clinical ethicist, and researcher specializing in moral injury. I talk about the stuff many won’t. micheledemarco.com