Make a Choice, Then Be Satisfied with It


Some choices are easy, and not wrought with self-doubt, pro’s and con’s lists, and endless waffling back and forth. I’m thinking of the decisions in life like, “Do I marry Ryan Gosling or Leonardo DiCaprio?” (a win-win obviously), or “Do I avoid the middle airplane seat?” (you know that’s a guaranteed lose).  Some situations are easy because both options are wonderful, or there is a clear cut definition where one is much much worse. It’s those decisions where both are OK, or there are too many variations on the outcome that leave most of us spinning. Think about how difficult it can be to pick out an outfit when you are confronted with a hundred tops, lots of bottoms, and nearly infinite combinations of the two. But new research published in the Journal of Consumer Research (and blogged about by Women’s Health The Scoop) found that even when making the decision may be hard, there are simple tricks people can use to feel satisfied with the choice they have made.

The short answer is to give the decision a physical act of closure. If you’re between two items on the menu, shut if after you have picked. If you selected a dress from your clset, close the door. If you’ve decided you don’t need to eat any more chips, zip up the bag and put it in the cabinet. After struggling with an email, and sending it-close your laptop. Scientists think that this triggers your mind to believe that the item is final, checked off of your to-do list, and now it’s time to move on. Then it shifts its focus to the item you picked, rather than all of the other options you’ve recently given up by making that choice. (Which sounds a lot like how your mind creates synthetic happiness to me!)

How do you stick with your decisions, after they’re made?