Everybody has made a bad decision in their life. Some people have made more than others. I’ve even heard it said, “the best way to learn is from your mistakes.” That might be true, but you must deal with your bad decisions effectively before you can move forward. There’s a process to making the most of your poor choices.

If you can benefit from your good decisions and your poor decisions, life is easy! Unfortunately, our natural instincts make it challenging to benefit from poor choices. We become upset, distract ourselves, withdraw, feel embarrassed, or give up altogether. We even try and justify our bad decisions or pass over them as to not dwell on them and get depressed.

I believe that if you ignore the unwise decision, you are losing out on a teachable moment. I suggest you confront the decision head on and see if you can improve yourself through these strategies:

1. Learn the lesson.

Every bad decision has a lesson to teach. It can be painful to examine your poor choices. Do you know what’s even more painful? Making the same mistake again. Take a little time to figure out what you can learn from your unwise decision.

2. Move on.

There’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on your mistakes. A poor decision that you’ve never made before isn’t a bad thing. It’s just life. (Be sure and do #1 before moving on)

3. Take responsibility.

You were part of the problem. There’s no getting around it. Taking responsibility allows you to retain control of the situation. You made the mess so that you can fix it.

4. Talk it out.

If you can’t let go of your mistake, spend some time talking with a trusted friend. An outsider often has a more reasonable perspective. Pick up the phone and give someone a call. Be sure and be upfront with your friend, share in detail and see how the conversation goes.

5. Stay present. It’s easy to let your mind run wild after making a poor choice.

There’s nothing to see there. It’s hard to stay in the present moment when things are going wrong all around you. Allowing your mind to wander is just a form of distraction. Pay attention to what is happening right now. We have a way of blowing things out of proportion. We turn a hangnail into a possible amputation if we let our minds run wild.

6. Take preventative measures in the future.

How can you prevent a similar occurrence in the future? Did you put yourself into a situation where no good option existed? Or did you merely make the wrong call?

7. Remember what you still have.

You may have lost your something huge like your business or your business partner, but that doesn’t have to be the end of the world. Take a moment to remind yourself of the wonderful things you still have. (i.e., health, home, friends)

8. Forgive yourself. Everyone makes more than a few mistakes.

Accept the consequences of your choice and move forward. It’s impossible always to make perfect decisions. It starts with forgiving yourself. Allow yourself to be… human 😊

9. Remember that your next good choice will feel that much better.

A vacation only feels good because you contrast it with work. Spend six months in a Florida condo and see how excited you still are. Your bad decisions make your good decisions that much more enjoyable.

10. You are not your decisions.

You are separate from the choices you make. Bad decisions don’t make you bad any more than good decisions make you good. Your decisions don’t define you.

Everyone makes bad decisions. The key is to make the most of them. Spend a few minutes each week reviewing your bad choices and learn from them. Most importantly, avoid repeating them. Move on from your bad decisions and benefit f

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