A pernicious peril in decision making is not realizing you’re making a decision. At least this is the case with important decisions.
Every day you make countless decisions automatically. That’s normal. Life would be impossible if you had to carefully analyze each and every decision. For example, what to eat for breakfast, when to take a bathroom break, how fast you should drive over the speed limit (or under), etc.
But, you might also be automatically making important decisions without giving yourself the time to think through what’s important (criteria) let alone possible alternatives. For example, recently I sold my car after moving to New York City. I have no use for it. But, I let that car sit for over a year in Nebraska–with family–simply because it felt like selling the car outright would be a hassle. So, I acted on the first thing that came to mind, and let the car sit.
This last trip back to Nebraska, I took some time to consider what was important to me with regards to keeping the car, since I no longer needed it where I live. I considered when I might want a car again, when that might be, what it was worth having kept the car for a year now, what hassles arose that didn’t easily come to mind when I made the initial decision to leave the car behind. After all of this I realized that it wasn’t worth the hassle, and that letting a car sit was a much bigger hassle than I imagined. So, I explored a few options for selling it and within a few hours of pursuing one of those options, the car was sold.
If I had realized I was making an important decision to being with, over a year ago. I might have saved myself the hassles of the last year. Maybe not.
Long story short, it helps to try to become aware of big decisions in life and explicitly take the time to walk through a process to understand what matters and what options are available. Otherwise, you might be left acting upon the first thing that comes to mind, that might not be the best thing for you.