I’m the kind of person who struggles to decide between green tea or chai tea while in line at the coffee shop. I’m the kind of person who is late to their next appointment because I spent 45 minutes staring at all the face wash options at Target without having any idea how to choose.

I know I can’t be the only one struggling to decide on things. Small things, big things, all the things.

So when it comes to choosing a career or whether or not to follow a call to religious life, I’m totally lost. I end up putting off the decision making, which leads to a “stalled” or “stuck” feeling in life.

I’m starting a new method of decision making, and I invite you to join me!

Here are five questions I’m going to ask myself before making any decision: 

  1. Will it matter in five years?
         If not, then de-stress a bit. (Lookin at you, green tea vs. chai!)
  2. Does it support a healthy environment?
    This might seem like an odd one, but I realized I could remove so many options if I only included choices that were actually good for me! This can mean a lot of different things. For example, when standing in the face wash aisle, I can easily narrow my options to products without harsh chemicals that don’t test on animals. It’s not a huge political statement, but it does let me only choose from things that support a healthier, more beautiful world.
  3. Does it support my core values?
          This is obvious, right? But how often is it overlooked or taken for granted? Of course, step one is knowing what your core values are (check out this article for a starting point). Once you can clearly state your priorities, it allows you to say no to good things to say yes to great things.
    For example, I know a sister who truly valued motherhood and caring for children. Why did she become a sister then? She understood her priorities and values and how they aligned with the choices offered her! She has been a foster parent for most of her religious life, giving many children a loving home. She has mothered many, able to completely dedicate her life to the care of children, supported by a large community of her fellow sisters.
  4. Does it hurt others?
         We can’t always avoid hurting others. It is the unfortunate side-effect of our interdependence as human beings. But if I can bring good things to others instead of pain, that affects my choosing power.
  5. Does it bring me deep joy?
         I’ve met many Catholics who seem to believe that God doesn’t care about their happiness, or I’ve heard women considering a call to religious life as if it were a cross to bear. I firmly believe God wants us to experience deep, holy, lovely joy. He created so many beautiful things and has given us such a range of emotions. It’s difficult for me to imagine him wanting us to forsake the joyful feeling that comes from being loved and enjoying life.
    No, I don’t think everything I do has to bring me deep joy. Washing dishes will always be a necessary struggle, but when choosing big life things, like career or religious vocation, the choice, even if it is scary, should ultimately bring me joy.

Comment below! Did I miss any questions you ask yourself when making choices? Any face wash recommendations? (Kidding!)