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Try the "10/10/10" Exercise for Better Decision Making

I’m a big believer in the power of asking the right questions at the right time, and I’m always on the lookout for thought-provoking or idea-generating questions I can use - for myself or my clients – to create breakthroughs or open up new ways of thinking.

Some of my favorites include:

“What would this look like if it were easy?” (When things feel hard or overwhelming.)

“Which set of problems do I want to deal with?” (When choosing between 2 or more


“What would I say to my best friend?” (When overthinking or being hard on myself.)

“How’s that working for you?” (For evaluating the usefulness of any behavior, habit,

action, or thought.)

Another line of questioning that can be useful when you’re faced with a difficult decision (or are struggling to figure out what to consider regarding said decision) is called the 10/10/10 exercise.

(There's no actual money involved, sorry!)

This works well for a “big” decision (should you quit your job, end a relationship, buy that house) or a smaller, in the moment decision (how to respond to an email, whether or not to say yes to that project etc.).

When you’re considering a certain decision or action, ask yourself these three questions:

If I make this decision/do this thing...

How will I feel in 10 minutes?

How will I feel in 10 days?

How will I feel in 10 years?

These three questions allow you to consider both the immediate and long-term consequences of your choice, plus that middle ground where you might be regretting or second-guessing your decision.

If I’m thinking about skipping my workout today because I want to watch Netflix instead, how will I feel in 10 minutes?

I might feel relieved and like this was the right choice – I needed a break. Or I might feel a little worse than before, knowing that going to the gym would’ve actually made me feel better.

In 10 days or 10 years? I likely won’t even be thinking or remembering this decision at all!

That’s the other thing about this exercise – it can help put into perspective how much worrying this decision is worth. Sometimes it’s nice to realize you can just decide and move on and it’s not going to matter tomorrow.

On the other hand, deciding to quit your job might make you feel anxious in the short term – 10 minutes or 10 days from now - but from the vantage point of ten years down the road, it may be quite clear that this is really the right decision to make.

The 10/10/10 exercise also works well because it focuses on how you will feel, and not just quantitative data or rational thinking.

Tapping into your feelings (rather than just your thoughts or preconceived notions) helps you determine what direction to move in: by imagining your future self in 10 minutes, days, or years, you hone in on your core values and priorities, and use your gut instincts to evaluate what will best serve you in the present and for the long term.

Next time you have a decision to make or are unsure of which direction you want to go when presented with several options, try the 10/10/10 exercise to help gain clarity about what feels right for you now and from the perspective of the future.

Even just a quick run through of these three questions can provide surprising insights to guide your decision making, and give you a deeper understanding of what you really want and need!

Do you have a particular question you like to ask yourself when you’re feeling stuck? Leave a comment and let me know!

And even with all the best questions at your disposal, it can still be challenging to process through everything, come up with a plan, and actually take action. If you’re feeling stuck in any area of your health and well-being, I’m here to help!

Through my online coaching program, I’ll help you clarify your goals, simplify the process, and create manageable action steps to help you get from where you are to where you want to be.

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