smile_happy_decisions.jpgMaking decisions that are good for you can help you work your way to attaining personal happiness, but how exactly do you know when the choices you've made are good or not? In an entry on The Happiness Project blog called “7 Tips for Making Happy Decisions about How to Spend Your Time, Energy, and Money,” author Gretchen Rubin cites asking yourself about the opportunity cost of your choices as one of the ways to improve your decision-making.

Rubin is the best-selling writer of a memoir called The Happiness Project, which relates her experiences from a year of exploring theories about gaining happiness. In the article, she says an opportunity cost refers to how “doing one thing means foregoing alternatives.” This means you have to weigh these alternatives against each other and figure out which one you’ll get the most out of to make the right decision.

“Energy, time, and money are limited. Even if a decision would bring happiness, if it means that I have to give up the opportunity to do many other happiness-boosting activities, it may not be worth it,” she is quoted as saying. “I could dedicate many hours to learning about classical music, and in the end, I might enjoy classical music more, but that activity would crowd out too many other things that I want to do more.”  

This applies not just to making major life-changing decisions, but to those situations that call for your focus and attention. For example, you might be planning to throw a street party to get to know your neighbors better, but if you could use the time and money you’ll be devoting to that to taking your kids on a trip instead, would you be happier?

The most important thing, Rubin reiterates, is that, “There’s no right answer or wrong answer—only the right answer for me.” So make sure you weigh the consequences yourself and figure out which decision will bring you more happiness on a personal level.

[Click here to read the full article, along with 6 more tips for happy decision-making.]

Want to read more articles about achieving happiness? Check these out on FN:

(Photo by WhiteHaus Marketing via Flickr Creative Commons)

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