Psychological Self-Help

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Secondly, we may not consider the long-range consequences or
values we want to achieve. More often, we overlook possible solutions
because our thinking is inflexible or defeatist. People often feel
inadequate and this interferes with good decision-making. For
example, we are afraid to "date around" even as a teenager because
we don't want to lose the current boy/girlfriend or we avoid dating
certain people "because he/she wouldn't go out with me." We don't
even consider certain careers "because it costs too much money to go
to medical school" or "because I couldn't handle the math" or "because
I get all upset by other peoples' problems." These are all self-
putdowns. We must master the fears that interfere with good decision-
making. We can do that (Marone, 1992). 
What is more mortifying than to feel that you have missed the plum for want of courage to
shake the tree?
-L. P. Smith
Thirdly, we do not take the time to fantasize about the best and
the worst possible outcomes for each alternative in order to consider
the advantages and disadvantages. We do not gather all the
information (How will you and others be affected by each alternative?
How will you and others feel about you?) and expert opinion needed
for a wise decision, because we don't know how or don't want to
bother. Often, it is wishful thinking that the solution will be quick or
our intuition will give us an easy answer. Fourthly, we do not know
how or take the time to gather the information needed to carefully
weigh all the alternatives. Deciding is a complex process.
Fifthly, many of us do not develop a careful plan for accomplishing
our goals; thus, undermining our efforts to change. It is common for
people--even smart college students--to believe that deciding where to
go is all they have to do to get there, e.g. they set a final goal but
develop no specific action plan. They say, "I want to get all A's next
semester" but give little thought to getting there. The wish or hope is
there but the commitment to a realistic day by day plan is not.
Perhaps we don't think detailed plans are necessary to achieve our
difficult, long-range goals. Not only are there no plans of attack, there
are no contingency plans in case things go wrong either. For example,
the premed student, who gets such poor grades for four years that
he/she can't get into Medical School, responds with "Oh, my God, what
am I going to do now?" There must be some reason why we have such
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