If I am totally honest, I can’t take credit for this idea. I remember scrolling through YouTube videos a few years ago and seeing a short clip of a Demi Lovato interview. I don’t remember exactly what the interviewer asked the singer, but I do remember that one of the techniques she shared was a fast-forwarding sort of technique that helps her make better decisions. Here’s how I have since adopted this technique to help myself make better decisions.

[clickToTweet tweet=”How To Fast Forward To Make Better Decisions” quote=”How To Fast Forward To Make Better Decisions”]


Visualize What Will Happen If You Go Through With Your Decision

Simply put, the fast-forwarding technique requires that you pause and assess how you will feel if you do something that someone is asking you do. You can assess your choice by visualizing the most likely scenario in your head.

Let’s take my morning workout for example. On days when it’s cold in my apartment, I usually can’t be bothered to wake up, particularly if it’s a day off. The last thing I want to do is exercise, even if it’s a short workout.

Before I let myself go back to bed, I fast-forward. Yes, it’s cold in my apartment, but I know for a fact that fitting in a workout in the morning sets me up well in terms of mindset.

Knowing that I’ll feel better about my decision usually gets me out of bed. If I’m having a really bad day or if I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, I promise myself that I’ll only do 10 minutes of exercise. Usually I’ll end up doing more than 10 minutes after I reach that initial 10 minute mark. Giving yourself little goals to reach can help you ultimately get to your big goal in the end.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Giving yourself little goals to reach can help you ultimately get to your big goal in the end.” quote=”Giving yourself little goals to reach can help you ultimately get to your big goal in the end.”]

Assess how you will feel if you do something someone is asking you to by visualizing the most likely scenario in your head.

For instance, my boss called me on my day off last month, asking if I could substitute for a fellow foreign teacher who was sick. I fast forwarded and played the scenario through in my head. If I taught an extra day, I would earn more money, and my co-worker would get some much-needed rest. The commute wasn’t very far, either. So I showed up and taught for a few hours, which ultimately was a good decision for me. Visualizing how you will feel after you do something can really help.


Assess Your Past Behavior In Similar Situations

Knowing how you have behaved in the past when you are faced with a similar situation can help you determine how you will most likely behave when you try to fast forward.

For example, when I first made the transition to a plant-based diet, I had to take notes to see which foods aggravated my digestive system. I found, for instance, that my body responded far better to hot water with lemon than it did to orange juice in the mornings. Every time I saw the orange juice in the refrigerator, I would fast forward. I knew that my stomach would react badly, so I would abandon the juice in favor of something that I knew my system would respond well to.

Understanding how you have reacted to similar situations in the past can give you a pretty good idea of how you will do and guide you to make better decisions.


Ask Yourself Questions (And Listen To The Answers)

In making these decisions for yourself, you have to ask yourself questions in order to ensure that you’re not taking on too much. It’s also important that you listen to those answers.

  • Will you be putting too much on your plate by taking on this one thing?
  • Would you rather be doing something else?
  • How will this thing you’re thinking of doing benefit you?
  • How will the thing you’re thinking of doing benefit someone else?

Everyone’s answers to those questions are different, and using those answers to guide your actions will help you make clear decisions. You know more about yourself than anyone else. Listen to your instincts and respect your intuition.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Listen to your instincts and respect your intuition.” quote=”Listen to your instincts and respect your intuition.”]

If there is one thing I’ve learned from my time here in Taiwan, it’s to listen to my instincts. I’ve never liked to listen to my instincts in the past. Listening to logic seemed to be the safer bet.

Let’s take work for example. We all know that being unemployed is a major drain on someone’s physical, mental, and financial resources. Your instincts might be screaming at you to take your time and look for a job. However, the logical side of you knows that you can’t afford to be unemployed for a long period of time. Especially because employers will look at gaps on a potential employee’s resume. You could take a job not because you like it, but because it provides you with a steady income.

I’m not saying that I have completely abandoned my logical side, and I just go where my instincts take me. But I am starting to become much more aware of my instincts and personal boundaries. Most importantly, I am starting to learn to listen to my instincts and follow them.

I have learned that sometimes following your logical side through can be far more painful than following your instincts. Even if at times, your instincts don’t make sense.

Listening to your instincts can help you fast forward and make better decisions in the long run. I’ve found that I rarely regret a decision made by instinct. Rather, I tend to regret the decisions I have made while listening to logic. Fast forwarding has allowed me to begin to make better decisions in the long run.