You know those pro and con lists people use to make decisions? They are called Ben Franklin Decision Tree lists: on one side, you list a column of the pros on the other side, a column of the cons of an important decision you are trying to make. Some people look at these lists and if there are more pros than cons, they act. We think making important decisions is more complicated than that. Many people skip the step of ranking the importance of each item on the list. Some pros are more important to you than others and the same goes for your list of cons.
A better way to measure your lists is to rate each item on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 being not important at all and 5 being very important. Add the score of your pros and your cons. If the score of the pros is higher than the cons, you are probably on the right road to making a change. If not, you need to work on making the pros more important to you before you will be ready to make a change that lasts.
Decision trees are one method that can be helpful when assessing important decisions, like making lifestyle changes to improve your health. Even some seemingly simple decisions can have complexities. For example, if you are considering a change to your diet to improve your health, one of the pros might be that you will lose weight and another might be that you will improve your cholesterol levels. It might seem like a no brainer. But the real decision may come into how you will make those changes and what diet plan you will use. You may need to weigh pros and cons of plans by factoring in nutrition considerations, energy requirements of your daily life, your budget, and your lifestyle.
Trying using Ben Franklin decision tree lists to help make decisions about health changes. If you’re a Member of TotalCare Wellness program, call your Wellness Coach for help in your decision making!