Articles Thinking

How to make big life decisions? Write a personal statement

Learning how to make big life decisions is a skill that can have a great impact on your life.

Decisions are either small or big. Small decisions are your daily decisions, such as, what food do you eat today, what clothes you wear to work, and which movie to stream.

Big life decisions have a greater impact on your life and are usually much harder to reverse. They do have consequences, however, this does not mean you cannot go backward and make another choice.

What is a big life decision?

Big life decisions fall under two main domains, life, and work. They usually have a big impact on our lives. That’s why they are called big life decisions.

big life decisions are either life or work decisions
Big life decisions – Life – Work

Big life decisions:

  • Figuring out life
  • Starting a new relationship
  • Ending a relationship
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Having children
  • Moving to a new city
  • Buying a new house

Big work decisions:

  • Pursuing your dreams
  • Choosing your career
  • Choosing college
  • Walking away from college
  • Applying for a job
  • Quitting a job
  • Switching career
  • Turning down a promotion

Defining who you are

Having a good decision-making process will make sure that you have a great big decision.

To make a big life decision, first you need to answer the following questions.

  • Want do you want to do in your life?
  • Where do you want to go?

Identifying what matters to you sounds like an easy task, but most people don’t think very much about it. You probably do not think that much about your daily life split-second choices (often done subconsciously).

Which is why, it is very important to foster what is important to you subconsciously by thinking deliberately about what is important to consciously.

Defining who you are is the foundation of decision making

To define who you are, you must first know your needs and values.

Defining your needs

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, was known for creating Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. This theory was based on his explorations of human interests, through which he formed a pyramid of needs that humans crave to satisfy.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Defining your values

  • What do you hold as important to yourself?
  • What do you live for?

Your core values are your top values you live for.

Personal statement

Big life decisions are based on your personal statement. Small life decisions are based on your objectives and goals. Let us see what is a personal statement is?

A personal statement is formed of your:

  • Vision
  • Mission
  • Core Values
  • Objectives & Goals

Defining your passions

Before writing your vision and mission you should also define your passions and interests. There are several exercises done to know your passion, they are called passion exercises.

This is a simple exercise about time and passions. You will ask yourself 3 questions – one for the past, one for the present and one for the future.

  • What did you enjoy most in the past and totally lost time when doing it?
  • If your boss gave you a paid 1 year vacation, what will you do?
  • If you won a 1 million $ lottery in the future what would you do?
Passion exercise
Passion exercise


A personal vision statement describes what you want to achieve in the future. It answers the question “Where?”

This question acts like a north star for yourself as guidance when you are lost in real life.

It’s the mental picture of what you want to achieve over time, five, ten or more years.


A mission statement describes what you want now and how you will achieve it, who is involved, what makes you different, and what the benefit is.

Goals and Objectives

The process of decision-making requires knowledge of where you are going in a more detailed description than a vision and mission. This where objectives and goals come.

Objectives are small steps to achieve a goal

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Rewarding
  • Timed
Examples of goals:
Having a healthy lifestyle
Be an authoritative scientist in my field of expertise
Be a professional soccer player
Examples of objectives:
Exercising regularly
Publishing research papers in high impact journals
Join a soccer team
Goals vs Objectives


To make a big life decision, first, you need to understand yourself. In order to that, you need to write your personal statement.

Want to learn more? Enroll for FREE in my short email course, or you may join The Decisions Academy.

How to write a personal statement FREE email course

A. I. Shoukry is the founder of The Decisions Academy and a bestselling author.

Let’s connect on Twitter


Want to read more?

Subscribe to the Life & Work Newsletter and every Friday read one idea on how to make better decisions in life and work.

Prefer to listen?

Subscribe to the Life & Work Podcast and every Friday listen to one idea on how to make better decisions in life and work.

3 replies on “How to make big life decisions? Write a personal statement”