According to Psychology Today, people make a whopping 35,000 decisions a day. From figuring out what to eat for breakfast or what to wear on a date, to making life-altering changes like getting engaged or taking a new job in a new state, we are constantly considering our options and then acting accordingly.
Some decisions don’t come easily, though, and require a lot of thought before making a choice. Many people make resolutions in the New Year – and committing to something and then seeing it through can be tough. National Make Up Your Mind Day fittingly falls on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31). To honor the special day and help anyone who is struggling to make a choice, we’ve compiled a list of our picks for the best songs to listen to, to help you make a decision.
Legendary country singer Kenny Rogers puts all of his cards on the table – and encourages his listeners to do the same in “The Gambler.” Are you stuck in a dead-end job or unfulfilling relationship? Are you caught in the middle of a conflict and don’t know which way to turn? Rogers offers sage advice in the catchy chorus of his Billboard Hot Country Songs chart-topping hit:
“You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em/Know when to walk away, and know when to run/You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table/There'll be time enough for countin'/When the dealin's done.”
The ultimate message here is “trust your instincts!”
This beautiful song by Five For Fighting plays like a movie reel unwinding across all of the phases of our lives, should we be blessed to live for 100 years. The strong message the track delivers is simple: Life is fleeting – we blink, and another decade is gone. A decision-making nugget to take away is don’t spend too much time frozen in place. Follow your heart and take that leap, shake up the status quo. We only have one life to live, so cherish the moments and seize those opportunities when they arise so that hopefully, you look back with no regrets.
Lee Ann Womack’s uplifting anthem applies to so many different situations. Making any kind of big change or choice is hard. Many of us hold back from making a decision because we fear things might not work out the way we want them too. However, if we don’t take risks, we’re robbing ourselves of a potentially positive outcome. She reminds us that whenever one door closes, another one can open. She urges, “Don’t settle for the path of least resistance” and adds “If you have the choice to sit it out or dance – I hope you dance.” Be bold. Take a chance. Just do it!
Bon Jovi’s Grammy-nominated track reminds us that nobody can live our life for us. Ultimately, we are the master storytellers and get to decide the shape our life will take. Take comfort in the chorus and push out the negative voices by remembering: “It's my life/It's now or never/I ain't gonna live forever/I just want to live while I'm alive/(It's my life)/My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said/I did it my way …”
Sometimes you have to stand your ground, and as Bon Jovi charges, “You’ve got to make your own breaks.” Friends and family members can always weigh in and lend advice in any situation. But remember, in the end it’s your life. Any decision is ultimately yours to make.
This classic gem from The Lovin’ Spoonful hails from 1965. The track addresses the universal dilemma of leaving a relationship with one person to pursue a relationship with someone else. Many of us have been there. As the band states, “And then you know you'd better make up your mind/And pick up on one and leave the other behind/It's not often easy and not often kind.” Break ups are tough. However, dragging it out often makes it harder in the long run. It’s never easy to let someone or something go but deciding to walk away is sometimes the best thing you can do.
The Isley Brothers released this funk single in 1969. It’s another classic track that reminds us “It’s your thing/Do what you wanna do.” In other words, don’t make choices to make other people happy. When grappling with a decision, do what you want to do. Living the life you think others expect you to live can lead to a life filled with missed opportunities for happiness and lots of regrets.
Sometimes we agonize over a decision because we can’t imagine any sort of good, positive outcome. Nonetheless, we eventually have to rip off the band-aid in order to move forward. Remembering Kelly Clarkson’s feisty declaration “What doesn't kill you makes you stronger/Stand a little taller/Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone/What doesn't kill you makes a fighter/Footsteps even lighter.”
So, chin up, stand on your own two feet and forge onward, knowing that even the hardest choices can make you stronger in the long run.
Changes can be downright painful and we all have a right to reel now and then when unexpected events turn our lives upside down. Instead of buckling under the weight and pressure of a big decision, remember that eventually, things will calm down and be okay. Some of the best advice is the simplest encouragement like in Wilson Phillip's lines just “hold on for one more day/things’ll go your way/hold on for one more day.” Ultimately, taking one day at a time and one step at a time after making a big decision can lead to a brighter future.
Like it or not, sometimes others force us into making a change and we have to ask the blunt question that The Clash asks in their 1982 chart-topper “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” The infectious beat of this song makes it a great one to crank up if you’re in the car, trying to decide whether to stay in a situation or move on and leave the past behind.
Reggae legend Bobby McFerrin penned an uplifting song that transcends generations with his 1988 hit “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” This fun song reminds us that no matter the outcome of any decision, we should all try to take things in stride. Come what may, if we all try to heed this musical call to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” any decision we make will be less stressful and we will feel a little lighter in our hearts.
Green Day’s nostalgic anthem ties closely to the No. 2 pick on our list with “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Whatever life throws our way, every “turning point” and “fork stuck in the road” will prompt us to make a decision. The point is whatever path we choose, we should embrace each opportunity and lesson that we learn based on the decision we make. Overall, we need to “take the photographs and still frames” in our minds and hope that in the end, we had the time of our lives.