Need Help Making a Decision? Try 10/10/10

What decision do you need to make?

We’re constantly deciding something.

With my daughter getting married in a few weeks, we’ve been faced with many decisions. Who to invite, what gifts to buy, what to wear (I still don’t know that one!).

Whether your decision today is large or small, here’s a process that can help. (I originally posted about it here. It helped me decide “yes” to Guatemala.)

I found it in Chip and Dan Heath’s book Decisive, which was one of my 10 favorite books in 2014. The Heaths adapted the concept from Suzy Welch’s book, 10-10-10.

Decision making-10-10-10


It’s about perspective. By prayerfully asking yourself these three questions, you both narrow and broaden the time frame that your decision sits in.

• 10 Minutes

First, ask yourself:

How will I feel about this 10 minutes from now?

• 10 Months

Second, ask:

What about 10 months from now?

• 10 Years

And third:

How will I feel 10 years from now?

When I think about buying my mother-of-the-bride attire, the next 10 minutes aren’t critical. However, I can use the next ten minutes to set a plan and a deadline for getting my outfit together (shop on Saturday; buy something by September 5).

In 10 months, the wedding will still be a recent memory and I’ll likely still be looking at photos, but the pressure of the decision will be nonexistent.

And in 10 years? I doubt I’ll care at all which dress I picked out. (I’ll just be thinking how much younger I looked in 2016 than I do in 2026.)

In the short term, buying a dress is a hassle to someone like me who hates to shop. But in the grand scheme of things, I can see that this choice isn’t a life or death decision.

Putting it into the 10/10/10 scheme helps me see that the important thing in 10 years will be celebrating Jenna and Trey’s 10-year anniversary of a God-honoring marriage.

* * *

UPDATE: I found a dress! My daughters went shopping with me Saturday and we found something I liked in the first store. #happymom

Let me know if you try 10/10/10 for one of your decisions. Please share in the comments.

21 thoughts on “Need Help Making a Decision? Try 10/10/10

  1. Linda Stoll

    Good morning, Lisa!

    First of all, congrats on finding that perfect dress! I can’t wait to hear about any details you care to share about this wonderful family milestone just around the corner.

    I love the simple parameters of this 10 / 10 / 10 approach. And I’m headed off to share your post on my LinkedIn page!

    There are some things definitely worth sharing … and this 10 thing is one of those!


  2. Deb Wolf

    I love this! And absolutely must start applying it. We have some big decisions coming up in the near future so your post is perfectly timed for me! Sharing it and so very blessed by it! Thank you!!

  3. Anita Ojeda

    I’ve never heard of this concept before, but I LOVE it! I’m going to teach it to my students this week–we are studying goal-setting and making good decisions, so it fits in perfectly :).

  4. Debbie

    Happy you found the dress! That is a big decision!! The 10/10/10 approach makes perfect sense and I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing, Lisa and have a great

  5. bluecottonmemory

    Congratulations in finding your dress. My h.s. senior is trying to make some decisions (he wants to do a mission trip next year – and, of course, his career goals), this sounds like it would make a great stocking stuffer for Christmas! This is such a good way to handle decision-making and not become obsessive about it, but rather healthy! Shalom, Lisa!

  6. Sharon

    I understand the wedding-dress-shopping pressure! My son got married last month, and I was really stressed about finding a dress for myself. I kept putting it off. Well, it was finally crunch time, and so I prayed about it (yes, I did), and my son’s fiancee went with me. I also found a lovely dress in the first store we went to! And I was happy to wear it the day of the wedding.

    I like this 10/10/10 way of thinking about decisions. I’m a notorious second-guesser, and I’m always overthinking what to do. This formula would help put things into perspective.


  7. Julie

    Lisa- this was great! I have a few decisions coming up and thinking through them with this scenario makes it so much easier. I will be using this from now on!

    I hope you will post a picture of you in the dress so we can see it:)

    Your #InspireMeMonday neighbor,

  8. Joanne Viola

    Lisa, there is much wisdom in this. Often the things we are stressing about today won’t matter a hill of beans in 10 months or 10 years. We tend to say,”This time next week, this will all be done or this won’t even matter any more.” Similar process which helps to put today’s stress into perspective. It is always good to be your neighbor!

  9. Dolly@Soulstops

    Congrats on finding the perfect dress 🙂 And thanks for sharing this tip…I didn’t know about it…I do try to keep in mind whether in the big picture a decision will matter but I like how what you shared also considers within the next 10 minutes 🙂 Praying peace and joy as you all prepare for your daughter’s wedding.

  10. Tiffany Parry

    I love this, Lisa. I’m such a horrible decision maker. I try to be more decisive and in the big things, I can lay down the gauntlet. But ask me to pick between tan and pale green for the new sofa and I’m a nervous wreck. I love this method of putting things into perspective – which is always a great way to take a step back and make the right choice. And an upcoming wedding – how exciting. Enjoy every moment!

  11. June

    Congrats on the dress, can’t wait to see the pictures 🙂 2nd thanks for sharing this tip – it is really all about perspective and this rule helps us to remember that truth! Praying for you as you plan and experience the JOY of your daughters wedding!

  12. Jody Collins

    Lisa, I haven’t by to visit for a while….I didn’t know Jenna is getting married–congratulations!
    Picking the mother of the bride dress is indeed a chore–I was going to tell you my ‘how I went to Macy’s with a very small budget and ended up with a designer dress marked down AND on sale….with enough leftover for jewelry’ story and encourage you to trust God for the same. But then…. you found a dress. God is so surprising like that. I look forward to pictures.
    (and the 10/10/10 decision idea? brilliant! thank you for sharing).

  13. Beverley

    I was very much involved with all of my daughter’s wedding, but she knew what she wanted and it was all beautiful. As for my son and his wife they did it all themselves, my only instructions were ‘buy a dress and turn up’ and that very different but also beautiful.

  14. Laura Thomas

    This is brilliant, Lisa! So wonderfully practical. Definitely going to implement that one. And I’m SO GLAD you found your m-o-b dress… I know from experience what a stressful experience that can be! Happy wedding planning 🙂 Stopping by from #TellHisStory

  15. floyd

    I had forgotten about this. Glad you reminded me! This is awesome advice. I’m going through some things right now and that 10-10-10 test really pulled things into a proper persecutive. A lot of wisdom in that little rule.

  16. Lori Schumaker

    I love how good God was to you in putting that dress in the first store! Yes! And I love this thought process in decision-making! Thanks, friend, for sharing and spending time with me at Moments of Hope! I love reading your posts each week!
    Blessings and smiles,

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