5 Steps for Recovering from a Bad Decision

1.  Take full responsibility. The first step you must take when having made a poor choice is recognize the part you played in a situation. It does no good at all to make excuses or rationalize or pretend that, for whatever reason, you aren't to blame. If you want to move forward from wherever you've found yourself, you have to take responsibility for your choices and actions. 

2.  Understand your choices. Next, it's essential that you understand why you made the decision you made. Keep in mind that this is not a time to think of excuses for why it happened; this is a time to understand why it happened so you can avoid making similar decisions in the future. Really take some time to think about why you did what you did so you can begin to move on. 

3.  Apologize and explain. If your decision hurt anyone else, the best thing you can do is apologize and explain. Don't offer excuses or try to play down the situation in any way. Be honest and open with those you have hurt and explain to them what you realized from Step 2. Once you've done that, it's also important to apologize to yourself and do what you can to come to terms with your decision. 

4.  Focus on the present. When you've made a bad decision, it can be tempting to dwell on that but, believe me, that's a waste of time. The most productive thing you can do to move forward from your choice is to focus on what's happening now. Cut yourself some slack and begin to focus on the positive things you're currently doing instead of the negative things you have done. 

5.  Be proactive in the future. The best thing you can do for yourself when you find that you've knowingly made a bad decision is to find ways to be proactive after the fact. Ask yourself what can be fixed or changed now. And then think about what you can do in the future to make sure you don't find yourself making similar decisions. Don't downplay the importance of taking future action. 

When you find yourself in a situation in which you've made a bad decision and there is no one to blame but you, it can be tempting to feel down on yourself and to start thinking negatively, but DON'T! No matter what you've done or what choices you've made, there is always hope for the present moment. The past, unfortunate as it might be sometimes, is gone. The only thing you can do at this point in time is move forward with a positive attitude and a focus on the now. That's not to say that things that happened in the past aren't important; they are. But you must realize that the only moment that is real is the moment that is right now -- and it's up to you to start making choices that will leave you feeling positive and happy to be living in every moment of your life.