How to Make Responsible Decisions

Our online curriculum, Rock Digi (, uses music to teach Social Emotional Learning and life skills for success. Our SEL curriculum is based on the 5 Core Competencies for SEL as defined by CASEL. One of these core competencies is Responsible Decision Making. We have created a 5-step process to help make responsible decision-making easier, and we use this in our curriculum to help students, and set them up for success.

Good decision making is an important skill that takes time and effort to get better at over time. Everyone has to continue to work on their decision-making skills, and practice what they might say or do when they find themselves in difficult situations. Practicing good decision-making skills helps people to make sure that they stay true to themselves and so they can be their authentic selves. Strong decision-making skills can help you manage your stress levels and stay safe and focused on your goals and dreams, especially when making the “right” decision seems very difficult.

Here are the five steps you can take to make a responsible decision.

Step One: Identify the problem.
It’s important to look at the situation objectively to identify the problem. 

Step Two: Think about your options.
Try to think of several possible ways to solve the problem.
Take your time. You have time! Relax, and take a couple of deep breaths. Clear your mind so you can think about your options and make a good choice.

Step Three: Think about the consequences.

Ask yourself:

  • What are the positive and negative consequences of your options?
  • What are the rewards?
  • What are the risks?
  • How will these options affect others?

After you think about the pros and cons, identify which choice seems the best.

Step Four: Create a Plan to move Forward.
Think about what needs to happen now, and what needs to happen in the future. Identify both the good and bad consequences.

Step Five: Reflect on your Decision.

  • Was my decision effective?
  • Did I make a good choice?
  • What did I learn?
  • How will I use what I learned from this experience to help me in the future?

It’s important to think ahead of time about situations you may find yourself in. Identify your values and priorities so you can make decisions that are in line with those values and priorities. Make a plan of how you will respond.

Don’t forget that you’re aren’t alone in this. Reach out to your support team, and ask them for help when you need it. If you are struggling with a difficult decision, your support team can help you to take these steps to make a smart, informed decision.

And if you make a poor decision, that is okay. Everybody makes mistakes. But it’s important to remember to take responsibility and apologize. Use what you learned in this decision to make better decisions in the future. Use this as an opportunity to learn and grow.


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