Decisions, decisions…

I want to present to you a problem requiring a decision, from my own personal repertoire, and then a method of making a decision, the four-column method.

I was recently confronted with a situation that required a decision. The outcome would affect time and money, two valuable commodities, whichever way I decided – yea or nay. I have a membership in a health club, for which I pay monthly. I signed up for personal training, for which I also pay monthly. The personal training is on a one-year contract, a legally binding document. I can quit the membership at any time.

The problem is I live so far away from the club that I am rarely going. I don’t have a car, and I make use of city transit. We’re talking 80 minutes round trip. When I first joined, I had the highest expectations of what I could accomplish. I believed my zeal to get fit would override the length of time it takes to get there. Unfortunately, my zealousness did not survive for a number of reasons, thus my desire to resign from the club and training and cut my costs. I can’t get out of the one-year contract; I have nine training sessions, and five months left. I can, however, resign from membership.

So what to do? Resign as a member and save what I am paying for dues, and by necessity, continue paying the training contract, without the benefit of any training? Or continue paying for both, and try to make the best use of the club that I possibly can, given my limitations. I would then resign mid-August, when the contract expires.

I have just been introduced to a decision-making model. It isn’t new, but it’s worth examining again. It’s a Four Column method. I take one set of alternatives, e.g. Keep the Membership, and make a list of Advantages and Disadvantages. Then I take the other set of alternatives, e.g. Don’t Keep the Membership, and also make a list of Advantages and Disadvantages.

My lists looked like this:

Keep Membership

Advantages                                                                      Disadvantages
I will get the benefit of training.                                  I’m paying dues so I don’t lose the 

I won’t be forfeiting the money for training.            money I am paying for training.

Don’t Keep Membership

Advantages                                                                      Disadvantages

I’ll have the extra money from the                              Paying for training I’m not using.
membership dues to keep each month.

Perhaps a load will be lifted off my mine if               I will regret paying for training I’m
I’m not always thinking I should be going.                 not using.

What did I decide? I decided to keep the membership. I got a second opinion from my daughter, who is very astute. Second opinions are good. Her comment was that I had to pay it anyway and at least if I go, I’ll be getting something from it.

I have gone through this exercise to show you a method of making a decision. Now, it’s almost time for me to catch a bus to get to my next training session! See you later!