Dangerous Decisions: Stopping Before We Start

Know Your Emotions. Know Yourself. Learn to Slow Down.

Picture this scenario: It’s 11pm, after a long day at work, and your laptop screen is filled with ticket information for that family vacation you so desperately need.

$4000 for the vacation. It’s beyond your budget, but you really want to go. At 11 pm.

Let’s have a moment of honesty here, is this the best time to make this decision?

You probably wouldn’t make this kind of decision at work – $4000 in a budget-blowout – so why make this decision now?

What if we could pause and make a better decision?

What if we had a framework to help us say “I’m feeling this way, or I find myself in such-and-such a situation, I probably need to slow down my decision making” – what if?

Let me introduce you to HALTS. It’s not rocket science. It’s easy to remember, but it will save you from making some painful decisions (sometimes).


H – Hungry

A – Angry

L – Lonely

T – Tired

S – Stressed

When we’re any of these things – hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or stressed – we have an incredible ability to make terrible decisions!

Once, when I was hungry after a day hiking in the Himalayan foothills, I made the decision to head off on my own – in the dark – on an unknown trail. No major search and rescue ensued, but it wasn’t my brightest moment.

When we’re any of these things – hungry, angry, lonely, tired, or stressed – we have an incredible ability to make terrible decisions!

Tired, in the middle of the night – while driving – a friend’s wife drove them 400 miles (~5 hours) in the wrong direction.

Our decisions matter. They matter in business. They matter at home.

To make better decisions, sometimes we need to learn to know ourselves a little better and acknowledge, to ourselves, how we’re doing.

Trust me, if you want to make better decisions, practice HALTS.

Originally published at

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...


How To Overcome Cognitive Biases And Make Better Decisions

by Rewire Inc

How to Overcome Email Anxiety

by Charlie Gilkey

How To Improve Your Decision Making Skills

by Thomas Oppong

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.