Make a Hard Decision Using Evens and Odds

Quite often, people come into my counseling office struggling to make a hard decision. This could be whether to keep their current job or take a risk on another job. It is sometimes about whether to stay married or get divorced. These are really tough decisions to make and entail a great deal of struggle and thought.

There are several different strategies that can help in making a weighty decision. One of these is to use what I refer to as Evens and Odds.

How It Works

If you are trying to make a hard decision, sometimes it helps to do the following: On even days (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturdays, for example) go through the days as if you have already made up your mind to pursue option A. Don’t actually act on it (for example, don’t quit your job or get a divorce), just try to have the mindset that you’ve made the choice. On the odd days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) go throughout the day with the mindset that you’ve chosen option B. Again don’t actually act on it, just have the mindset of doing this.

After you try this for a week or so, you may notice feeling differently on odd days or even days. If you feel better as you pretend you’ve chosen one option, this is more information to help make your choice. You may also notice that on days when you “pretend” one option, you really wish it were the other day so you could go back to pretending that option. Again, this will give you information about which option you prefer.

I’d like to say this idea is an original idea, but it comes from Steve deShazer, who co-created Solution Focused Brief Therapy.

Gary Watson is a Solution Focused Therapist in Grand Rapids Michigan.  He provides counseling for couples, teenagers, and adults.  He can help with anxiety, depression, stress, college and work stress, relationship problems, and more.  For more information, please visit the website at