dayplannerOne of the questions I’m asked most frequently by Hormonology readers is, “When are the best days in my cycle to make a big decision?”

Often the person asking the question is referring to something specific, such as whether she should change careers, make an important purchase (like a house or car), move a relationship to the next level or cut ties with someone she’s on the fence about, or make another major transition in her life.

Even though I’ve mentioned this Hormonology tip before, I thought it was worth revisiting since I’ve been getting a flurry of new emails about this topic recently.

First off, we all know that a lot goes into what choice you ultimately make–for instance, past experiences you’ve had with similar decisions, what your friends recommend and what you’ve read recently online.

But, your hormones also have an impact on your decision-making–a fairly strong one, too.

That’s because where you are in your monthly cycle can impact certain factors that go into making a decision, including how optimistic or pessimistic you’ll be about the outcome and how likely you are to make a snap decision or carefully weigh the pros and cons.

As a result of the way your hormones impact what choices you pick, you’ve probably made a few decisions you regretted (like impulsively buying something waaay over your budget in your Week 2). Or you may have missed out on opportunities (for instance, you didn’t apply for a great job in your premenstrual Week 4 because you didn’t have the confidence you’d get it).

However, there’s a time in your monthly cycle when your hormones align to help you make a decision you’ll be happy with for a long time to come: It’s the second half of your Week 3 (Day 18 to Day 22 in a 28-day cycle).

Here’s why: These days are what I call your “reality check” phase. That’s because estrogen is rising–which gives you a brighter view of the picture. Yet, progesterone is also rising, which blunts estrogen’s rose-colored-specs effect while also urging you to be cautious. As a result, you’re likely to see issues in a more realistic light–not too optimistic and not pessimistic either. At the same time, you’re also more prone to carefully weighing the pros and cons–rather than make a snap decision or not be able to make a decision at all.

Compare that to much of the first half of your cycle–the second half of Week 1 and all throughout Week 2–when a steep rise in estrogen (and no progesterone to curb its effects) can trigger a bit of over-optimism and impulsiveness that can lead to jumping into a quick decision and ignoring warning signs that it may not be the right choice for you.

Making decisions during your premenstrual Week 4 isn’t your best bet either since a steep plunge in estrogen and progesterone can trigger the kind of cynicism that makes any choice seem like a bad one–which can lead you to go back and forth between choices over and over while trying to pick.

And, low estrogen during your period and during the first half of your Week 3 can also make you a bit waffley when it comes to picking a choice by bringing down your confidence.

Can’t wait till the second half of your Week 3 rolls around to make a choice–and you need to decide fast? Then simply keep in mind how your hormones may be impacting your decision-making abilities in whatever phase you’re on in your cycle–and factor that when making your choice.

For instance, if you come across a great sale on a sailboat during your Week 2 and the savings are too irresistible to pass up, take a moment to ponder whether your high estrogen is making you a tad too impulsive about buying something so big and a bit too optimistic that you’ll actually learn how to sail one day.

The next time you make a big decision, let me know how where you were in your cycle impacted your choice!

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