How do people make everyday decisions in order to achieve the most successful outcome? Decision making research typically evaluates choices according to their expected utility. However, this research largely focuses on abstract or hypothetical tasks and rarely investigates whether the outcome is successful and satisfying for the decision maker. Instead, we use an everyday decision making task in which participants describe a personally meaningful decision they are currently facing. We investigate the decision processes used to make this decision, and evaluate how successful and satisfying the outcome of the decision is for them. We examine how well analytic, attribute-based processes explain everyday decision making and predict decision outcomes, and we compare these processes to associative processes elicited through free association. We also examine the characteristics of decisions and individuals that are associated with good decision outcomes. Across three experiments we found that: 1) an analytic decision analysis of everyday decisions is not superior to simpler attribute-based processes in predicting decision outcomes; 2) contrary to research linking associative cognition to biases, free association generates valid cues that predict choice and decision outcomes as effectively as attribute-based approaches; 3) contrary to research favouring either attribute-based or associative processes, combining both attribute-based and associates best explains everyday decisions and most accurately predicts decision outcomes; and 4) individuals with a tendency to attempt analytic thinking do not make more successful everyday decisions. Instead, frequency, simplicity, and knowledge of the decision predict success. We propose that attribute-based and associative processes, in combination, both explain everyday decision making and predict successful decision outcomes.