What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Which pants did you decide to wear? What time did you leave for the office, and what email did you choose to respond to first?
Did you jog or lift weights after work? Did you order the new ink cartridge from Target or Amazon? What show did you watch after dinner? When did you ultimately go to bed, and are you setting the alarm for tomorrow?
Freedom is a fantastic virtue, but research shows that we make a staggering 35,000 decisions every single day.
While some options are easy and relatively automatic, all these choices can be undoubtedly fatiguing. They may be sucking your time, energy, and emotional res. But you don’t have to stay paralyzed- here are some tips to stop being indecisive.
Prioritize the Process of Elimination
Simplify indecisiveness by eliminating potential options as soon as possible. For example, when shopping for cereal, it just isn’t realistic to agonize over every box. So instead, commit to narrowing down to 2-3 options as fast as you can.
The same mindset should apply when making more significant decisions. Organize the options that matter the most and discard the rest. Avoid the temptation to revisit choices you’ve already discarded- remember there’s a reason you threw them out!
Consider Your Values
Confident, self-assured people often make sound decisions without second-guessing themselves. Why? They know what matters most to them, and they let those needs guide them throughout life.
When you stand firmly with your values, the rest of your life tends to be congruent with those values. So, think about what is most important to you as you navigate difficult decisions.
If family is everything, connectivity and intimacy with loved ones should be the foundation driving your behavior. Likewise, if creativity is essential for your well-being, that will be a significant factor in your career choices and hobbies.
Imagine Potential Outcomes
When faced with big decisions, it can be helpful to visualize how the outcomes will impact your life. Visualization allows you to picture the possibility of how these choices interact with other choices in your daily existence.
For example, if you decide to buy a new car, what will it feel like to drive that car around? What benefits will having that car add to your life? How does it align with your current values?
Paradoxically, what negatives might you encounter? How might that car payment impact your budget or ability to save? And if you commit to purchasing a particular model, will you have to sacrifice important features you value from another model?
Do certain options leave you feeling motivated and excited? If so, pay attention to those feelings. At the same time, do other options make you feel particularly anxious, uncomfortable, or angry? Those feelings might also be telling you something critical.
Accept Some Uncertainty
You can try to control the outcome of your life as much as you want. But to some degree, there will always be a level of ambiguity. You won’t always make a perfect choice. And even when you do make optimal choices, you can’t inherently guarantee the specific outcomes.
Even if you think that car is the right one, you still may encounter challenges. You might even later regret your pick or wish you had considered another significant need before you made the decision.
Accepting uncertainty often comes down to managing your expectations and releasing perfectionism. It also requires that you become more mindful of your anxiety triggers. You will need to cope with them effectively if you no longer want to suffer from decision paralysis.
Give Yourself Deadlines
When you can’t decide what you want right now, give yourself a time limit. Having a deadline gives you permission to take time for yourself while holding yourself accountable.
Of course, you should make sure your deadlines are relative to the specific situation. For example, it might not be appropriate to wait three months to decide on a potential job offer. But it’s certainly reasonable to wait that long (or longer) to determine whether you want to start having children.
If you haven’t made a choice by the time the deadline arrives, commit to making some decisive action like picking your first instinct or flipping a coin. Doing so means you take personal responsibility for ensuring that you still move forward.
How Therapy Can Help You Stop Being Indecisive
Indecisiveness can result from trauma, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. It also coincides with significant life transitions like graduating, changing jobs, and new relationships. Likewise, when you feel stressed, you might struggle more with making the right choices when you feel stressed.
Therapy provides support and guidance in helping you live more intentionally. Even if you can’t entirely stop being indecisive, you can learn how to trust and believe in yourself. When you do that, good decision-making tends to follow.At Willow Counseling, we are here to help you live an empowered and meaningful life. Contact us today to learn more!
Willow Counseling, PLLC, Nashville, TN
Willow Counseling, PLLC exists to provide quality trauma-informed mental health counseling to the Nashville community, recognizing the interconnectedness of our emotional, spiritual and physical selves. We work together to alleviate symptoms, learn better coping skills, relieve burdens, remove the pain of trauma, and so much more. However, our greatest desire is for you to know what it means to feel purpose and joy again and to recognize the strength and worth you have to offer the world.