“There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”
Growing up I was always one to jump into anything without a second thought. Do I want to go to the park? Sure. Do I want to go to the movies? Heck yeah. I wasn’t thinking about the ‘what if’ or the other options that could be more fun. Maybe this is because I always had the kinds of friends around to make decisions for me. All I had to do was agree.
As I’ve gotten older, I have found that worry seems to creep its way in and when faced with a decision, I find myself spending far too much time contemplating the pros and cons and trying to predict the outcome of each. Some call this analysis-paralysis. Which is just a fancy word to describe indecisiveness. I will analyze every detail, jumping back and forth between the choices. Which one will I be happier with afterwards? What if I don’t enjoy doing this as much I could enjoy doing that? Which one is more beneficial to me? Which one is the smarter one? And so on. It can be mentally exhausting.
I have also found myself pushing the decision to others involved.
Them: “Where do you want to go for lunch?”
Me: “I don’t care, I’m not picky. Where do you want to go?”
Them: “I’m feeling like Chinese.”
Me: “That’s fine with me.”
The example above is one of a minuscule decision, but when indecisiveness starts to bleed into other aspects of your life, problems can arise. Such as deciding on where to live, or work, or what car to buy. Even so much as choosing the outfit you are going to wear can end up taking HOURS.
Can you relate? Do you find yourself jumping back and forth between a seemingly simple decision? Do you feel the need to poll your friends and family before making a choice?
Reasons Why You Are Indecisive
One of the most common root causes of why someone is indecisive is perfectionism. In a scenario between choosing an apple or an orange for a snack, the person may feel if they choose the apple, the orange could end up tasting better. We like to evaluate every alternative so we can be rest assured we have made the most optimal decision.
The inability to choose may also be tied to the fear of making a mistake.
This significantly increases if you have a history of being corrected when making a choice. Or are always being told what to do and what to want. Both examples create self-doubt and the inability to listen to your own inner voice and guidance.
How Can I Stop Being So Indecisive?
Forget your Fears
This is easier said than done, I know. Stop being scared of being wrong or making the wrong decision. What is the worst that can happen? You can learn from your mistakes and make better ones next time. I like to think “Will this matter when I’m 80?”. Chances are, eating pizza for dinner on Wednesday, instead of Chinese will not even be a thought by the time Saturday comes around. Now, I’m not saying to be careless with all of your decisions or that it is a bad thing to put time and consideration into them. But, not every decision requires an unnecessarily high degree of consideration.
Do The Thing That Scares You
The main reason we over analyze our decisions is to find the safest route, the most comfortable. This is due to lack of faith in oneself, resulting in following the path of least resistance and discomfort. And as I’m sure you’ve heard before, you don’t grow in your comfort zone. Take more risks. Don’t be scared of failure. Embrace it, and learn from it. Who says you’re sure to fail anyway?
“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.” – Caroline Myss
Take Ownership of Your Life
One way to take ownership of your life is to stop allowing other people to make your decisions for you. Make your own decisions based on your own wants and desires, not to please others. The next time you think about sending out a poll to your friends on what to do on Friday night, think about what you want to be doing on Friday. What would make you the happiest and give you the most enjoyment?
Stop Trying to Please Others
There comes a time in your life when you need to start making decisions for your own happiness and well being. You need to start making your own decisions based on what you want and desire, not to please others. Don’t worry about what Sally or Joe want to be doing this Friday. If you want to go see the new Avengers movie, then you go see it. If you’d rather not go out at all, then throw on your cozy sweatpants and enjoy your night at home, for you. Doing this will begin to give you a sense of pride in the choices you make. Remember, you don’t need anyone else’s approval.
Learn to trust yourself — your mind, and your instincts. It is important to find the balance between logic and your gut feeling. Logic is helpful when deciding, but basing your decision on it alone may lead to taking the safer route, versus the one that would be following your passions and helping you grow as a person. On the opposite end, going solely off of your gut feeling can mean impulsive decisions and potentially choices. That is why it is important that you find your balance, your happy medium within yourself.
Choose Neither Option
Sometimes, not making a decision is the best decision. I find this one especially beneficial when it comes to making purchases. I will spend crazy amounts of time wandering a store with items that I am trying to choose between. By the end, I am so sick of going back and forth between the two (or three or four) that I don’t like any anymore, and put them back and just leave the store altogether. 99% of the time, I forget that I was even going to buy them, so I know I didn’t miss out on anything. A good rule of thumb is if you continue to think about the item days and weeks after, chances are it is something you would enjoy and/or get good use out of and at that point your mind is made up.
So, when you find yourself paralyzed in your decision making, remember it is okay to fail. Take risks, go the route that scares you. It is time to take the reigns of your life and start making decisions for yourself. It may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you are used to always having decisions made for you. But in time, I promise it will get easier. You can always save this post and refer back to it if you need a refresher.
Related Post: 50 Powerful Affirmations That Are Life Changing
Also, remember that not making a decision is sometimes the best decision.
Until next time,