Many of us struggle with small decisions – whether to buy those shoes, what to wear, make for dinner or tackle first on our to-do-list. And big decisions – changing jobs or careers, moving, going back to school, ending or starting relationships…
Why do we struggle? Mostly it’s fear! We’re afraid of change, failure and even success, and we’re worried about what other people will think of us. We want everything to turn out perfectly so we procrastinate and avoid making decisions to protect us from making a wrong decision and creating an imperfect future.
The problem is struggling with indecision is stressful. It’s no fun and can feel like you’re stuck in the mud without four-wheel drive. Indecision drains your batteries and keeps you from stepping into your brilliance and creating a life you love. You also miss out on valuable opportunities that could help you get what you want and grow and glow. In the words of psychologist William James, “There is not more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”
There is not more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision. —William James
Here’s the good news. Learning to make decisions is a skill. Every time you make a choice your decisive muscle gets stronger and become more confident. Here are 10 tips to get unstuck and move forward when indecision is holding you back.
- Ditch fear
Let go of fear of success or failure and perfectionism. Relax and stop worrying about making a mistake or not appearing perfect or smart. Remind yourself, you are safe and can always change your mind or go in another direction later if things don’t work out the way you want them to. Think about your history. How many times have you imagined the worst possible outcome related to a decision? Has it come true? Probably not. Most of our calamities never materialize.
Still terrified? Ask yourself will this really matter a year from now?
- Stop judging
Accept that there are no right or wrong decisions only choices that you have control over. Your thoughts, beliefs and judgments about your choices and potential outcomes are what lead to paralysis. When you stop judging you’ll be able to make decisions and your life will shift.
- Focus on the present
Don’t allow past concerns or failures to interfere with your present decisions. Notice how indecision is making you feel in the present moment. Is it generating stress or anxiety? Then choose! You’ll feel better.
- Trust your gut
Turn off your analytic self and turn on your intuition. Let your feelings guide you. What is your heart telling you to do? Trust your gut to guide you to the right place. To tap into your intuition ask yourself: How do I feel about choice A and then imagine the outcome of this decision. Notice how you feel. Then do the same thing for choice B. Choose the option that feels best.
Becoming an expert decision maker takes time, practice and patience. Start by making smaller decisions.
- Get a fresh perspective
If you’re having trouble deciding talk with someone wise whom you trust. Make a list of the people in your life who help you gain direction and a clearer idea of where you should be heading. Pull out the list and contact someone when you need to decide.
- Do what’s right for you
Often we’re torn between doing what we know is right and doing what someone else wants us to do. Give yourself permission to do what’s right for you. You won’t regret it.
- Ask for Divine guidance
If you lack clarity ask God for help and be open to the guidance, which will come, often in unexpected ways. Don’t worry if the answer you get is do the dishes, go for a walk or sleep on it. While that may sound like indecision, you’re actually choosing to rest and let the situation develop further before moving forward.
- Flip a coin
Rather than remaining stuck, flip a coin. If you don’t like the outcome you’ll know what to do.
- Say Ahh
Think about how good – relieved, relaxed, less stressed… you’ll feel once you make a choice and leave indecision behind you. Consider decision making an act of self-compassion, a way to take care of yourself and get your needs met.
Don’t let indecision hold you back. Take a risk. Just do it. To quote James again:
When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that is in itself a choice.
Refuse to settle for a life that’s comfortably uncomfortable. This is the moment to break free and move forward. The world needs your light and love.
Need help? Click HERE and let me know what’s keeping you from making a decision. I’d love to help you gain clarity, confidence and direction.