Making decisions can seem overwhelming. You may wonder how to decide between two options when they seem equally attractive or how to decide which option is better for your needs. Sometimes it’s hard to know which factors are essential to our decisions; sometimes, we don’t know when enough is enough, and we should choose just one option.
Naturally, we want everything in life to be perfect, but that’s often not the case. Different factors have to be weighed against each other to make a decision, and there’s not always a clear answer as to which is better. The best thing you can do is take your time and think through each option carefully before choosing one.
No Decision is Perfect
If you can accept that no decision is perfect and that sometimes there are unknowns that you can’t factor into your decision-making process, you’ll be better able to make decisions.
We Live in a World Where Perfection Is Constantly Expected of Us
From the moment we’re old enough to understand what “good” and “bad” mean, we’re taught that things must be done quickly and efficiently. This means we need to spend as little time as possible on one task, leaving enough time for other tasks – and maybe even room for some free time in between!
However, there’s no such thing as being perfect. No matter how hard you try or how much work you put into something, there will always be a flaw somewhere – and sometimes those flaws are significant enough to undo all the excellent work you’ve done before (or at least make it seem less valuable). The best way is to accept that reality without completely giving up on yourself or your goals.
You’re Too Focused on the Outcome
When trying to make a decision, you may focus on the outcome rather than the process. What happens when you choose one thing? What happens when you choose another? What’s the outcome of each decision?
Remember, you don’t know the outcome of your decision until after you’ve made it. And then there’s no turning back! So it makes sense that you want to know what’s coming before you make a decision.
If you focus on the outcome instead of how you’ll get to that outcome and what each possible outcome means for your life, you’re limiting yourself in a way that can keep you from making your own decisions.
When we think about outcomes, we tend to think of them as static things – like boxes that contain our lives or paths that lead us forward or backward. But our lives are dynamic and constantly changing. Therefore, we also need to think of our decisions as something in flux – like rivers flowing around obstacles and through rapids, always moving toward an unknown destination (or perhaps even multiple destinations). That’s why it’s helpful to have a good decision-making process.
You Don’t Have Enough Basic Facts to Make a Rational Decision
The key to making better decisions is to have the right information. If you don’t have enough information, your decision will be based on feelings and assumptions – and that’s not enough to ensure you make the right choice.
It’s not enough to make sure you make the right choice. You can do that by doing the research before you make an important decision: learning about the alternatives, gathering data about them, and weighing their pros and cons. Once you’ve done that, you can choose an option based on clear criteria, not guesswork or assumptions.
You Find It Hard to Concentrate Amid Distractions
If you feel like I do, you’ve probably felt this way before. I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to make a decision – like which restaurant to go to for dinner – but I couldn’t because there were too many other things going on simultaneously. It’s almost like my brain gets overwhelmed by all the options and stops working properly!
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are some ways you can overcome this challenge:
- Take some time without distractions
- Make sure your phone is turned off, and no one is talking to you
You’re Afraid of Making the Wrong Decision
You can’t decide between two or more things and agonize over them for weeks. You feel like you want to make a good decision, but you’re not sure how and you don’t want to be disappointed by your choice.
This can happen in two ways: Either you’re afraid of making a poor decision or making the wrong decision. If you’re afraid of making a mistake, then you try to avoid regretting it if your choice turns out badly. If that’s the case for you, I can reassure you: There’s no such thing as a “wrong” choice.
Different choices lead to different results, and sometimes those results can even be unexpected. If something doesn’t work out the way we expected, it doesn’t mean we make terrible decisions – we have new information about what will work better in the future!
However, if your decision is hindered by the fear of making a bad decision, that’s normal! No one wants to make a mistake or feel like they made the wrong decision. But again, perfection doesn’t exist.
You’re Stuck in Analysis Paralysis
The problem is that you’ve gotten so used to making decisions that it’s hard to stop. Now you’re stuck in a cycle of indecisiveness because you’re overanalyzing; you can’t break out of it.
Here are some tips on how you can get yourself out of your indecision:
- Let go of your fear. Fear is an important emotion that helps us stay safe and healthy, but it also makes it hard for us to make decisions. Focus on what you want, not what might go wrong – we all know that nothing ever goes as planned.
- Think about what’s important to you. If you’re worrying about whether or not something will work out, take a step back and think about what’s most important to you right now (maybe it’s your family or your health). Ask yourself if the thing you’re worried about will ruin those things for you, and if it’s not, maybe there’s nothing to worry about after all!
- Get creative with solutions! When we’re stuck in analysis paralysis, sometimes we just need someone else’s perspective to show us how to solve our problem in a new way – sometimes that can clear the obstacles.
Too Many Decisions Can Lead to Decision Fatigue
Making decisions is hard. They’re so hard that there’s an entire field devoted to them: decision science.
And one of the most interesting things about decision-making is that it can take a lot of energy – so much that sometimes it’s easier to avoid going through another decision-making process.
That’s where big decision fatigue kicks in. Decision fatigue occurs when you’ve too many decisions to make throughout the day, and your brain gets tired from processing all those decisions. This is especially true if the decisions are similar or repetitive – like deciding what to eat for lunch each day or whether to rent a movie or stream it online.
Decision fatigue can occur because your brain needs time to process each possible option before making a final decision – time that can be taken away when there are too many options.
A good example is when you order from a menu with too many options: it takes you longer than usual, and you’re more likely to regret your decision later because you were overwhelmed by the many options.
It’s Hard for You to Accept That You Won’t Always Get What You Want
For many people, it’s hard to accept that sometimes you don’t get what you want, even when you make the right decision and stick to it. And when that happens, it’s easy to feel like you made the wrong decision. But there’s not always just one right decision. Sometimes many different paths can lead to different results, and sometimes they all lead you to something great.
The truth is, we often don’t know what’s going to happen next – and even if we did, we couldn’t always predict what would happen next!
So as long as we make decisions based on what makes us happy at the moment, we’ll be fine. It gets complicated when decision-making is based on expectations of how things will turn out later.
You Let Other People Make Your Decisions for You
Many people do this – and not just because they’re lazy. But also because they want to feel like they don’t have to make crucial decisions or that someone else is making them.
When you let others decide for you, you give up control of your life. And that means you’re giving up control over how happy and prosperous you are
So what can you do?
First things first: take responsibility for your own decisions! If something in your life isn’t going well, don’t blame it on someone else – look at yourself and ask yourself what role you played in creating that situation.
- Did you make a bad decision?
- Did you ignore a red flag?
- Did you just give up when things got tough?
- Did you let others decide for you?
If you’ve figured out where something went wrong, you need to act! If something in your life needs to be fixed – whether it’s relationships, finances, or career goals – make an effort to fix it! You can’t expect other people to help you if they don’t know what needs to be fixed (or if they do know but aren’t willing to). So instead of waiting for something to improve, take care of it yourself.
You know it. I know it. We all know this because we’ve all been at this point: you just get stuck with indecisiveness, even though you know that uncertainty won’t take you anywhere. You’re afraid of what’ll happen if you make the wrong decision or what will happen if you don’t make a decision at all. But the longer you wait, the more likely it’s that the opportunity or problem in front of you’ll disappear on its own – and then where will you be?
It’s easy to get stuck in this cycle of indecision and inaction, but the good news is that there are ways to break out of indecisiveness! Here are some tips on how to make a decision before your situation gets worse:
- Make sure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way.
- Ask yourself why this decision is so important to you in the first place (and if it’s not, move on!).
- Research your options before deciding as much as you can (but don’t let research become an excuse not to decide!).
- Talk to someone experienced with this situation (or even try to talk to someone who doesn’t).
- Make sure you know all the facts about each option before making a final decision.
Too Many Options
You’re so open to all possibilities that it’s hard to narrow down to just one decision.
You’re not afraid to try new things. You like challenges and love the thrill of doing something new. You know that every time you try something new, it brings you one step closer to your dream job. Sometimes that openness can be a disadvantage – like when you’ve to choose between two great job offers or two equally perfect apartments. Or even worse: when you’ve to choose between two equally perfect pairs of jeans!
You want it all, and you want it now! But unfortunately, we don’t live in a society where everything is available at once. We’ve to decide what we want most in our lives and then prioritize those decisions over other goals we may have in the future.
You Can’t Make a Decision Because Your Goals Aren’t Clearly Defined
We’ve all been there: you’re trying to make a decision, and you just can’t get to it. You know you should be able to decide what to have for dinner, but no matter how hard you try, the answer eludes you. And then your stomach starts growling, and you’ve no idea what to do.
You may think this is just indecision, but it’s really about something much deeper – that you don’t know precisely what you want. That’s why it’s essential to be clear about our goals before making decisions: When we don’t know our goal, every option seems equally good (or bad), and we feel in limbo.
For example, “I want to lose weight” isn’t a good goal because it’s vague and not measurable (you can’t say precisely how much you want to lose). A better goal would be, “I want to lose 20 pounds by March 1.”
When you set your goals, think about what would happen if you achieve them or don’t achieve them.
- What would change in your life?
- How would it change?
Are these changes important enough for you to do something to make them happen? If so, great! If not, think about what you want out of life – and figure out how to articulate it better!
You Struggle With Anxiety
When you’re struggling with anxiety, it can be difficult to feel confident about even small decisions, and it’s even worse when you’re faced with a difficult decision. If you’re feeling anxious, taking care of your mental health before making a significant decision to make a more effective one is essential.
Making a Decision Is Hard
There are many factors to consider, and every decision has pros and cons. It can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s essential to understand why you’re struggling so you can remove some blocks and move forward.