“Decisions. We can think about things, turn them over in our minds a million times, play out possible scenarios. But when it really comes down to it, you have to go with your heart and move forward. Maybe things will go well. Maybe they’ll turn out poorly. Every decision brings with it some good, some bad, some lessons and some luck. The only thing that’s for sure is that indecision steals many years from many people who wind up wishing they’d just had the courage to leap.”- Doe Zantamata
Lately, I’ve found myself at a cross-roads more often than not. As an indecisive Libran, I have often found it difficult to decide where to go for dinner let alone make complex, life-changing decisions. Conversations between my friends have often looked like this:
Me: Where do you want to go for dinner tonight?
Friend: I don’t mind, what do you feel like?
Me: Hmm. I’m easy. Did you have anywhere in mind?
And it goes on and on…
I have learned that one way to take control of your life is to own your decisions rather than palming them off to others. In fact, even if you decide to go along with a decision someone else has made for you, it is still your choice to go along with that decision. Taking ownership of my life and my decisions has been one of the most liberating and empowering practices I have developed. I wanted to share with you some of the methods I have practiced to gain confidence in my decision-making capabilities:
I find that making decisions is most difficult when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It may seem counter-productive, but taking some much needed time off can help me to get in a better state to make sound decisions. Taking a break could be as simple as scheduling in some ‘me-time,’ or packing up my bags and taking a spontaneous trip.
Whatever the circumstances, taking a break to clear my mind can significantly reduce the feeling of stress and information overwhelm.
Indecisiveness can often be a result of having too many options or the fear or choosing the wrong option. I have recently tried to reduce my options down to three (for example in a dinner situation- do I feel like salmon, pasta or chicken)? The more options I have, the more difficult the decision.
I also like to ask myself “What is the worst thing that could happen?” Often, there is no right or wrong answer- it’s just different. Understanding the worst possible consequence for my decision can help me to decide on something0 and commit to it.
One of the most helpful practices I have developed is to consider my one term goals when making decisions. If the decision is in regards to my career, the question I ask myself is “Is this job going to bring me one step closer to my career aspirations and goals”? If the answer is “yes”, then I pull the trigger. However, if the answer is “I’m not sure,” then I may need to dig a little deeper by talking to others or doing some more research.
I live by the mantra that every decision I make should bring me one step closer to my long term goals.
Over the years, I’ve really learned to listen to my intuition and to trust my gut feeling. My intuition tells me whether something feels right for me or not. When I’ve listened to my intuition, the rewards has paid off. when I’ve chosen to ignore it- I’ve paid the price in other ways.
Don’t be tempted by short term incentives. Learn to trust your intuition and commit to things that only feel right for you.
My husband helps to keep me accountable and set a decision challenge for me. For one whole month, I had to independently make every decision that came up in our day to day lives. I had to decide what to eat, where to go, what we should do etc. This practice made me realise that making decisions is not scary- it’s empowering! Rather than always letting someone else call all the shots, taking the lead feels great.
Small decisions and small wins give you the confidence to make another decision, and another, and another. Try setting a challenge for yourself- it will force you to make decisions and take accountability of your life.
Is making decisions something you struggle with? What practices do you use to combat indecisiveness? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences- please leave your comments below!