The irony of this post is that I began thinking about and writing this post over a month ago. For some reason, I started to procrastinate and over-analyze, and ultimately set this post aside for "another day." I wondered if I should pick another topic to write about. Every few days I would think about it again, and tell myself that I just needed to finish it. And yet, I continued to wobble in indecision until this morning.
We've all been there...grappling, struggling, or even losing sleep over a decision that seemed impossible to make. Indecision can lead to undue anxiety and stress. It can also lead to self-doubt and even more indecision. The biggest cause of indecision is fear of making the "wrong" decision. We sometimes make decisions that we later regret. We sometimes make decisions that we are completely happy and excited about. We sometimes accept our decision as the very best choice we could have made under the circumstances. Regardless, we somehow, someway, ultimately end up making decisions between two or more choices.
We have strategies for just about everything in life, including decision making. We follow a predictable (yet completely individual) pattern when making our decisions. Do you know what your pattern is? Think about the last time you made a purchase online. What was the strategy you used in making your decision to buy? Did you do extensive research on the product? Did you read reviews? Did you talk to someone who owned the product before purchasing? Had you seen the product in person before? Think about the specific steps you took when making your decision to buy that product over various similar products.
Below are three tips I found that help in overcoming indecision. While there are many other strategies you can implement, these are three specific tips that I used to create this blog post today.
First, think about your decision-making strategy. Were you able to identify the steps that you make when deciding on something? If so, run through the steps you would need to take to make your specific decision. Perhaps the first step is that you need a specific reason to make the decision. If so, identify that reason. Perhaps your strategy includes having to understand both options fully before deciding. If that's the case, act and do the research on both options so you have that information available. Whatever your strategy, identify it and take that first action step.
Second, contemplate the BEST-case scenario for both options right before bed and let your subconscious mind marinate on it overnight. During the day, we are bombarded with so many decisions that we experience decision fatigue by the end of the day. Making decisions when you are refreshed instead of fatigued leads to better choices. When you wake up in the morning and have your first thought about this decision, choose the FIRST option that comes to mind. Let your instinct guide you towards the choice that feels right.
Lastly, decision making is a skill that gets better with practice. Start each day with small things like which coffee mug to drink out of, which route to take to work, which radio station or podcast to listen to, which email to answer first, etc. Building your decision-making muscle is a great way to build confidence, and will ultimately lead to making better choices. Later, when faced with bigger decisions, you will already have your strategies in place, will ideally make decisions at a time when you feel most rested and energized, and will ultimately pick the choice that intuitively feels best.