How to make your mind up?
You are trying to make the perfect decision. You do not want to make a misstep. The thought of things not going as planned is intolerable. The idea of your decision possibly being ‘wrong’ stops you from moving forward.
The fear of possible downsides paralyzes you from making a decision. And then there are the unknown consequences to consider.
Your brain is busy coming up with worst-case scenarios—you ‘what if’ yourself into a state of anxiety and avoidance. You can come up with possible disasters for each option.
You worry that others may not approve of your decision. You want to keep everyone happy. But keeping everyone happy is an impossible task. It is possible that being decisive could rile some feather. On the other hand, not deciding can also cause frustration for those around you.
Self-doubt. Perhaps you know what you want or think would be best to do, but you put off taking action because you second guess yourself. You talk yourself out of moving forward. You wonder if maybe you are not good at making decisions. Perhaps you focus on a past decision that did not turn out well.
You have not learned decision-making skills. Perhaps your parents or caretakers were over-controlling and did not allow you to have much experience making choices. You may be waiting for someone to make your decision for you.
You may need more information. Sometimes you need to pause and take the pressure off to clarify what you want and need. For example, you could ask some trusted friends for advice. Or get the facts and figures involved.
Perhaps you have too much information. Research has demonstrated that when people have an overload of options, they are more likely to walk away without choosing. Likewise, too much information to process can cause us to shut down. This is why a Real Estate agent is likely to give you two or three houses to consider, rather than a hundred.
Helps for being decisive:
Be clear on your values and priorities. An awareness of what is important to you, your preferences, wants, and needs can help you make decisions.
Accept that less-than-perfect decisions are, for the most part, the best we can do. Every option comes with pros and cons, and many times we just have to do what seems like a good idea at the time.
Practice making small decisions. Exercise your decision-making muscles to help prepare you for more significant decisions.
Failure is just feedback. Let go of past mistakes—say next time I will, rather than I should have.
Make a visual representation of your options to help you make a decision. Some people find it easier to decide when they can visualize the results.
Build your confidence and strengthen your solid sense of self. Increased confidence will help you pull the trigger on your decisions.
- Do your homework.
- Talk to people who have made similar choices.
- But take post-decision dissonance into account.
- Ask yourself what you would choose if no one else cared.
- Don't let fear drive you, but don't ignore it either.
- Look for alternatives.
- Stop thinking about it for a while.
"Making Your Mind Up" is a song by the British pop group Bucks Fizz. It was the winner of the 1981 Eurovision Song Contest, representing the United Kingdom, and was composed by Andy Hill and John Danter. Released in March 1981, it was Bucks Fizz's debut single, the group having been formed just two months earlier. Following its win in the contest, the song reached No. 1 in the UK and several other countries, eventually selling in excess of four million copies. It launched the career of the group, who went on to become one of the biggest selling acts of the 1980s and featured on their debut, self-titled album.
From 2004 to 2007 the BBC used the name Making Your Mind Up for their Eurovision selection show in honour of the song.
In late 1980, songwriter Andy Hill composed "Making Your Mind Up" with an eye to entering it into the A Song for Europe finals the following year. Working with his then girlfriend, Nichola Martin, a singer and music publisher, she encouraged him to collaborate with musician John Danter, who she could sign up to her publishing company, therefore owning half the rights of the song (Hill was already signed to another publisher). Martin claims that Danter's input was minimal, the song being essentially a Hill composition. In October 1980, they set about recording a demo of the song featuring the vocals of Hill, Martin and Mike Nolan, a singer Martin had worked with before. In December, the song was chosen out of 591 submitted entries to be one of the eight songs performed in the contest. Martin then realised she had to quickly assemble a group to perform the song for the contest, based around her and Nolan. With the song already entered under the name Bucks Fizz, Martin and future group manager, Jill Shirley recruited Cheryl Baker, Bobby G and Jay Aston to the line-up, with Martin herself dropping out. The song was alongside another Hill/Danter composition, "Have You Ever Been in Love", which would be performed by Martin and Hill under the name Gem.
Martin and Shirley secured a recording deal with RCA Records and Hill spent a week at Mayfair Studios in London with the group recording the song and its B-side. Backing vocals on the record were supplied by Alan Carvell, who also went on to be one of two backing singers in the Eurovision performance. The song was co-published by Paper Music, which was a year-old publishing company owned by Billy Lawrie – himself a songwriter and brother of singer Lulu. Choreographer Chrissie Whickham, a former member of dance troupe Hot Gossip, spent two days with the group working on the dance routine.
The lyrics of the song are largely meaningless, although it can be argued that they are about making the decision to commit to a serious relationship.
On 11 March 1981, Bucks Fizz performed "Making Your Mind Up" at the Song for Europe finals and despite being up against favourites and current chart group Liquid Gold, won the contest with ease. From this point, the group undertook much promotion of the song around the UK, including an appearance on Top of the Pops, whereby the single entered the UK charts at 24. It rose to No.5 the following week. As Martin recalls, RCA records were rather indifferent to the group up until now (even releasing the single without a picture sleeve in the UK), but once it entered the charts highly, their attitudes changed suddenly with them agreeing to release an album before they had even won the Eurovision. A promotional video was filmed by the BBC for the Eurovision previews as they had done in previous years. The video depicts the group walking around Harrods department store in London. In line with other previous preview videos, the group do not lipsynch any of the words. This video has never been released on any official Bucks Fizz video or DVD release, being usually substituted by the group's first appearance on Top of the Pops.
The 1981 Eurovision Song Contest was staged on 4 April in Dublin. In a close contest throughout the voting procedure with no less than five different songs taking the lead at various stages, "Making Your Mind Up" managed to secure a victory with 136 points, beating second-placed Germany by a small margin of four.
The song is held in affectionate regard by many Eurovision fans, and is generally considered to be a classic example of a pop song from the Contest. Reaction was less favourable to the group's performance of the song, which was considered to be off-key, and led to much criticism that the members were chosen more for their appearance than vocal ability. In addition, the performance is best remembered for the startling moment when the two male members of the group whipped off the skirts of the two girls, only to reveal shorter skirts underneath, a shrewd touch generally considered to have just swung the balance in their favour, and to be a defining moment in the competition's history. Member Cheryl Baker has since commented on their poor performance stating that she sang the song in a higher key to the rest of the group due to nerves. Mike Nolan has said that on the night the microphones got mixed up, with Baker and Jay Aston singing on the lead microphones which had a higher volume.
"Making Your Mind Up" went to No.1 in the UK following the victory and remained there for three weeks, becoming one of the biggest selling songs of the year. It also saw the group in high demand throughout Europe, with the single hitting No.1 in many countries and charting in the top ten in Australia. The record eventually sold four million copies worldwide. The single began a run of 20 UK hits for Bucks Fizz and was quickly followed up by "Piece of the Action" and debut album, Bucks Fizz. At the end of the decade, "Making Your Mind Up" was No.47 in the UK top selling singles of the 1980s. Despite the success of the song, fans of the group don't consider it to be a good representation of their work, while member Cheryl Baker doesn't rate it as one of their best songs. The song is still well liked by members of the general public and remains the group's best-remembered song. In 2013 BBC Radio 2 listeners voted "Making Your Mind Up" as the best-ever British Eurovision entry.
In the Eurovision, the song was succeeded as a UK entry by "One Step Further" by Bardo, who were managed by the same team as Bucks Fizz. As a winner, it was succeeded by "Ein Bisschen Frieden", sung by Germany's Nicole. The song title has also given the name to the UK selection process for the Eurovision Song Contest.
The now famous skirt rip of the dance routine (which was mirrored by Mick Jagger and Tina Turner at 1985's Live Aid) has appeared in many contests since that time – most notably as part of Latvia's Marie N's performance of "I Wanna", which won for Latvia, in 2002.
"Making Your Mind Up" was spoofed by many artists following its success, with alternative titles: "Me vas a volver loco (You're Going to Drive Me Crazy)" (by Spanish group Parchís), "Rock and Roll Cowboy" by German singer Maggie Mae and "It's Only a Wind Up" by British comedy group Brown Ale.
The song was featured in the British soap opera EastEnders in May 2023 during that year's edition of the Eurovision Song Contest which was being hosted in the United Kingdom on behalf of Ukraine. Cheryl Baker guest starred in the episode which saw her help some of the characters who performed the song on stage at a Eurovision-themed party.
In the UK, "Making Your Mind Up" was certified Gold by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).
Everyone has the occasional "senior moment." Maybe you've gone into the kitchen and can't remember why, or can't recall a familiar name during a conversation. Memory lapses can occur at any age, but aging alone is generally not a cause of cognitive decline. When significant memory loss occurs among older people, it is generally not due to aging but to organic disorders, brain injury, or neurological illness.
Studies have shown that you can help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia with some basic good health habits:
Memory and other cognitive changes can be frustrating, but the good news is that, thanks to decades of research, you can learn how to get your mind active. There are various strategies we can use to help maintain cognitive fitness. Here are several you might try.
1. Keep learning
A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into the habit of being mentally active. Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Many people have jobs that keep them mentally active. Pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, volunteering or mentoring are additional ways to keep your mind sharp.
2. Use all your senses
The more senses you use in learning something, the more of your brain that will be involved in retaining the memory. In one study, adults were shown a series of emotionally neutral images, each presented along with a smell. They were not asked to remember what they saw. Later, they were shown a set of images, this time without odors, and asked to indicate which they'd seen before. They had excellent recall for all odor-paired pictures, and especially for those associated with pleasant smells. Brain imaging indicated that the piriform cortex, the main odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present and the subjects hadn't tried to remember them. So challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar.
3. Believe in yourself
Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when they're exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory, and better when the messages are positive about memory preservation into old age. People who believe that they are not in control of their memory function — joking about "senior moments" too often, perhaps — are less likely to work at maintaining or improving their memory skills and therefore are more likely to experience cognitive decline. If you believe you can improve and you translate that belief into practice, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.
4. Prioritize your brain use
If you don't need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter's birthday party, you'll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things. Take advantage of smart phone reminders, calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often.
5. Repeat what you want to know
When you want to remember something you've just heard, read, or thought about, repeat it out loud or write it down. That way, you reinforce the memory or connection. For example, if you've just been told someone's name, use it when you speak with him or her: "So, John, where did you meet Camille?"