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Derick Hasson

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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.

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How to make your mind up?


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