Do you feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t seem to know how to make decisions?
Here’s what you can do to make things better and stop being indecisive, as discussed by experts.
Table of Contents
- Take the smallest step possible
- You have to accept that there is no perfect time to start
- Face your fears
- We need to know our “why” and our “when”
- What options have we identified?
- How might each option play out?
- Which of our options most closely fit our ideal outcome?
- Recognize that the inability to make a decision is rooted in fear
- In order to be more decisive, it can help to think about your options in terms of the pros and cons associated with each
- It’s also important to give yourself a break
- We explore the part of ourselves that can never make up our mind
- We need to take time to think things through carefully
- We not only share our dilemma with friends but we also consult experts
- When we make a decision, we need to have it be OK with ourselves if it turns out not to be the correct one
- It is helpful to think of life as a direction
- Listen to your inner voice
- In order to stop being indecisive, we first need to chunk our options down and think about only one choice at a time
- Improve your thought process
- Support is a wellness practice sure to help you feel invincible around making choices
- Review the facts
- To stop being indecisive, you need to be easy on yourself
- Take the action you secretly desire
- When making a difficult decision, be sure to take a step back and think in the long term
- Weigh out the benefits and drawbacks of each decision
- Carefully examine the available options
- The best way to combat indecisiveness is to list down all options, including their pros and cons
- Obsess over action
- Make decisiveness universal
- Have a daily reminder
- Stay organized
- The best ways to stop being indecisive are first and foremost stop trying to be perfect
- The first step to no longer being indecisive is to know where you want to go
- Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes
- Avoid being impulsive in making decisions
- Stop, breathe, take your time, and approach the issue rationally
- Accept the possibility of making bad choices and telling yourself it’s alright when this happens
- The two things we can acquire that will help us eliminate indecision are education and experience
- Understanding how indecisiveness is affecting your life negatively will help you overcome it
- Increasing your bandwidth for change will decrease your capacity for indecisiveness
- Create a list of pros and cons
- Frequently Asked Questions
Clinical Hypnotherapist and NLP Coach, Goldcrest Hypnotherapy
There is a famous Chinese proverb that ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step’. Whenever you’re feeling indecisive just take the smallest step possible.
Take the smallest step possible
To be successful, you need to open your mind to new possibilities and be willing to take risks, without the promise of success. When you do this, you find it easier to keep going, without sitting on the sidelines deliberating and contemplating when and where to start.
One of the benefits of just taking the smallest first step is it creates momentum – that unseen force that brings new opportunities and resources.
You need to be willing to begin without seeing the whole journey in front of you and be prepared to see how the journey unfolds.
You may be afraid to start, afraid to commit because the path ahead is unclear and the outcome is uncertain. To be able to take that initial first step you need to be willing to explore unknown territories and trust your innate judgment.
All you need to do is take that first small step, then take what feels like logical steps and let the journey take you to its natural destination.
You have to accept that there is no perfect time to start
The best strategy is to just jump right in and get started. You mustn’t put off starting whilst you wait for that ‘sign from above’.
Take action and get started today because tomorrow never comes. You don’t need to know everything to get started, you just need to get involved and learn on the job. There is a nowhere better place to learn than in the university of life.
Indecision generally comes from a fear of failure. If you feel afraid, you need to feel that fear and do it anyway. The key to overcoming your fear is to take the first step. Don’t wait to be perfectly ready because you never will be.
Some of the most important lessons can only be learnt in the process of doing.
When you do something, you get feedback about what works and what doesn’t and you learn a great deal. If you don’t do anything for the fear of doing it wrong, poorly or badly, you will never get any feedback and you will never learn and improve.
You have to get started from wherever you are and start creating momentum. Sometimes the journey will be circular and the truth is there is no starting point on a circle. When you return to your starting point you will be richer, wiser, and have learned a great deal along the way.
So what if you end up where you started? It really doesn’t matter because you’ll have gained so much from the process.
Face your fears
As you continue on your journey from where you are, to where you want to be, you are going to have to face your fears.
Fear is what puts people off taking action. But fear is natural.
Unfortunately, most people let fear stop them from taking action and achieving their dreams but successful people on the other hand feel the fear and don’t let it put them off doing what they need to do.
You need to understand that fear is something to be accepted, experienced, and taken on the journey. Successful people feel the fear and do it anyway. When you acknowledge your fears, you stop them from preventing you from doing what you need to do. Some people would do anything to avoid feeling fear.
Most of what you want in life requires you to take risks and by its very nature, taking risks doesn’t always give you what you want. As the saying goes nothing ventured nothing gained. The only way to find out if you are successful is to actually do it. You need to place some trust in your ability and capability.
If there is a particular task that you keep putting off, because it creates a fear of failure, then try this easy 6 step activity to help you become more decisive:
- Step 1. Close your eyes and imagine, in your mind’s eye, the situation that creates that feeling of fear. Hold that imagine clear in your mind and allow that feeling of fear to build for at least 10 seconds. Be brave and hold that image.
- Step 2. Now, as quickly as you can, replace that first negative image with a new positive image of you being successful in that task. This positive image should generate feelings of courage and confidence. Hold that second positive image clear in your mind and allow those opposite feelings of confidence and courage to build for at least 10 seconds.
- Step 3. Next, quickly recall the first negative image, although this time, recall the image in black and white. Again hold that image for 10 seconds and allow those negative feelings to build again.
- Step 4. Once again, as quickly as you can, recall the second positive image, but this time make it smash through the center of the negative image, causing the negative image to smash into thousands of pieces. Turn up the brightness and hold that positive image in full HD color in your mind’s eye for 10 seconds. Allow those positive feelings to intensify more and more each time.
- Step 5. Keep repeating steps 3 and 4 until either you (1) cannot recall the negative image or (2) the associated feelings of fear.
- Step 6. Open your eyes, take that first small step, and go forth and conquer!
Dr. Kathryn Bingham
CEO, LEADistics, LLC
The root of indecision is often uncertainty—our own or the environment our decision is set in. Let’s consider both of these.
Some of us, by nature, tend to be decisive. We’re comfortable with uncertainty, willing to risk being wrong, and confident in our problem solving should something not go according to plan. Others naturally tend towards a desire for more information before deciding.
When we have confidence in the attributes of potential paths and outcomes, deciding becomes easier. Below are four steps help with decision support:
We need to know our “why” and our “when”
Why is the change important to us and why is it important right now? Something in our life or environment is prompting us to decide. Understanding our ideal outcome and how that benefits us gives us a criterion for comparing our options.
Every bit as important is understanding the ripeness or urgency of the choice.
If we tend to be indecisive, creating a hard deadline for identifying options, evaluating, and choosing is part of a critical strategy.
What options have we identified?
We don’t want to endlessly search for alternatives to choose from. Establish an appropriate number of options to consider, given the impact and urgency of what we need to decide.
We might only need three, such as “yes,” “no,” and “not yet” or path A, path B, and no change.
How might each option play out?
Evaluate each potential choice for risks and benefits. What investment of time and cost must we make to succeed? Imagine the impact if “everything” goes right. How does that affect our quality of life, family, career, or career?
Conversely, consider the worst-case scenario if an alternative is chosen. If the worst happens, how would we recover?
Which of our options most closely fit our ideal outcome?
We might never have a “perfect” fit or complete information. However, most of the time, following a thoughtful process allows us to make better decisions, mitigate risk, and increase the likelihood of positive outcomes.
Even the most decisive of us might falter in an environment of uncertainty. The COVID 19 pandemic offers a perfect example. Significant numbers of employees and organizations have had to adapt how to operate, parents juggle work-from-home with children of all ages present, and businesses have closed with workers either laid off or furloughed. Even with these challenges, we can use the same process of working through the four steps to help us make a sound decision.
Recognize “not deciding” is a choice not to act.
We need to ask ourselves, what are the immediate, near term, and down the road implications of not acting or delaying action? “Not yet” offers a legitimate choice, especially when deferring our “yes” to a specified time gives us a chance to better prepare to take advantage of an opportunity in the future.
We may never take all uncertainty out of decisions. We can, however, give ourselves a solid foundation for choice.
Executive Coach | TEDx Speaker | Certified Conversational Intelligence Coach | Author, Where’d My Confidence Go… and How Do I Get It Back?
Recognize that the inability to make a decision is rooted in fear
Indecisiveness is rooted in fear. Generally, it is fear of making the wrong decision, so instead of risking being wrong, people waffle.
When you get to the root of the fear, there is always a story and that story has a brain pattern associated with it. The story, when you dig into it, has some past incidents that did not go well. Let’s look at a common example.
Something happened in a relationship that you are not happy about where the other person did or said something that did not work for you. This could be in either a personal or professional relationship.
You want to talk to the person, but you have an internal battle with yourself. “Should I talk to them? Or Should I let it go?” is your struggle. Time goes on and you don’t make a decision.
What is the indecisiveness about? Likely there was a time, maybe a long time ago, that you talked to someone about something that you were not happy about and it did not go well. So, your brain has an avoidance brain pattern that got set up in that earlier incident.
Now, when you think about going to talk to this new person about this recent occurrence, your brain unconsciously sends you signals to avoid. So, you struggle and unless you do something to interrupt it, you will not decide and let it go.
The worst part is, this new avoidance incident reinforces the pattern and you keep avoiding and keep struggling with the decision. No decision is a decision.
What can you do to stop the cycle of the internal struggle of indecisiveness? First, recognize that the inability to make a decision is rooted in fear. Ask yourself- what am I afraid of? Then ask yourself- what is the worst that could happen? Then ask yourself, if that happens, will I survive?
When you go through this process, you interrupt the automatic brain pattern. Then when you realize that you will survive, consciously, you can choose what action to take.
Charlene Walters, MBA, Ph.D.
Motivational Speaker, Own Your Other
There are times when we can all be a little indecisive. It’s perfectly normal because it can be difficult to make a choice when we are faced with multiple options.
In order to be more decisive, it can help to think about your options in terms of the pros and cons associated with each
Once you weigh the plusses and minuses, make a choice and stick with it. Don’t doubt yourself or your decision-making abilities. Have confidence that you are smart enough to make the best choice and don’t look back.
Own and commit to your decision.
This practice will cause less anxiety and also increase your inner-confidence about your decision-making moving forward.
Related: Why is Self Confidence Important?
It’s also important to give yourself a break
Some of our indecisiveness has to do with the fact that we live in an extremely busy world that’s always on. Sometimes merely simplifying and disconnecting so that we have a chance to think can help to improve our indecisiveness.
Make sure that you are taking breaks and incorporating downtime throughout your busy day.
Find the proper space so that your brain can work out problems subconsciously. You’ll be surprised at the results and how much your indecisiveness will improve.
Serge Beddington-Behrens, Ph.D.
The main reason why many of us often vacillate, is that we can never know 100% for sure if something that we are about to decide on is actually the correct decision. We always like to be right and we find conflict difficult.
For example, do we take a lower-paid job in a country we adore, or a much higher-paid one in a place we feel less comfortable in. We are in a quandary because both things are important to us. Similarly, when is the best time to buy a piece of real estate? Do we buy now or wait for prices to go down even more?
Here are a few suggestions for some positive steps that we might take to remedy our indecisiveness:
We explore the part of ourselves that can never make up our mind
Perhaps we engage a therapist to assist us. Where does our dithering-ness come from? Our parents? Did some traumatic events occur in our past where perhaps a parent did something ‘bad’, and so this makes us afraid of ever making a decision in case we repeat it?
We need to take time to think things through carefully
Writing down on paper both sides of the argument, and then at the end, we view our written work objectively and make a decision. If we have a friend, they can help by getting us to role play this.
For example, if we are thinking of buying real estate, we will listen to both parties, as well as to our intuition – often, it is the best judge and we need to learn more and more to trust it. The more our intuition and reason marry, the more decisive we will be.
When we make a decision, we need to have it be OK with ourselves if it turns out not to be the correct one
We also remind ourselves that in the larger scope of things, often, what seemed at the time to be incorrect, may, over time, be proved to be bang on.
It also follows that the more we work on becoming more whole and integrated, the more confidence we will have and the less likely we are to vacillate.
Education Director, Amrit Yoga Institute
I find that the underlying root of indecision is the fear of making a mistake. As much as we may say differently, we believe that external failure is a reflection on who we essentially are.
This fear of failure paralyzes us and instead of trusting ourselves to make our own decisions and being willing to learn from them and adjust accordingly, we get stuck at the very beginning. We try to figure out what the “right” answer is that will give us success.
It is helpful to think of life as a direction
You can’t do it wrong as long as you know you are moving in the direction of your own growth and development. If you know you are on the road to your own development, you can’t get it wrong. If you know you are going north, even going south or taking a detour can be a part of going north.
In the same way, making a so-called wrong decision can still be taking you in the direction you want to go. Shifting this attitude from a fear of taking the wrong direction to truly understanding that everything on your life’s journey can take you to the right place can remove that fear and indecision from the root.
Listen to your inner voice
Another related area I have found with my clients and students is that we often actually do know what we want, but we have become so accustomed to ignoring our inner voice and listening to others that we have become habituated to ignoring it.
The voice has become so faint we can barely hear it. For the indecisive person, I recommend beginning to listen to that voice and acting on it even in small areas. Such as what to order for lunch or what time to meet up with a friend. This will build your ability to listen and act on that voice and to trust it.
Even when it seems to lead you off track, you are learning self-trust. You are learning that even if it is a “mistake”, it is yours – it somehow empowers you – and you can use it to keep forging your own direction in life.
Confidence Coach | Hypnotherapist
Decisiveness stems from objectivity. Being indecisive is often a signal that our thought patterns haven’t been fully explored yet. This is great news because by asking a few specific questions you can increase your awareness on the topic you feel indecisive about, become more informed, and stop being indecisive.
In order to stop being indecisive, we first need to chunk our options down and think about only one choice at a time
When you examine an option, ask yourself what would be the most meaningful positive benefits of choosing this option. Be as specific as possible and make an exhaustive list. Once this is complete, then ask what would be the most meaningful negatives or disadvantages of choosing this option.
The key is to make sure you come up with as many answers as the first question, so that you reach a point of balance. If you find you come up with more negatives, go back to the first question and balance it out.
When you reach a point of balance, being fully aware of the positive and negative aspects of the choice, you will be at your most objective and be able to make the wisest choice.
This approach can be used with all the other alternatives until each option is balanced in terms of costs and benefits.
Once this has been completed you can make the best choice from the greatest and most informed position. With time, this process becomes quicker and more automatic and you will naturally stop being indecisive and feel more confident in your decisions.
Improve your thought process
Indecisiveness can be a result of not trusting yourself to make good decisions among too many options. Therefore, one way that I help my patients to work through indecisiveness is not a step by step approach but through changing their thought process.
If you think of your options as experiences rather than final destinations, then you allow yourself more grace and in return lessen the stress and anxiety that often accompanies indecisive individuals. For example, “Where would you like to go on vacation this year?” The options may be Florida, Hawaii, or Jamaica.
If you approach this from the perspective that you will eventually travel to all of these places, you are more likely to make a decision without the overshadowing of second-guessing.
Transforming indecision is a process of presence, support, and self-trust. With mastery of all three, you’ve created a tool kit for clarity and confidence around any decision! If that sounds like a lot, don’t worry, mastery of one at a time will help immensely.
Presence allows you to get out of your fear-based thoughts and into the stillness of the present moment. Anxiety around decision-making derives from thoughts in the past, present or future of “what ifs,” which can lead to stifling procrastination.
If you’re able to relax your physiology, the mind can soften perceived “consequences and fears,” releasing pressure and making it easier to make a call.
Support is a wellness practice sure to help you feel invincible around making choices
Why? Because a single person verbalizing support for you, or contributing an opinion to your decision builds confidence. It allows the decision maker’s support system to outweigh the cost of “failure and loneliness.” K
Knowing there’s a friend/mentor/family member or coach around to cheer you on, even in a seemingly “wrong” decision is invaluable.
building this can be counter-intuitive because one of the quickest ways to trusting yourself is just to MAKE a decision, over and over again, to build the understanding that the actions you take (even wrong ones) outweigh the cost of paralysis.
Every choice made yields reward in the form of accuracy or a lesson to improve. The repetition of making choices builds unwavering self-assurance that you can take the action necessary to move forward! The great news is that both presence and support will aid you in this process.
Executive Recruiter |Content Writer
Being a leader often means making decisions that may not always be endorsed by your entire team. It’s important to be clear and firm with your stance, but of course, you also should listen to the input of your team.
To avoid being “wishy-washy” requires to have sound reasoning that’s backed by past proven results or concrete data–least a good opinion that you and yours may have conjured up over brews at last night’s happy hour.
Once you have made your position known, it’s important to continue to monitor the results of your decision…and, ask others for their opinion of your verdict. It’s important that everyone has a chance to add their input so they feel they had the final word. Of course, all these banter is in jest.
Review the facts
The best way to be indecisive is to review all the facts, research the issue to see if there is any precedence and make your stance in a firm and confident manner.
Understand that no decision will have to be accepted with 100% buy-in/commitment, but holding your ground, unless proven significantly flawed, stay true to your word.
Senior Career Advisor, Velvet Jobs
One big reason people fail at making decisions at the right time is their perfection mindset.
They are afraid to make mistakes or lose something – be it money, fame, or anything else. This stops them from making decisions and taking risks. They are constantly afraid of failure because they leave no room for mistakes.
To stop being indecisive, you need to be easy on yourself
To overcome the fear of failure, you need to replace this perfection mindset with the belief that mistakes are a part of the learning curve. In fact, they are absolutely essential to learn and grow.
When you acknowledge the fact that setbacks will be present no matter what decisions you make, you can plan for them and be more prepared when they eventually occur.
CEO, Robben Media
Take the action you secretly desire
Once you realize there’s risk in taking action and risk in not taking action, it’s easier to move forward with your gut.
For example, let’s say you’re not sure whether to invest in Facebook Ads or hold off. The risk in not investing is you’re stuck at your current customer acquisition and revenue numbers. Plus, you’re not doing anything different to change it. The risk in investing is it doesn’t work out as well as you planned and you’re out your initial investment. But when you run ads another time, you now have a better understanding and more data to optimize results. Plus, even if you do lose money, that lowers your tax bill.
To be more decisive, take the action you secretly desire. Give less weight to the conservative downside. There’s a downside in taking action and not. Better to take action and go after a reward.
CEO, Leda Health Company
Indecisiveness is oftentimes a product of insecurity. If you are indecisive in your work, you are less likely to be successful. Opportunities come and go, and if you don’t seize them, you will be left with no options.
As a female CEO, I have faced some extremely difficult decisions. Indecisiveness makes you look like you lack confidence, which makes people doubt your own decisions.
I have found that at my time at Leda, if I say things with confidence my team is confident in me. If I portray any sense of indecisiveness, it not only takes up extra time, but it also makes your team have a sense of unsureness. I am a firm believer that things will work out no matter what you choose.
When making a difficult decision, be sure to take a step back and think in the long term
Will this decision affect you in more than a week, a month, or a year? If so, start to think of the long term. Imagine yourself in the future and what you want for yourself. If this decision supports that vision, then say yes. If it does not support the life you want to live, do not do it.
Although it may not seem that simple, many times we just get caught up in our heads about what is right and wrong.
Weigh out the benefits and drawbacks of each decision
Before you start to freak out about a decision, take a few deep breaths, and clear your mind. When making decisions, the most important factor to think about is if it will support your goals.
This should clear up decisions in your mind, and it has helped me with mine.
Managing Director, Synergy Business Brokers
Indecisiveness can be triggered by a variety of reasons.Our current society offers so many options they can actually be overwhelming, leaving us unable to choose a course of action at all.
Perhaps our judgment hasn’t been the greatest in the past, leaving us gun shy and lacking faith in our own convictions.
Whatever gets us there, being indecisive can cost us opportunities, and even ruin our relationships. The good news is there are ways to mitigate an inclination toward being indecisive.
Carefully examine the available options
One excellent way to not only reduce indecisiveness but actually use it one’s advantage is also the key to being a good chess player, that being to examine all options available, playing them out mentally to their most logical conclusions.
By developing the capacity to do so, we can reduce indecisiveness by choosing the best option based on the outcomes we have extrapolated.
People become indecisive when they can’t properly weigh the pros and cons of their options. When people rush to arrive at a conclusion at a snap of a finger, it blocks their thought process from performing well. The result is that they can no longer be effective in their decision-making.
The best way to combat indecisiveness is to list down all options, including their pros and cons
For a simple decision-making scenario, people usually find the best option after doing this step. However, that is not the case for more complex events.
Creating a rubric and putting assigned numbers for the pros and cons help evaluate an option’s viability. All benefits have a positive value while all consequences have a negative value. After assigning numbers, add everything together. The option with the highest positive score should turn out to be the best option.
Founder, Happiness Major
The decision is the antidote for indecision. We all know that. But knowing isn’t enough, because knowing isn’t doing. Decisiveness is not about knowledge but consistent action.
Here are four action-oriented tips to stop being indecisive.
Obsess over action
Focus is not enough. We need a healthy obsession with action to overcome indecision. Every time you plan, ask “what is the tangible, visible next action?”. At the end of the day, ask “what did I do today that got results?”.
An action is always tied to a result, even if the result is just progress.
Beware of what looks like action but doesn’t bring results. We make lists, schedule things, draft plans, research projects, and at the end of the day realize we did nothing.
Scheduling and planning are deciding to act in the future. Research is taking in information to decide how to act. Don’t give up thinking, planning, researching, etc. but do not mistake them for action.
Make decisiveness universal
How many times have you picked up a menu and sat there spinning for 10 minutes?
How you do anything is how you do everything. We tend to think of decisiveness in the context of leadership or business. But it’s part of your identity. It touches all areas of your life. Someone who’s honest and kind in their personal life is usually honest and kind in their professional life. Decisiveness is no different.
Next time you’re out to dinner or settling in for Netflix try making your decision in less than two minutes.
Have a daily reminder
The quality of your morning determines the quality of your day. Read a powerful quote focused on action every morning. This primes the mind and sets the tone for the rest of the day. Here’s one that I read every day.
“Life is a checkerboard and the player opposite you is time. If you hesitate before moving or neglect to move promptly, your men will be wiped off the board by time. You are playing against a partner who will not tolerate indecision!” – Napoleon Hill, Think and Grow Rich
Decision-making is hard work. Psychologists have identified decision fatigue and the paradox of choice. Decision fatigue is when the decision-making mind gets worn out, like a muscle.
The paradox of choice refers to the buildup of anxiety when deciding between many options. This anxiety leads to decision paralysis.
Staying organized reduces the cognitive burden of decision making. Keep track of what needs to be done and what your priorities are. This can be as simple as an updated task list and calendar. When an organized system is in place it acts as an external mind. It makes the decision for us. “Looks like I have a meeting at ten and then I need to draft the quarterly budget.”
Related: How to Be More Organized
You’ve got a few tips for overcoming indecisiveness. Now make the decision to take consistent action.
Founder and CEO, Mavens & Moguls
In business, being decisive is an important quality. You rarely have all the information or data you need to be 100% confident but to keep things moving forward and your team on track you need to become comfortable with some uncertainty.
The best ways to stop being indecisive are first and foremost stop trying to be perfect
Perfection does not exist so do not get paralyzed trying to find it. The key is to make the best decision with what you have and know you can pivot or course-correct down the road when you know or learn more.
Stop “should-ing” yourself, when you stop trying to please or impress and worrying about what everyone else will think, the best decision often becomes clear.
Related: Why Done Is Better Than Perfect?
Rob Magill, MA, ICAADC, CCPG, DOT-SAP, LPCTBHI
Certified Telebehavioral Health Practitioner, Magill Counseling
The first step to no longer being indecisive is to know where you want to go
You are probably thinking “if I knew that, I wouldn’t be indecisive!”. Well, maybe. Here is what I mean:
Imagine where you want to be – in an idealized, perfect, and unrealistic world – 5, 10, or even 15 years in the future. Don’t think about what you think will happen. Think about what would be perfect. And connect an emotional “why” to it. So you want to make 1 million dollars a year. Ok. But why? So you don’t have financial stress? So you can donate to charities? So you can help your family? Make it important and personal to you.
Then think about where you are now, and set a goal for 3 months out: if you worked hard for 3 months, how could your life be more like the life you imagined? And develop several daily things you can do to get there.
Now, specifically for the indecision: which option will get you the closest to your ideal vision? Go with that. If there are two equal choices, which one would you enjoy more? Go with your first pick.
When we take this approach, we are automatically ruling out many options that don’t fit us, leaving only options in line with who we are and where we want to go.
There can be multiple good options with no right or wrong answer. And that is ok! Have some fun with it and find a way to enjoy the results of the choice – i.e. pick the one that you would enjoy the most!
VP of Marketing, Red Stag Fulfillment
We cannot avoid being indecisive sometimes, especially if it is a big and important decision to make. As for me, especially in business, when I feel that I cannot decide on a matter, I seek help from my colleagues and take their advice.
Thinking carefully is part of our actions. That being said, here are two more tips on how to stop being indecisive:
Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes
Mistakes are part of the learning process and it’s a common thing. Every mistake has room for improvement. We must open ourselves to the possible consequences of the decisions we are trying to make.
Avoid being impulsive in making decisions
Sometimes people make decisions without thinking of what this could bring. Consider your past experiences in making choices and analyze how much turned out well.
There’s no problem is deciding quickly especially for urgent matters but always look back at your previous decisions and gut feels.
Head of Content Marketing, ResumeLab
I’ve found that my indecisiveness often goes hand-in-hand with my leftover perfectionism. While it just might be possible to be one during childhood, as the stakes are much lower and getting straight As is not implausible, life quickly teaches us that perfectionism is not only unrealistic but very counterproductive.
Stop, breathe, take your time, and approach the issue rationally
I still battle with the aforementioned quite often, as it has surely greatly contributed to my indecisiveness. So, while taking into account emotions and gut instinct, it is absolutely essential to stop, breathe, take your time, and approach the issue rationally.
Granted time isn’t always a luxury we possess, however, if the matter at hand happens to be a major life milestone, I’ve found that making a list of pros and cons for each choice has served me best.
Sitting down and weighing out the optimal choice may seem traditional, however, there is great power in putting it all down on paper (vs. just juggling it out in your mind).
It simply behooves you to approach it as such, because while making a spontaneous, in the spur of the moment decision may feel fantastic, it is rarely wise.
This method is useful also because it makes you avoid buyer’s remorse. Even if ultimately it becomes obvious that it was the wrong choice, it’ll give you peace of mind, knowing that you chose the best option, given the information and circumstances present at that time.
Ultimately, you want to take the emotion out of the process and approach it impartially. Your future self might just thank you for it later.
Career Expert, Zety
Being indecisive, especially in professional life, might be a real obstacle. It may bring you unnecessary frustration, annoy your colleagues, delay your projects and work tasks, and decrease your productivity.
Very often, indecisiveness comes from a lack of confidence and fear of making the wrong choice.
But here’s the thing – we are humans, and we make mistakes.
Accept the possibility of making bad choices and telling yourself it’s alright when this happens
Learn from your mistakes instead of calling them failures. Now, try that a few times. When you have a decision to make, make a quick analysis of what’s the best choice here. Then listen to what your gut has to say and make a decision, don’t linger on it.
Accepting that not every single decision in your life will have a positive result allows you to accept yourself as a human being and build up your confidence.
After a while of practicing quick decision making, your self-confidence will get a nice boost. From that point on, you’ll become more positive about the choices you make, and you will either get positive results from your decisions or invaluable lessons that you will accept with gratitude.
Founder, Investor Deal Room
When we are indecisive, it is often rooted in a fear of the consequences of taking any certain path.
The two things we can acquire that will help us eliminate indecision are education and experience
In some cases, educating ourselves on the topic can alleviate the uncertainty, and most often this involves looking outside of our own brains for the answer.
For example, if a business owner is unsure about which product to add to his catalog, while he could spend weeks debating with himself or his team about which option is the best, by simply surveying his existing customers he will have gotten outside of his own head, learned more about the issue at hand, and reduced risk in his decision.
In the other case, when we don’t yet have the experience to know what to expect, no amount of education will provide the certainty we feel we need to move forward.
In these cases, often the only thing to do is to gather our courage and make peace with the possibility of making a wrong decision.
Before taking this action, a useful exercise is to take stock of the actual cost of the action we are about to take.
- What will this actually cost me if I’m wrong? What will I lose?
- What if I’m right? What do I stand to gain?
We do well in these cases to remember the quote, “Fortune favors the bold”. For it is only by bold action that we will be able to learn the lessons necessary to make better decisions in the future.
Founder, PAAPR, LLC
Understanding how indecisiveness is affecting your life negatively will help you overcome it
As a person that used to be indecisive by nature, I can tell you learning to overcome it took some practice and time but is very achievable.
I started by looking back at all of the opportunities I missed out on due to my indecisiveness. Rather than dwelling on my past, I used it as a learning tool. Not only did it teach me how being indecisive can prevent me from moving forward, it also taught me how to make better decisions.
You must understand the difference between a mistake and a bad decision. The first time you make an unfavorable decision, it is a mistake. The second time you make that same or a very similar decision, it is a bad decision.
When you analyze the consequences of a mistake, you get a better understanding of which of your efforts are working and which are not.
Increasing your bandwidth for change will decrease your capacity for indecisiveness
Our best efforts don’t always work out. You may do everything possible to achieve a certain goal but still fail. Life has so many uncertainties and variables that can contribute to failures.
When you recognize the inevitability of mistakes and failures as part of the ongoing experiment of life, then you can accept them in your life.
Accepting and learning from mistakes and failures will eliminate the pressure of decision-making. So in order to move forward in life, you must first make the decision to do so.
Owner, Everything in its Place®
Create a list of pros and cons
When you have trouble making decisions, you want to gather all the information you have and try the Ben Franklin Close.
Put the items you want to decide on the left side of two columns. These columns might be titled Advantages / Disadvantages or Pros / Cons. These might be benefits of buying a product or software or using a certain method, or they could just be details about what competitive products can do.
On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the highest, rate each piece of information. Rate the two-column separately deciding solely on that one point. To make it easier, you might want to rate all the advantages first, and then rate the disadvantages. When you’re done, you can total the advantages vs. disadvantages and see which comes out higher.
In case your decision does not work well, have a Plan B to adjust your original decision. Any decision you make is better than being undecided. Plan B can course correct.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes a person to be indecisive?
Indecisiveness often stems from a variety of factors. Some of the most common causes include:
• Fear of making the wrong decision: When faced with a choice, people may worry about the potential negative consequences or regret that could come with making the wrong decision. This fear can lead to indecision.
• Overthinking: Analyzing every detail and possible outcome of a choice can become overwhelming, causing a person to become stuck in a loop of constant rumination and indecision.
• Perfectionism: When a person strives for the perfect choice or outcome, they may struggle to make a decision as they wait for the ideal option to present itself.
• Lack of self-awareness: Being unsure of personal values, priorities, or desires can make it difficult for a person to know what they truly want, leading to indecisiveness.
How can I identify the root cause of my indecisiveness?
To identify the root cause of your indecisiveness, consider these steps:
• Reflect on your thoughts and emotions: Pay attention to your thought patterns and feelings when faced with a decision. This will help you recognize any fears, perfectionist tendencies, or overthinking that may be contributing to your indecision.
• Examine past experiences: Think back to previous decisions you’ve made and the outcomes that followed. Identify any patterns or recurring themes that may be influencing your current indecisiveness.
• Clarify your values and priorities: Understanding what matters most to you can provide a solid foundation for decision-making. Spend time reflecting on your core values and priorities to better understand what drives your choices.
• Seek feedback: Discuss your indecisiveness with a trusted friend, family member, or therapist. They can provide valuable insight and help you uncover any underlying issues or patterns.
Is indecisiveness a lack of confidence?
Indecisiveness can be related to a lack of confidence, but it’s not always the case. While low self-confidence may make it difficult for someone to trust their judgment and make decisions, other factors like fear of failure, overthinking, and perfectionism can also contribute to indecision. It’s essential to explore the root cause of your indecisiveness to effectively address it and cultivate more confidence in your decision-making abilities.
Is being decisive more attractive?
Being decisive can be seen as an attractive quality because it conveys confidence, clarity, and the ability to take action. Decisive individuals are often perceived as strong leaders who can navigate challenging situations with poise.
However, it’s important to strike a balance between decisiveness and open-mindedness. Being too rigid or impulsive in decision-making can also be unattractive. Ultimately, a healthy mix of decisiveness and flexibility, combined with thoughtful consideration of the available options, is the most attractive approach to decision-making.
Is indecisiveness a weakness?
Indecisiveness can be perceived as a weakness because it may lead to missed opportunities, inefficiency, or increased stress. However, it’s important to recognize that everyone experiences indecision at some point in their lives.
While chronic indecisiveness can be problematic, occasional indecision is a natural part of the decision-making process. It’s essential to address the underlying causes of indecisiveness and develop strategies to improve your decision-making skills rather than simply labeling it as a weakness.
Can therapy or counseling help with indecisiveness?
Therapy or counseling can be an effective way to address indecisiveness. A trained professional can help you explore the underlying causes of your indecision, such as fear of failure, perfectionism, or low self-confidence. They can also assist you in developing coping strategies to manage anxiety and stress related to decision-making.
Furthermore, therapy can help you gain a better understanding of your values and priorities, providing a strong foundation for making more confident and informed decisions. Engaging in therapy or counseling can be an empowering step toward overcoming indecisiveness and fostering personal growth.
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