I know first-hand what it’s like to be the person saying ‘I don’t really mind what we do/where we go’ over and over as you try to decide on plans with your equally indecisive friend. Those stalemates just eat up time and accomplish nothing, and you’re still left with a decision to be made. But guess what? You weren’t born indecisive and it’s not just ‘who you are’. You made yourself indecisive with practice, and here’s the great news – you can reverse it the same way.
Here are some great ways to practice being more decisive. You got this!
People always say “start small” but they’re never very specific. What do you notice yourself being indecisive about? What food to buy at lunch, what movie to watch at home, what to wear today? Whatever the problem, it’s good to think about why you’re having a problem. Are you worried you’ll make the wrong choice? Are there too many good options that you wish you could choose them all? Do you really not care about the outcome so you have no motivation to decide? I’ve been there. I know how it is.
Overwhelmed By Choice
When reading a menu, I’d be torn between all the best-sounding dishes. It took me AGES to pick my meal at a restaurant. So I started telling myself this: Okay, so I’m torn between these three things because I wish I could have them all. Well, I can have them all – eventually; I just need to pick one right now, and I can try the others next time. Now, I choose my food much more quickly and I already have a plan for the next time I go back to that place.
If it’s ‘what movie should we watch?’ or ‘where should we go for dinner?’ the same problem arises – it’s a bit like the paradox of choice. You need to narrow down the choices. Don’t reply ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I don’t mind’. How about “I’m not sure what I’d like for dinner – what about X or Y?” Throw some specific options out there so that you’re no longer choosing from all of the restaurants/movies/etc. ever – you now have a simpler choice to make together.
Try it out and make some snap decisions. Let yourself see how easy it can be. “What movie do you want to watch tonight?” “Let’s watch Crazy Rich Asians.” “What should we do at the weekend?” “The weather looks good – let’s pack a picnic and go to the park.” Catch yourself before you start to be so apathetic about everything, and change it up. If you really don’t care about the outcome, just pick something! After all, what’s the big deal if you’re really so indifferent?
I used to make decisions by flipping a coin – hear me out. Some time ago, I had a very important decision to make and I really didn’t know what to do. I had two options and I made a pros and cons list, but nothing seemed to get me closer to that all important decision. Because it mattered so much to me, I was scared of making the wrong choice and regretting it. Sound familiar? Well, someone told me to flip a coin and do whatever it decided. It felt terrifying to put my life in the hands of a coin flip, but I was out of options, so I agreed. As ‘tails’ was revealed and my choice was made, my face lit up and I smiled with relief.
You see, the secret of making decisions with a coin isn’t following the result regardless. It is realising how you feel once the decision has been made for you. Had I been upset or disappointed at the result, I would have known in my heart that I really wanted the other thing. It’s amazing how much you suddenly know about what your heart wants after a coin flip!
Is the pressure you feel to make a good decision in the moment, the very thing holding you back? Is this something you could have researched or thought about earlier? Going back to my stress of choosing food in a restaurant, my other strategy is to look at the menu ahead of time. Now, I always look online for the menu to decide what I’m going to have. Even if I just narrow it down to two options, I no longer spend hours trying to choose an appetiser.
Is this a decision you know you’ll have to make? Plan ahead and weigh things up whenever you can. It will save you the stress and panicking later.
Is it something trivial like what to have for dinner each night? Write up a meal plan for the week so that you don’t get home from work and spend a solid hour staring at the contents of your cupboards and fridge. Worried about what to wear? Check the weather and lay out your clothes the night before (or for the whole week if you need to).
Trust Your Gut
Always worried you’ll make the wrong decision and regret it later? Or worried you’ll pick something that other people won’t like? Don’t let your inner people-pleaser slow down your progress! We got this!
It’s very likely that you’re where you’re at because of years of not trusting your gut and your own decisions. We all make mistakes and we don’t always make good choices, but you can’t let them hang over your head forever.
Does someone always tell you that you’re so indecisive? We are so much more affected than we think, by the things people tell us about ourselves. If people tend to label you the ‘indecisive one’, change your reputation – “well, I used to be, but I’m really working on it now.” Make it clear that you don’t need that kind of negativity and you’re determined to power on positively.
Now, you need some practice in trusting your gut. Those snap decisions I talked about earlier – flipping coins, and just going for it – this is what you need to practice. Then, after you’ve made your decision, look back and tell yourself that you did a good job and you’re becoming more decisive. Be kind to yourself and recognise that you were right to trust your instincts. Everything comes down to practice and positivity.
Analysing The Outcome
Sometimes we just want all of the information to know that we’re making the ‘right’ decision. Spoiler: we can’t always know what the right thing is. Stop trying to be perfect and instead, get things done. Give yourself a deadline and a window of time to analyse the effects of your decision.
Visualise the outcomes. How does each one make you feel? What does your heart really want? Will this decision affect you down the line – in a year, in ten years? We can’t see the future or the consequences of our actions, but we can use our imagination. Once you reach your time limit/deadline, don’t obsess over the possibilities too much. Get that decision made.
Not making any decision at all, is a decision. I often think of a quote from the TV Show YOU – “Would you rather do something and be wrong, or do nothing and be wrong?” And remember, we tend to regret the things we didn’t do more than things we did. If you make a mistake, you can learn from it to help you next time.
Big Life Decisions
You also have to accept that sometimes you can’t just make a snap decision. Some things are bigger than a coin flip (though that actually worked wonders for me) and you might need some help from other people. Asking for help doesn’t make you any less of a decision maker, it means that you recognise that this is a big deal, and you could really use some advice. Make sure that you really do want advice, and when you get it, really listen. Too often, people ask for advice when they already know what they’re going to do.
In the end, know that we don’t always make the right call, but sometimes you can’t know what’s right until afterwards. If you have a decision to make, use what you know about all of the options, and trust yourself to make it. Don’t beat yourself up if it turns out badly – you’re only human and you’ll learn from this for next time.
Which decisions do you struggle with most? Let me know in the comments if you need any help getting to a decision…