Sometimes we get stuck trying to make a decision. We have a choice to make, but it doesn’t seem simple. We flip from one option to another and can’t make up our minds. Here are some tools that may help.
Firstly, we need to make sure that we are not making a decision based on what other people will think. There will always be someone that will disapprove, and someone else that will approve. It’s none of their business. It’s our life. And we must make our decisions based on what we want to do with our own life and let others be responsible for the choices they make in theirs.
We often get stuck with indecision because we are afraid that we will regret our choice, at some later date. We ask ourselves questions such as “What if I leave my boyfriend and then realize I have made a mistake”, or “What if I change jobs, but then I don’t like the new job and regret leaving my old one?”.
We need to realize there is no satisfactory answer for these types of questions. This is because we do not have any way of knowing what the future will bring. Our brains will search for an answer, but there isn’t one. So our mind just starts looping in confusion.
If we hear ourselves asking these types of questions, then we need to focus on asking better questions. A better question could be, “How can I find out more about the new job, so I can make a more informed decision?” This kind of question has an answer and is useful in helping us make our choice.
Decisions usually involve choosing between two things. For example; should you choose red or blue, should you take the new job or stay with the old job, should you leave the current relationship or stay. The thing about these choices is that there is usually no perfect answer. There are good and bad sides to each choice. That is why we are stuck. If one option was obviously amazingly better than the other, with no downside, we would not be struggling to decide.
If we accept that there is good and bad about each choice than we can also accept that either choice will be fine. There is no wrong decision. All we need to do, is to be happy with our reason for making our decision. Which ever choice we make, we will learn something and experience something. And often we will get an opportunity to make a different choice at some time in the future.
Listing out the pros and cons of each choice can help. But the best thing we can do is to look at our values and look at our long-term goals. Which choice is going to get us closer to our long term goals and also matches our values.
If we don’t know what our long-term goals or values are, then doing work on these may help us make our decision.
Sometimes we get stuck in indecision because it is easier than making a decision. The human brain is wired to seek pleasure, avoid pain and do as little as possible. And it does not like change. This is one of the reasons we end up doing things like staying in crappy relationships, or unfulfilling jobs. And it is also a reason we fail to go after our dreams. If we make a decision that involves doing something different, then it will take effort, it will be change, and it will invite risk.
For example, if we start a new job, we will have to learn new skills, make new friends and change our routines. It is all challenging. Our brain will sometimes keep us paralysed in indecision because we are afraid. And it seems so much easier to be confused than to make a decision and deal with the change.
But there is a price to pay for indecision. It saps our energy and stops us from stepping up into our life. We feel discontent, we feel confused, we take no action. By comparison when we make decisions, we move forward, we learn new things, we grow, we create.
One of the best pieces of advice I have been given, regarding decisions, is to do your research, make a choice and never look back.
Written by Lynda Timperley. Btch, Dip Psyc, Cert Life Coaching
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