How many times have you been unable to make a simple decision?
It’s not that you were tired, hungry, cranky, or otherwise indisposed. You were just frozen, unable to choose between a variety of options. We have all been there.
The source of decision paralysis lies in anxiety! The best ways I have found to conquer decision paralysis are through changing a few negative thinking habits, and harnessing my little wins for future success.
Begin at the Beginning
Too often I am stuck at the sight of a decision, because my mind is racing 8 steps ahead previewing everything that could go wrong. The task is to shut down the anxious thoughts, and approach only the beginning.
Don’t let yourself get carried down the line. The end will figure itself out. Focus only on the first step.
Another tweak to unhelpful thinking habits, is to halt this classic anxious thought process. It usually rears its ugly head in a situation like this:
“Gosh, I’m so excited for this new event. I can’t wait to socialize with the other moms. Let’s see. What should I wear? I have the nice blouse, that’s nice. But what if they are all wearing jeans and simple tees? I’ll look like an uppity, aloof, snob! No one will be my friend! I’ll be stuck awkwardly standing alone all day! Any conversation group I try to enter will die, as if I’m carrying the conversation plague!”
That’s the anxiety talking, and its native language is catastrophy. When was the last time you remember seeing someone slightly overdressed for an event? I’m guessing never. People are not as interested in you as you think. Take that as both a blessing and a warning.
Narrow your choices
My least favorite part of dining at The Cheesecake Factory (other than the calorie-hit) is the Russian novel of a menu. Seriously, that thing needs an index and a table of contents.
Limit the variety. If the multitude of options before you is causing you more stress, then less really is more.
- Create a personal uniform.
- Meal plan using a Top 40 recipes list.
- Choose only one category to consider ie. salads instead of the entire menu, comedies instead of any movie on Netflix.
Build Confidence in Your Decision Making
I’m an analyzer, an INTJ, I understand researching an issue ad infinitum. You begin to think the key to making a bulletproof decision lies in having every single piece of information to consider.
“I’m going to research this, look at it from 10 different angles, and think the problem to death. That will make me confident enough to make a decision!”
False, false, false. The longer you analyze, the less sure you become. That is where doubt creeps in. That is the breeding ground for second guessing.
Only one thing will make you confident in your decision making: having made decisions. Celebrate your little wins!
Looking for more simple mindset changes to boost productivity? Check out 4 Phrases to Create Success.
Yes! to all of this – I am actually renown for my indecisiveness amongst my friends, which I’ve been trying to work on lately.
Let me tell you: YES to all of these!
Another thing that helps me: admitting to yourself that even if you make the “wrong” choice, that doesn’t have to be a bad thing – it helps prepare you for similar choices by discovering what you do and do not want 🙂
That’s a really helpful tip, Saar. You’re right! A lot of the “wrong” choices we agonize over don’t matter in the long run anyways 🙂