How often do you find yourself thinking long and hard about decisions? Most of the time, they are probably decisions that don’t hold any significant value or meaning regardless of if you make them or not.
I am a person who struggles with making decisions from time to time. Actually… a lot of the time.
In fact, it took me fifteen minutes to even make it this far in my writing. All of these thoughts kept coming into my mind if I was going to talk about the “right” topic, if I “felt” comfortable enough talking about decision making, and if I “knew” what I was actually talking about.
The more that I thought about these questions and concerns, the more stressed and anxious I became. Admittingly, these questions and concerns sometimes leave me feeling paralyzed while having made no progress at all.
Indecision and making choices are something that we all struggle with. There is no one person who doesn’t think about the many possibilities of making a decision before actually making it. As humans, we have a tendency to want to get things right the first time so that we don’t need to spend any more time on a given task than we need to.
But have you ever thought about how this impacts your life? Have you ever thought about how your indecisiveness has the potential and ability to increase your stress levels and anxiety? Have you ever thought about how much time of your precious life you are wasting simply by questioning what pair of jeans you should wear to work?
The truth of the matter is, I used to be a lot worse when it came to decision making. Am I perfect and crystal clear now when it comes to being more decisive? Absolutely not. And while it will never be easy to make decisions, I have found 4 things that have helped me to be more decisive in life that I want to share with you.
1. Understand your hesitation.
Before anything, it’s important to know what your reasoning is for the hesitation in the first place. What is stopping you from making the decision? Is it because you are feeling scared and not capable or prepared to make a confident decision? Is it because you are worried about the consequences if you fail? Worst of all, is it because you are worried about not making the perfect decision?
You have heard it before and you will most definitely hear it again, but there is no such thing as perfection.
Most of the time when we struggle with making decisions, we struggle because we are worried about perfection. We want to make the perfect decision. We want to be seen as perfect in the eyes of others. And we want to look at ourselves as being perfect. So much so, that we often allow this pursuit of perfection to stop us from progressing in the first place. If we don’t have to make a decision, then surely nobody can judge us for making the wrong one.
But is this going to lead you towards a better life? Is the risk of making no decision at all going to bring you any closer towards living a better life? No. So by all means, stop letting your fears determine how decisive you are. Everybody fails, but only those who are willing to fail until they get it right are the ones who are willing to succeed.
2. Trust your gut instinct.
Another way to be more decisive and to simplify your life is to simply trust your gut instinct.
Simon Sinek says “Leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds.”
This is why your teachers always told you to go with your gut decision if you didn’t know the answer to a question. When you trust your gut, you are usually right.
The part of the brain that is responsible for gut decisions is called the limbic brain. The limbic brain is responsible for all of our feelings such as trust, loyalty, and it is also responsible for our behavior and ability to make decisions. When we trust our gut, we are trusting our limbic brain.
Everybody’s ability to be more decisive is going to rely solely on their beliefs and on their values. The gut decision that some make probably isn’t going to be the same gut decision that you or I make. It doesn’t mean that others are necessarily wrong or that we are wrong. It simply means that we just have different beliefs and opinions.
Regardless, it’s important to follow your guy, aka, your limbic brain. It’s been with you through thick and thin, and it has guided you to where you are today. Odds are, it’s probably going to know what’s best for you based on your beliefs.
3. Have confidence in yourself.
Confidence is the key to success and to all happiness in your life. If you do not show confidence in your ability and in the decisions that you make, then you are never going to feel worthy, fulfilled, or satisfied.
Trust me, I know that it’s a lot easier said than done. If we all knew how to feel more confident, wouldn’t we already do so? Here are two things that I do to help me build confidence, and in turn, be more decisive in making decisions.
- Small decisions: If a small decision needs to be made – one without little risk or reward – I will try my best to just act. I don’t want to waste valuable time trying to decide on something that doesn’t really matter.
An example: if I go to the store and want to buy something for dinner, I could sit there for fifteen minutes before even realizing how much time had passed. To help with this, I try to follow my first desire, grab, and go. I will get whatever food I went to the store to get and won’t give myself the opportunity to browse other options.
- Big decisions: Big decisions are a little bit of a different story. If a decision needs to be made that has high risk and high reward, surely you are going to want to get it right.
For these decisions, I like to envision myself as successful and bigger in general. It’s weird, but in my mind, I imagine being twice the size of everybody else, I imagine myself as being stronger than anybody else, and I imagine the success that I am going to achieve. For me, it just helps me to puff out my chest a little bit more, be more decisive, and take action.
We make life and decisions far more complicated than they need to be. Ask yourself something. Is a decision going to impact you in any significant way? If so, envision your success and take action. If not, take action because it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
4. Start with WHY.
Speaking of Simon Sinek, follow his advice and start with WHY. What is your WHY in life? WHY do you do the things that you do? What is your purpose in life? How is your WHY going to positively impact both you and those around you?
Everybody has different beliefs and values. As long as your beliefs don’t cause direct harm to others, there is no need to care about anybody else’s opinions about your beliefs. Take action towards the things that you want to achieve no matter what others think. You have your life to live and others have their life to live.
Clarifying the purpose behind any decision you make is the first step towards taking action in the right direction. Knowing your WHY will allow you to take purposeful action that leads to results that align directly with your beliefs. Not only that, but the more meaningful your why is and the decisions you make, the more you are able to combat procrastination and eliminate any of the distractions that arise.
Be More Decisive
It’s important to be more decisive. The more decisive you are, the simpler your life will become. There are still going to be times where it’s difficult to make decisions with the utmost confidence, but the more you practice decisive decision making, the easier it will become. These tips will help you on your journey.