Decisions, Decisions. For some people, making a decision can be completely paralyzing. Decisions can feel like the hardest task at hand, which can lead to them never making a decision on even the most menial of things. Whether it’s deciding something small like what to wear to choose or what to have for dinner or something big like where to live post-grad or what career path to choose, decisions can be stressful. However, decisions are important. Making a decision allows you to move forward in life and to leave behind unwanted literal and figurative baggage.

But why do decisions cause so much anxiety?

Fear of commitment? Fear of missing out? Fear of failure?

For some, it’s the fear of pursuing something for nothing. Some people need to see the validity of their actions. They need to make sure that every decision is helping them achieve their goals or teaching them a lesson. Yet, that doesn’t happen unless they commit.

For others, it just simply feels overwhelming to have to choose one thing when there are so many options.

Here are some ways that can help you begin to make decisions more easily: 

1). Remember it’s not the end all be all.

When you make a decision, you’re never truly stuck with that decision. Sure, some situations might take longer to get out of, but eventually you’ll have the opportunity to pivot. For example, if you’re on a diet and decide to eat a slice of pizza. That doesn’t mean you are going to gain all the weight you just lost back. In this scenario you’ll have another chance to make a different choice at the next mealtime. Similarly, if you choose to accept a corporate job because the money is good and it seems like a solid opportunity at the time, but when you get there, you’re miserable, doesn’t mean that you have to stay there. You can just use it as a learning opportunity and apply for new jobs. While the latter example is more labor intensive, it seeks to illustrate that even in a situation that takes time to get out of, you’re never stuck.

2). Use every decision as a stepping-stone

. We all know Rome wasn’t built in a day, or with a single decision. Sit down and seriously consider the long term and short term goals that you have for yourself. Think if the investment of your time and efforts will help you get there.

3). Decide once, decide twice.

For some people, deciding on the day-to-day activities prove to be the toughest. Whether it’s what movie to watch, or what foods to eat, it can feel challenging to make a choice because they’re worried about the outcome. However, some find it comforting to remember they can always try that other restaurant next time, or if this isn’t what they hoped it would be, they don’t have to come back. Most decisions are not permanent.

4). Set reasonable deadlines.

Setting deadlines for your decisions are imperative. Practice with the smaller decisions. What to make for dinner? Allow yourself 5 minutes to decide and then stop thinking about it. You have made your decision, practicing the “no turning back” rule with smaller decisions will help when it’s time to make the larger decisions.  Stay consistent and then this will start to feel like second nature.

5). Research adequately.

Being indecisive isn’t completely unproductive. It can allow a person to become an extensive researcher.  For example, someone who is indecisive might spend hours researching every menu of several different restaurants when choosing a place to go out to eat. The benefit of this is that when they arrive at whatever restaurant they choose, they will likely have in mind exactly what they want to eat so they’ll spend less time having to look at the menu.

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