Is “um” one of your most uttered phrases? Do you let your partner decide what you’re having for tea, not out of generosity, but uncertainty? Do you not understand what people are saying when they talk about their ‘gut instinct’? If so, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re indecisive. You probably already know this by now though, since being indecisive can seriously impact your life in a number of ways. Because indecision isn’t limited to just the small things, like what to wear or what to eat. It can have a big impact on your work life too. If you find yourself struggling with making choices of any size, the following tips will help you become more decisive and in control.
Set Yourself a Time Limit
If you’re indecisive, you may struggle to make simple decisions in hours, days or even weeks. It’s easy to spend time over-analysing every single choice available to you, and weighing up the potential pros and cons of each. But more often than not, it’s better to just make the decision and go with it. Because overthinking decisions wastes our time, and it can even be bad for our health too.
Maybe you don’t find yourself agonising over decisions, but instead you put them off altogether until the last possible minute. Unfortunately, procrastinators fare no better than overthinkers in the health department, as they tend to be at higher risk of heart conditions such as cardiovascular disease.
So setting yourself a time limit isn’t just good for decision making, but your health too. When it comes to setting your limit, the choice is yours. There’s no real right or wrong answer. Taking time to think about your decisions can be beneficial, especially for important ones. But making snap decisions is a great way to save time, and they tend to work out just as well as long thought out ones do. If the thought of making an important decision in a short space of time terrifies you, the best thing to do is start small. It’ll get you used to making your mind up quickly, but without the consequences of a big decision.
Think About the Advice You Give Others
I always find myself giving advice to others when they have a dilemma. But when I find myself facing a crossroads and a decision needs to be made, I have no idea what to do. And I know I’m not alone. It can really be hard to take your own advice. This is because when we give advice to others, we’re being as supportive as we can be. We believe in our friends who come to us for advice, and we want them to do the same. But we struggle when it comes to believing in ourselves. We know that we’re not perfect, and we know our flaws better than anyone else. So making a decision can be tough when we don’t believe we have what it takes to succeed with either option.
As sad and negative as this may sound, this isn’t necessarily the end of the world. If you recognise that you don’t believe in your abilities, this means that you have the opportunity to learn how to start believing. Take the time to understand where your negativity is coming from. And make sure you remember to celebrate yourself and your accomplishments, because you deserve it. If you still find yourself struggling to take your own advice, try the best friend method. Imagine that your closest friend comes to you with the exact same dilemma you have. Use the advice that you’d give to them and apply it to yourself. As well as being a great way to make a decision, it also means that you’ll gain that much-needed belief in yourself that you need to succeed.
Don’t Aim for Perfection
This advice might seem odd. Surely we should all be trying to do the best we can in everything we do? Well, this isn’t actually the case. Aiming for perfection is the root cause of many people’s indecision. Being a perfectionist means that you will find yourself agonising over all the different options available to you. You may fear that if you pick the wrong one, you’ll fail both yourself and others. So you end up doubting every decision you make, and dithering too long over which path to take. And often by the time you have made your decision, it’s too late.
So to save yourself time and energy, slack off a little bit. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t work hard, just don’t try to make every single thing spectacular 100% of the time. If you do end up making the wrong decision, it isn’t going to be the end of the world. Even if the decision is a big one. The important thing is you gave it a go. And when we’re not aiming for perfection, we’re also more likely to take risks. Risks are an important part of working life, since taking them shows that you like to aim high. And even if the risky move doesn’t work out, you’re still likely to impress your boss. A risk that doesn’t pay off is better than no risk at all.
Heads or Tails
If all else fails, just flip a coin. Seriously, it works. Because by flipping a coin, we find out what we truly want in our gut. If we get a choice that we’re not happy with, we’ll know that the other one is the one we want deep down. Or if we’re relieved with the option that the coin gave us, this was clearly the option that we wanted all along. And in the rare instance that we do feel completely stuck on a decision with no preference for either option, then we might as well do what the coin tells us to. If you really can’t decide, then there’s nothing to lose.
Written by Siobhan Kelly
Siobhan is a recent Sociology graduate, with a passion for writing. Her degree has given her experience researching a range of topics relating to the Sociology of both physical and mental health. She has a particular interest in understanding the effect that body image has on mental health.