We all have had those experiences where we felt stuck in life. You know what we’re talking about. Those moments where you can’t seem to make a decision no matter how hard you try.
You may feel like you’re stuck in a job you hate, a relationship that’s going nowhere, or just generally unhappy with your life.
The truth is that adults make more than 35,000 decisions every day, both big and small.
So, why do some of us feel like we can’t make any decisions?
Let’s explore what goes into making a decision (and why it’s “hard”).
Why Making Decisions Is Hard
There are tons of reasons why people struggle with making decisions. Here are some of the most common causes:
Choice overload is when a person is presented with too many options and has difficulty making decisions. This can happen when you’re trying to decide what to wear, what to eat, or even what to do with your life.
When you have too many choices to make, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and stressed. It can be challenging to decide which one is right for you.
With so many readily available options available to us globally, it’s no wonder we sometimes feel indecisive.
Another reason you may find it hard to make decisions is that you tend to overthink things. You may second-guess yourself a lot of worry about making the wrong choice.
It’s normal to want to make sure you’re making the best decision possible, but overthinking things can lead to indecision.
When you overthink, you may talk yourself out of making a decision altogether because you’re afraid of making the wrong choice.
Fear of Buyers’ Remorse
Buyer’s remorse happens when you make a purchase and then regret it later. Maybe you bought a new car and then wished you had waited, or perhaps you got a haircut that you did not like.
This type of regret can be paralyzing when it comes to making decisions. You may be afraid to make a decision because you are worried you’ll regret it later.
Decision fatigue is when you get tired of making decisions. It can happen when you’ve been trying to decide for a long time, and you just can’t seem to come to a conclusion.
It’s easy to feel exhausted when you’ve been trying to make a decision for hours, days, or even weeks. When you’re feeling fatigued, it’s harder to focus and make a clear decision.
Making too many “Low Priority” decisions will add to decision fatigue.
When you’re constantly making small, unimportant decisions, it can use up your decision-making power. For example, if you spend 20 minutes deciding what to wear every day, you may make it harder to make more significant decisions later.
Making decisions takes energy, and if you’re using up all your energy on low-priority choices, you may not have any left for the important ones.
Let’s look at how some of the most well-known and successful people overcome decision fatigue.
The late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, partnered with Issey Miyake, who designed the uniforms for Sony, to create a signature uniform for Apple. He wanted to increase employee bonding.
Unfortunately, the idea didn’t blow over well. The employees were not thrilled about the new “mandatory” company attire. Jobs didn’t let that stop him because he was on a mission to make his life simple.
So, Issey Miyake created a uniform that signified simplicity that served him in every setting. Believe it or not, Steve Jobs had enough black turtlenecks to last him for the rest of his life.
Barack Obama always wore a blue or gray suit whenever performing daily duties. It makes a lot of sense for the former president of the United States. With so many important decisions to make, the last thing he should be worrying about is what he will wear or eat.
Steve Jobs is Mark Zuckerberg’s motivation for wearing the same gray t-shirt every day. He discovered that focusing on what to wear drains the energy he could use for more important decisions. That’s when he decided that he’d rather utilize his mental energy to make life-changing decisions that would positively impact the masses.
All three of these influential men give us the perfect example of why we need to set priorities when it comes down to decision-making.
It goes without saying that some mental disorders can make it difficult to make decisions. For example, people with anxiety may have a hard time making decisions because they constantly worry about what could go wrong.
Likewise, people with depression may find it hard to make decisions because they lack the energy and motivation to do so. On a more simple scale, humans have biological instincts that prevent as much loss and gain as many rewards as possible.
The same applies to those who have a mental disorder. When we experience stress, anxiety, overwhelm, and a lack of sleep, our decision-making capabilities are altered.
The altered decision-making can lead to poorer judgment and even regretful decisions. When it leads to regret, we may suffer from “analysis paralysis,” which is when we overthink a decision to the point where we can’t make a choice.
The problem lies in the fact that this can happen to anyone, no matter their age. For example, if a parent has a mental disorder, their child may grow up making the same mistakes.
Tips To Be More Decisive
Let’s go over some tips on how to be more decisive.
1. Become Aware of When Indecision Is Happening
The first step is becoming aware of indecision when it is happening. If you don’t address indecision when it happens, it will become a habit.
Create a plan to deal with indecisiveness by asking yourself what is causing the indecision. Understand that you didn’t arrive at uncertainty overnight. There are underlying triggers that need examining.
2. Practice “Easy & Quick” Decision Making
Decision Making is just like any other habit. The more you do it, the easier it becomes. Start with small decisions and work your way up.
For example, if you can’t decide what to wear, choose your outfit the night before. If you’re unsure what to eat, pick a restaurant and stick to it. Don’t spend time swooning over what you want. Pick an entree.
If you decide you love it, choose it again. If you decide you hate it, take it as a lesson learned. You don’t want to create regretful decisions, so make sure you’re comfortable with your choice before committing to it.
If the outcome isn’t what you dreamed of, it’s ok. Just let it go. Don’t let that be your excuse for taking lots of time to make a decision. The goal is to make as many “easy & quick” decisions as possible.
3. Have Important Information At-Hand (and Block Out the Noise)
Have what you need to make a decision on hand and then block out anything else. In other words, be prepared.
This means if you’re trying to decide what to wear, have your clothing options laid out in front of you. If you’re deciding what to eat, have a menu in front of you. If you don’t have all the information you need, that’s ok.
Gather everything you need to facilitate the decision and execute it. Don’t let not having everything you feel you need stop you from moving forward.
The goal is to lower the amount of time you spend making a decision and limit the amount of information you allow yourself to be exposed to. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with options or spend hours trying to make a decision.
4. Setting Deadlines To Avoid Procrastination
One of the primary reasons people don’t make decisions is that they procrastinate. They think they have all the time in the world, so they put it off.
It is a dangerous way of thinking because it leads to analysis paralysis (overthinking a decision so much that you freeze inside of indecision). Avoid procrastination by setting a deadline. It will force you to take action and make a choice.
5. Deciding To Delegate When Appropriate
There are some decisions that you shouldn’t make yourself. If you’re not the expert or don’t have the time to make a decision, delegate it to someone who does.
It is a common business practice. For example, if you’re a company CEO, you delegate important decisions to your team of experts. You trust them to make the favorable decision for the company, and they do so because they’re the experts.
The same principle applies to your personal life. If you’re not sure what car to buy, ask a friend who is a car expert. The goal here is to make the best decision possible, and delegating when appropriate will help you do just that.
Making decisions doesn’t have to be complicated. By following the advice above, you can make better decisions in your personal and professional life. You will learn how to be more decisive and make life much easier.