Indecision is one of the most frustrating and stressful things you can face in your daily life. Trying to decide which tie to wear or whether to buy those shoes in burgundy or black can leave some people overwhelmed. It’s even worse when it comes to making bigger decisions that have more impact on your life. Indecision can be debilitating and keep you in a constant cycle of energy-sapping stress.
But here’s the good news: indecision is a habit that can be kicked. It will take some work on your part because we know that old habits die hard. These simple brain hacks will help you retrain your mind to overcome indecision and the misery it’s causing in your life.
Hack #1: Fight your fear
Fear is the number one cause of indecision. It could be fear of failure, fear of responsibility or fear of being blamed or criticized. Sometimes, fear can be totally unjustified.
The next time you experience indecision, stop and ask yourself exactly why you are afraid. For example, you hesitate over what to wear to a party. If you stop and really reflect on the underlying reason, you realize that it’s fear that people will criticize your style, or that you won’t fit in.
Confront your brain with this fear and firmly dismiss it. Tell yourself that you trust your own taste and that’s all that matters.
This sounds very trivial, but it does work. The more you do this with any decision that you face, the more your brain will learn not to associate fear with decision-making and the easier it will become for you to make choices.
Sometimes, fear is justified and even necessary. For example, switching to a job that pays less than your current one but speaks to your passion. You are afraid of the impact of accepting the job will have on your finances and lifestyle.
In this case, confront the fear rationally and don’t exaggerate it and imagine yourself naked and starving. Calmly assess your financial situation; whether you have outstanding debts, whether you are overspending on luxuries you don’t really need and make the decision to accept or not accept the job. It’s not something you need to sleep on endlessly.
Hack #2: Start small
Train your brain to make trivial decisions as quickly as possible. For example, when ordering from a menu, scan the items and don’t take more than a minute to choose what to eat. When grocery shopping, quickly decide what you need and place it in the cart.
Training your brain to quickly make small decisions will train it to break free from the cycle of hesitation.
Hack #3: Reflect on your emotions
Indecisive people tend to get too involved in the details of a decision and overanalyze. When you have gathered the information you need, set a time limit to study the possible outcomes.
If you are still undecided after the time limit runs out, just go with your gut feeling. Which outcome speaks to your emotions or gives you a good feeling? Your indecision is because the outcomes are similar. Bringing in emotions will usually settle it.
Hack #4: Apply the 10-10-10-10 rule
Ask yourself how much a decision will impact in 10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months or 10 years. This will quickly bring things into perspective and show you the bigger picture. Do you really need to hesitate over a decision that will lose its impact on 10 days or less?
Hack #5: Trust yourself
Always remind yourself of your strengths so that your brain remains positive and fills you with confidence. Are you creative intuitive, smart, honest, conscientious? Remind yourself as well of all the great decisions you’ve made in your life.
More importantly, try to incorporate your skills and strengths into your decision-making. You will gradually find that as your self- confidence increases, your indecision will decrease.
Indecision can become a destructive habit when the more you dwell on something, the tougher it becomes to make a choice. It can cause you to lose good opportunities, lose sleep and lose your peace of mind.
Take control of your life by kicking the habit of indecision with the five hacks discussed here. Practice them every day when making decisions and slowly but surely, you will find yourself becoming a confident, efficient and timely decision-maker!