If you’re an overwhelmed overthinker, then you know the excruciating pain of making decisions… ANY decisions. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Let’s talk about some skills you can practice as you learn how to make decisions faster without regret.
The good news is that there are ways to stop being so indecisive and you can have fewer regrets about your choices. By following a few simple steps and adopting a new mindset, you can learn to make decisions and set powerful goals with more ease and confidence.
In this post, we’re going to talk about why learning to make decisions will make your life better. We’ll also explore some strategies that can help you make decisions more efficiently and avoid the negative effects of regret.
This post may contain affiliate links. If you choose to purchase through an affiliate link, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. This post is not to be taken as professional medical or mental health advice. All statements are strictly my personal life observations. You can see my full disclaimer here.
You may be thinking, “But I’m terrible at making decisions! It takes me forever, and it’s so HARD.”
Or, “It’s more polite to let someone else choose activities and restaurants.”
Or, “I always make the wrong choice.” Ouch. Sometimes it does feel that way, doesn’t it?
You may have all of those thoughts and feelings. But as I mentioned earlier, making decisions is a skill that you can develop. In fact, it’s one of the best skills you can build for productivity and a more satisfying life.
Straight-up honesty here, this is a MAJOR problem area for me. I’m a classic decision-avoider, so I know many of these issues first-hand. I would imagine you do as well.
Keep reading for tips on how YOU can learn to make faster and better decisions.
Problems With NOT Making Decisions
First, let’s discuss some of the things that happen when you decide not to make a decision.
Oh, wait… did I just say ‘decide’ not to make a decision? Yes, that’s a thing! Because when we don’t decide, that in itself is making the decision to ignore the situation and accept the consequences of NOT deciding.
Here are some things you’ll probably end up having to deal with that are even worse than making that difficult decison:
How can not making decisions make you tired? Because your mind still knows you SHOULD be making decisions.
All of those unmade decisions are swirling around, along with pros and cons and possible outcomes. Altogether, it feels like it’s overloading your brain.
You wake up tired because you’ve been thinking all night, and you can’t function properly during the day.
When you don’t decide what to do with things, they end up in piles. Before you know it, you feel embarrassed and buried by the clutter.
By the way, I do have some specific ideas for how to solve this issue… check out my declutter tips post for plenty of ways to get your stuff under control.
Arguments or resentment in relationships
‘Why can’t you just make a decision?!’ may be something you feel like you hear far too often.
Or, maybe your loved one tries so hard to prevent you from having to make decisions, that they’re perfectly happy to do of the decision-making. And then you end up resentful that you don’t have any say in how things are done.
Neither one of these is good, and they both lead to issues.
If you can’t make decisions, it’s difficult to advance in your professional life.
Up for a promotion next year? You need to show you have what it takes to deal with situations in a timely manner.
Anxiety, worry, fear
When you put off making decisions because there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution, you’re often simply prolonging the inevitable.
In the meantime, your brain dwells on the ‘what-if’ possibilities while your mental and physical health suffer.
Note: If you suspect your indecision may be a symptom of a deeper problem, please reach out to a health professional for help. This article is my opinion only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any symptoms or conditions.
For real. Never making big decisions — or any decisions — means you’re just letting life happen to you.
That’s not anything ‘cool’ like ‘fate’ or ‘karma.’ It simply means you will never be able to live an intentional life unless you make a serious change.
I certainly hope you want better for yourself, so let’s look at the benefits of learning to make decisions.
Benefits of Making Decisions
With practice, you CAN make decisions, which means you can enjoy the benefits of using that skill.
It’s difficult to get anything done when everything seems equally important.
Being able to make a decision about doing ANYTHING will lead to higher productivity and help you make more progress toward your goals, much more quickly!
More intentional living
When you learn to make decisions — and make them FASTER — you regain control of your life.
And it’s not all about making decisions that only benefit you. Making decisions with intention also means being able to make choices that are good for the people around you, too.
One, because you won’t be spinning your wheels THINKING all the time.
Two, because once you decide on something, you can GET ON WITH IT. Get things done. Move on. And have time for more fun!
Don’t think of it exactly as time management. Think of it as LIFE MANAGEMENT. And who wouldn’t like to be better at that? I know I certainly would!
There’s no greater feeling than moving forward with good decisions and actions. And here’s the thing… even if you initially make a not-great decision, you can adjust course, learn a lesson, and come out stronger on the other side.
Eventually, you’ll be able to trust yourself to start taking action and know that you’ll manage to get through whatever comes at you.
So what can we do to make all of these decisions in a way that’s fast, yet still GOOD? Well, there are a few steps…
Identify the Root Cause of Indecision
Indecision can be caused by a variety of factors, including fear, lack of information, conflicting priorities, and analysis paralysis. Identifying the root cause of your indecision is the first step in making decisions faster without regret.
One way to identify the root cause of your indecision is to ask yourself a series of questions, such as:
- What am I afraid of?
- What information do I need to make a decision?
- What are my top priorities?
- What is holding me back?
Answering these questions honestly can help you pinpoint the underlying cause of your indecision and address it directly.
Another helpful technique is to create a pros and cons list for each option you’re considering. This can help you see the benefits and drawbacks of each choice more clearly, and may reveal any biases or assumptions you have about the decision.
Develop a Decision-Making Framework
Get clarity on your goals and values
This is the best way to help yourself when it comes to easing the decision-making process. When you’re clear on your goals and values, then many things become crystal clear.
Define your objective
The first step in making a decision quickly and without regret is to define your objective. What is it that you want to achieve? What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
Be specific and clear about your objective so you can focus your efforts on finding the best solution.
Once you’ve defined your objective, the next step is to gather information. This involves researching and gathering data that is relevant to your objective. You can use a variety of sources, such as the internet, books, and experts in the field.
Make sure to evaluate the credibility of your sources to ensure that the information you gather is accurate and reliable.
Finally, consider seeking input from others. Talking through your options with a trusted friend or colleague can provide valuable perspective and help you see the decision from a different angle.
Remember that while it’s okay to ask for advice, learning to listen to others but still make your OWN decisions is extremely important. While your friends and family hopefully want the best for you, remember that they are looking at situations from a different viewpoint. YOU are the one who has to live your life and deal with the consequences of your decisions.
Analyze the options
After you have gathered the necessary information, it’s time to analyze your options. This involves weighing the pros and cons of each option and considering how each option aligns with your objective.
The pros and cons list is a classic decision-making device that’s still one of my favorites. It’s kind of like a brain dump but with focus. You can make it a little more fun with something like this pro and con list pad.
Make the decision
Here’s the thing… Overthinkers love research and analyzing — unfortunately, often to the exclusion of action. So while I encourage you to do SOME research when you’re trying to make a decision… set limits that are in proportion to the decision.
Choosing a paint color? Pick 3, get samples, paint samples on the wall, and choose.
Considering a side hustle or new business opportunity? Give yourself a week or so to dive in to reading and evaluating your choices. Then… choose something and do it.
It’s better to try something and realize quickly that it’s not for you than to spend years ‘thinking about’ and ‘looking into’ opportunities but never committing.
By following these steps, you can develop a decision-making framework that will help you make decisions more quickly — and you’ll know that you made the best decision possible at the time.
Remember that no decision is perfect, and it’s okay to make mistakes. The key is to learn from them and move forward.
Practice Decision-Making Skills
Every day presents opportunities to practice making decisions. Here are several options to try.
One of the best ways to build your decision-making skills is to start small. This means making decisions on things that don’t have a huge impact on your life. For example, you could decide what to eat for dinner or what movie to watch.
By making small decisions on a regular basis, you’ll start to build your confidence and become more comfortable with the decision-making process.
Listen to your intuition
Another way to make quick decisions is to trust your intuition. Intuition is your subconscious mind’s ability to recognize patterns and make connections that your conscious mind might not be aware of. When you trust your intuition, you can make decisions quickly based on your gut feeling.
Never discount that gut feeling you have. That’s not to say you should live your life exclusively by the seat of your pants… but when you KNOW something is right, then go with it.
In the same vein, when something really doesn’t feel right (not scary because it’s out of your comfort zone… there’s a difference), listen to yourself.
Make a LOT of decisions
Practice, practice, practice. For one day, make a decision about every single choice you’re faced with. This is more difficult than it sounds.
Don’t be afraid to be wrong. Look at a wrong decision as a learning experience. Making poor choices in small things and course-correcting quickly give you skills to make better decisions on large things so that hopefully you don’t make too many wrong decisions that can be difficult to recover from.
Reflect on your decisions
Reflection is an important part of the decision-making process. After making a decision, take some time to reflect on the outcome. Ask yourself what went well and what could have been done differently.
And then be done with it! Don’t dwell on every detail for days or weeks or months.
By reflecting on your decisions for an appropriate amount of time, you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes, gain knowledge and satisfaction from your successes, and make better decisions in the future.
Overcome Decision-Making Barriers
Fear of failure
Fear of failure is a common barrier to decision-making. It can be paralyzing and prevent you from taking action. To overcome this barrier, it’s important to reframe failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ and ‘What can I learn from this experience?’
Another helpful strategy is to break down your decision into smaller, more manageable steps. This can help you feel more in control and reduce the fear of making the wrong choice.
Analysis paralysis occurs when you overthink a decision and become stuck in a cycle of indecision. To overcome this barrier, set a FIRM deadline for making your decision. This will help you focus on the most important factors and avoid getting bogged down in minor details.
Another helpful strategy is to seek out advice from others. This can provide a fresh perspective and help you see your options more clearly. Just be sure to seek advice from people you trust and who have your best interests at heart.
Decision fatigue occurs when you become mentally exhausted from making too many decisions.
If you’ve read my post about how to combat decision fatigue, then you have some ideas for how to relieve some mental pressure by automating many of your everyday habits and choices.
It’s important to limit the number of decisions you make in a day. Prioritize your decisions and focus on the most crucial ones first.
Another helpful strategy is to simplify your decision-making process. Use checklists, decision-making frameworks, or other tools to help you make decisions more efficiently.
Perfectionism can be a barrier to decision-making because it can lead to indecision and a fear of making mistakes.
To overcome this barrier, remind yourself that perfection isn’t always possible OR NECESSARY. Set realistic expectations for yourself and focus on making the best decision you can with the information you have.
How To Not Regret The Decisions We Make?
This one is a little tougher. But the more we practice making decisions, the faster we learn to correct missteps, and the more comfortable we get with aligning our decisions to our intentional living goals… the more everything tends to fall into place.
Will we ALWAYS make good decisions… and make them quickly?
No, of course not. It’s very difficult to set aside a lifetime of being an overthinker.
Sometimes we can do what feels like the best possible job of deciding… only to have everything completely fall apart and our self-confidence end up in the toilet.
That’s when it’s incredibly important to remember: everything that happens provides an opportunity to learn and grow as a person.
Hey, there are plenty of times when it feels like I’m always making the wrong decisions or I’m doing everything backward. But you know what the worst times are? When I don’t make a decision at all… because having that hanging over your head is wayyyyy worse than making a mistake and dealing with the fallout.
Another helpful strategy is to embrace the concept of ‘good enough.’ This can help you avoid getting bogged down in minor details and focus on the big picture. This has become one of my go-to phrases over the years, and it absolutely helps me make decisions and be okay with the outcome.
More Help For Goals And Actions
Making decisions can be a distressing task, especially when you’re faced with a lot of options. However, it’s essential to learn how to make decisions quickly without regret. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can make informed decisions and avoid second-guessing yourself.
First, you need to identify the decision you need to make and gather relevant information. Next, you should consider your values and priorities, and evaluate the pros and cons of each option. It’s also important to consider the potential outcomes of each decision and weigh the risks and benefits.
Once you’ve evaluated your options, it’s time to make a decision. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to take calculated risks. Remember that not making a decision is also a decision, so don’t let fear hold you back.
Finally, it’s important to reflect on your decision and learn from your mistakes. If you do make a decision that you regret, don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Experience makes you wise. 😉
By following these steps, you can become a more confident decision-maker and avoid the paralysis that often comes with being indecisive. Remember that making decisions is a skill that can be learned and honed over time.
With practice, you can make decisions quickly and confidently, without regret, as you Build Your Best Life.
You’ve got this!
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