Imagine having sweaty palms, a racing heart, and sheer panic at the thought of deciding between two equally attractive options. It’s not a fun feeling, and there’s a name for it: Indecision paralysis. This mental state that causes anxiety in many can stem from childhood trauma, people-pleasing tendencies, perfectionism, poor self-esteem, and a fear of failure. Whatever the cause, when it happens, it can feel like the end of the world is approaching. But thankfully, there are tips to ease the anxiety and help you make a decision quickly.
11 Tips to Help You Make a Decision Quickly
If you’re presented with two decisions and feel your anxiety creep in, take a minute and breathe. When we’re stressed, our breathing becomes shallow and quick, which only intensifies the panic. To reduce the overwhelm and gain clarity practice a beginner breathing technique for anxiety like box breathing to anchor you to the present moment.
- Sit comfortably and close your eyes
- Exhale and count to four
- Then hold your breath to four
- After, inhale to four
- Then hold the air to a count of four
- Exhale and repeat the pattern
2. Develop your confidence
While it’s okay to discuss your concerns with your friends, try not to let their worldviews and biases shape how you make decisions. Their responses are based on their perspectives and, therefore, won’t always align with what you want. Additionally, if you get into the habit of asking for everyone else’s opinions, you run the risk of never learning how to increase your self-confidence. On top of that, you have an onslaught of conflicting advice running through your head, which only delays your decision even further. Learn trust yourself and listen to your intuition.
3. Listen to your intuition
Did you know you already have the answers you need within you? Our intuition is a wealth of inner knowledge that guides us to make life-enhancing decisions. But it’s often difficult to hear its gentle whisper through fear or stress. So, connect with yourself to trust your internal compass by practicing self-soothing techniques for adults, guided meditations, journaling or anything that feeds your soul. And when faced with a decision, remove all distractions to feel the inner pull coming within. Over time, you’ll learn to trust yourself rather than ask others.
4. Analyze the pros and cons
Sometimes creating the beloved pros and cons list can help you gain mental clarity. For example, if you want to decide where to live, grab a piece of paper, think about every pro and con, and give a score for each. But try to think about the pros and cons based on your own experiences and opinions rather than those of others. Doing so will allow you to make a more unbiased decision.
5. Set a deadline
If you’re lax about the time to make your decisions, your mind will most likely fixate on other things, and the overwhelm could increase. But setting a deadline will focus your cognitive ability to make an effective decision quickly. It may even sound counterintuitive to your anxiety, but on the contrary, a deadline might give you the push you need to act with confidence and determination.
6. Decide when you’re calm
Try to decide when you’re calm. If you decide when you’re pumped about life, you may choose an unrealistic option. However, if you decide when you’re tired, hungry, or upset, you may abruptly choose to end the overwhelm and create more resentment later on. So, the rule of thumb is to use a few grounding techniques for anxiety to achieve a state of calm and decide then. Calmness will allow you to decide with clarity and confidence rather than doubt or stress.
7. What is your long-term vision?
One of the best tips to make a decision quickly is to ask how your decision will impact your long-term version. For example, if you’re torn between two positions, ask, “Which one will help me achieve what I want”? Using your long-term version as a compass will guide you to make sound decisions. Yet, if you’re struggling with your vision, spend time reflecting on what you want. What would your best day entail? What job do you have? Who are you spending your time with? Spend time reflecting on each detail to have a clear vision then learn how to change your mindset to accomplish your goals: Recipe for success!
8. Detach from the outcome
Buddha was right when he said, “Attachment is the root of all suffering.” But what exactly was he referring to? Well, we can’t control how life unfolds. We can only protect ourselves mentally by detaching from the outcome. If we do, life’s uncertainties and unknowns won’t derail us because gratitude and trust become higher valued outcomes. In other words, we can learn to accept the outcomes of our decisions regardless of where they may lead us. And remember, Buddha also said, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” See how the two quotes connect?
9. Avoid second-guessing your final decision
Once you’ve made your decision, resist the urge to second-guess it. Indeed, it’s easy to fall into a habit of asking repetitive questions like, “Did I choose the right path?”, “How do I know it’s the right decision for me?” and “What if I made the wrong decision and my life is worse?” The aftermath of what-ifs and fears of should-of will intensify the panic and anxiety and cause you to backtrack. Instead, trust the process, yourself, and your ability to make sound decisions.
10. Embrace failure
Often the fear of decision-making comes from failure, among other things. Fear of whether we’re capable of making sound decisions, whether that one choice will transform our lives for the worse, or fear that we’re good enough often block our ability to listen to our intuition and decide. Yet failure is the prerequisite to growth and is necessary to create the life we want. So, learning how to develop a growth mindset and create a better relationship with failure will allow you to detach from the outcome and trust how your chosen decision will lead to a wonderful result, no matter what.
11. Celebrate yourself
Alright, you’ve decided; now it’s time to celebrate! Every decision, whether big or small, deserves acknowledgment and self-validation. You can even follow it up with a confidence affirmation, like “I am proud of myself for making a decision. It feels good to trust myself and know that I’m capable of deciding what I want in life“. Next, order your favorite dessert. You deserve it.
Making decisions can be a scary process. There’s always that lingering fear of whether or not you made the right choice, especially if you experience indecision paralysis. But following these tips and learning to trust yourself will help you make a decision quickly. Ultimately, you know what you want, more than anyone else!
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