Implementing research-backed strategies, like narrowing down your options, can help you become more confident in your decisions.
We face various choices every day. Some choices are minor such as deciding what to wear for the day. Other decisions are significant such as determining if you wish to get married to your partner.
For some people, minor and major decisions are challenging. It may leave you feeling overwhelmed and in a state of decision paralysis. This is common for people who are burnt out or stressed.
Understanding what contributes to problems with decision-making could be beneficial. And implementing strategies to feel confident in your decision can help you move forward.
Consider the strategies below to help make your decision-making process more manageable.
1. Limit your choices
Having a variety of choices can leave you feeling overwhelmed. But if you can narrow down the possible options from many to just a few, this can alleviate feelings that leave you feeling stuck.
2021 research indicates that choice overload may cause you to become stuck because it’s hard to make a decision when there are so many options.
It may help you make better decisions when there aren’t so many options to choose from.
2. Make a plan
If you have trouble making decisions, you may be spending lots of time researching possible decisions and still can’t move forward.
One way to overcome this is by giving yourself a specified period to explore your decision and then move forward with the information you have.
This strategy can help you reduce time overanalyzing and use the best possible information to move forward.
3. Implement a decision-making model
Decision-making models can help you implement steps to make the best decision possible. The ethical decision-making model is used in many career fields and is as follows:
- identify the problem
- identify potential issues involved
- review relevant ethics codes
- review applicable laws and rules
- consult with others
- list all possible courses of action
- count the consequences of probable decisions
- choose what you believe is the best course of action
This model may help deal with indecisiveness in applicable work settings.
4. Watch out for impulse decisions
While you don’t want to overthink your decisions, you may be tempted to make impulse decisions.
But impulse decisions can sometimes be harmful and cause unintended consequences of your actions.
Emotions can affect the tendency to make impulsive decisions. For example, a 2012 study suggests that sadness is associated with financial impulsivity.
On the other hand, a study from 2016 indicates that gratitude can reduce impulsive choices.
Mental health conditions can make decisions more challenging. Personal stressors and the weight of the decision can also play into difficulty in making decisions. Indecisiveness is a trait that can leave you feeling stuck.
If you have trouble making decisions, this occurs across multiple contexts and situations.
Some signs you may be indecisive:
- lack of confidence
- perceived judgment of “making the wrong decision”
If you have perfectionistic tendencies, you may also be prone to indecisiveness.
Are certain personality types associated with indecision?
Personality types may be associated with indecisiveness. Research from 2016 examined associations between the five-factor personality test and indecisiveness.
Studies found a correlation between neuroticism and indecisiveness. The study also suggests that self-esteem affects indecisiveness. Lower self-esteem is associated with higher levels of indecision.
Research from 2014 indicates several mental health conditions are related to making decisions.
Mental health disorders associated with indecisiveness include:
- major depressive disorder (MDD)
- generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- hoarding disorder
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Mental health diagnoses can make it hard to be confident in your decisions, and you may fear making the wrong decision.
Challenges in making decisions aren’t uncommon. Indecisiveness is associated with various mental health conditions and personality types.
Research-backed methods, such as creating a plan to explore your decisions and gathering helpful information, may help.
Using strategies to avoid decision paralysis can help you feel more confident in your decision-making abilities. It may also help you break the cycle of feeling stuck.
If you need assistance implementing decision-making strategies, you may consider seeking professional support or support from a trusted loved one. You’re not alone.