How To Stop Being So Darn Indecisive

Lifestyle, Mindset, Stress + Anxiety

By: // July 15, 2015

Indecision can become a barrier between you and your most fulfilling life. Do you ever experience analysis paralysis and get stuck thinking about doing something instead of actually doing it? With so many different choices and paths to consider, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and freeze up. It happens to the best of us. Often we don’t know where to start or we fear making the wrong choice. I want to show you how to get unstuck by taking that first step. Let’s go to the heart of things, dig deep and discover how taking one action–doing just one thing a day even–can significantly change your life.

But first, let’s back up a bit. There are at least one million different ideas out there that promise fulfillment. Let me introduce you to some of them:

  • Going on meditation retreats
  • Going on yoga retreats
  • Reading every self-help book on the planet
  • Hiring a personal coach or a spiritual teacher
  • Selling everything and traveling the world
  • Becoming a minimalist
  • Losing all the weight you think you need to lose
  • Getting those perfect teeth once and for all
  • Showing up in the bikini for the beach party for the first time EVER
  • Having children after years of trying

You and I can sit here and read a list that goes on for hours, but that is not what we are here for, right?

Related: 3 Simple Ways To Thrive

Every month, a new concept emerges that tells us THE secret to finding happiness and fulfillment. Some are insanely deceptive (like this chocolate study) and that makes us even more lost.

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The downfall of so many options is that we do nothing at all. Bombarded by the media, by success stories and by inspirational quotes – we become numb to it all. We become immune to the effect one quote can have on our lives because we don’t perceive its true value among the sea of so many quotes. Why stop here when something better might be right around the corner?

Imagine going to a store and wanting to buy a new coffee cup because your kid broke your favorite one. If you are anything like me, you may take your time to find the perfect coffee cup. Which one do I buy? Even the most beautiful ones lose their shine among so many in the same place.

But, let’s say the next morning someone gives you a gift: a coffee cup wrapped in a bow. All of a sudden, by putting emphasis on that coffee cup – it seems to shine a little bit more and thus, it becomes the best coffee cup for us.

Or, have you ever spent days and months trying to plan a perfect vacation?

I can do all inclusive, maybe a balcony this time … and wow dolphins, but the other place offers daycare and it might be nice to get away from the kids for an hour or two. Hmmm, which one do I pick?

We spend so much time fantasizing about that vacation that in fact, we seem to derive more pleasure from planning it than actually taking a vacation. But if you were just to pick one and run with it, you would make the most out of it.

So much choice affects our decision-making ability and brings constant doubt in ourselves to make rational decisions: what if I could have booked an even better hotel room? Or what if I could have gotten an even better deal?

This is very frightening because, over time, we stop trusting our decision-making abilities and we start to second-guess everything we do. When we start doing that, it becomes hard to execute and turn your dreams into reality.

Most of us just keep looking and we keep doing nothing. Analysis eventually leads to paralysis. We start spinning in circles and end up in the same place we started. We don’t start with anything in particular.

I once wrote about my experience in a grocery store when I first came to the United States. I had never seen so many cereal boxes in my life and after much time spent considering what to buy, I walked away empty handed and hungry.

Sound familiar?

I would really like to think that all my reading and thinking will make me rich, happy and healthy but the only way to realizing your goals is doing SOMETHING. One thing. Anything.  

Anything? Yes, anything.

Let go of indecision and make one decision today toward a goal. Take that first step. Tomorrow, take another step.

See, sometimes we just have to start. The whole “bodies in motion tend to stay in motion” stuff. Momentum and focus then kick-in to help.

Sometimes, the start is just a start and it doesn’t have to be the most deliberate thing – just something to give us a point of reference or a good story to tell when we are old and laughing about our life choices over good dinner with friends.

Related: Women Should Lift Each Other Up

If we never get up and go after the things we want, we will fail to realize our goals. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t: trying, making mistakes and then trying again but never giving up on yourself or your dreams.

So, here are the steps that can help you make progress and take that first step today:

  1. Become very clear on what you want and be as specific as possible.
  2. Come up with five things that you could do that could bring you closer to your goal (what you want).
  3. Pick ONE thing to pursue and commit to it – maybe find outside accountability.
  4. Try your ONE thing and really give it your all and see what happens – does it feel right, does it feel good? If yes – keep doing more of it and expand it. If not:
  5. Pick another thing from the list and repeat the process.

Unless you try and give yourself a chance, you are running a risk of believing you are not capable and I refuse to work with that. There is no one size fits all model for finding your bliss or achieving your goal—there is only YOUR model. You are unique and special and you need to find YOUR way in the sea of “MY ways”.

I would like to challenge you all: tell me what’s preventing you from moving forward toward the life you desire, and I will personally address it in the comments section below. See you there – it will be fun!

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on July 27, 2015 at 9:58 AM Reply

The 2nd guessing is key. I could 2nd guess myself in and out of a paper bag. I do not have the internal affirmation of making a right choice. I have a huge comfort zone inside my home, and as a Mom to care for my pets, and kids, It I feel compelling responsibility, in that regard.

    on July 27, 2015 at 1:15 PM Reply

    A, Thank you so much for sharing. I couldn't agree more! But please know that most of us do second guess ourselves. It is unfortunate, but among so many choices - it is hard to know we made the right one. Here is what I tell myself: It was the right choice because I made it and there is no going back. If you notice, we admire most the people who stand firm in their decisions and beliefs. What they all have in common is this: they act and sometimes they make mistakes but they don't stop. Just like anything, the more you do it - the stronger your decision making ability becomes. Just start small and see what comes out of it. Let me know if you have any more questions. Jasna

on July 20, 2015 at 3:03 PM Reply

Sometimes I feel very confused I think do many things at once I try and never achieve that dream that my heart and my life so desires, or in some occasions is to change our mentality to be more open and clear precisely what we want, usually for my hard to find the right person for my life, not because? sometimes I wonder why? but I have no answer !!   at a time when we see the progress of our friends who already have a partner and I did not, I wonder how because I do not talk to anyone? because I have the special person on my life to love me equally and help me get new scales.   will be difficult to locate an your partner or friend to achieve success in your life is the greatest desire or goal you want to achieve? Or what steps we must take to become the person we want to be and have the person we want to get to our side? this is a task or a job ?? Good luck to all

    on July 21, 2015 at 9:32 AM Reply

    Kissairis, Thank you for sharing and for asking the questions - it's always the first step in getting what you need. Your question goes beyond my expertise (finding a partner), but here are my thoughts and hope they are helpful: I think that thinking that you need anything to be happy, fulfilled or success is the first thing that may be in your way. We have to go inside, know exactly who we are and know what we want. If that is your primary desire, then you create a list of things you could be doing to achieve the goal. Then, start executing one by one and see what you learn. I have found that outside people or circumstances are not the cause of my happiness - it's just that I think that is the case. I remember living in Bosnia after the war and being much happier than 10 years ago when I seemingly had everything I wanted. You have to build a foundation for YOU to be happy but do the things that need to be done that will bring you closer to a goal of finding someone. Hope this helps!

on July 19, 2015 at 10:44 PM Reply

Not knowing what I want to do is preventing me from doing anything. I've accomplished much in my life and now I'm at a roadblock.

    on July 21, 2015 at 6:03 AM Reply

    Janet, I complete empathize. I actually think that we will come to a situation like this one many times in our life. I always tell my clients this: now matter what you want to achieve, you will always want more - it is human nature. We change, our needs and desires change and our outlook on life changes. So, given the situation, here are the steps you can do to find clarity. I do want to warn you that you do have to sit down and actually take time for this, otherwise it will just stay in your head. Execution and follow through is key. In order to create the life you are most in love with, you first have to know exactly what you want. You can be as general (I just want to be happy) or as specific (I want to find the confidence I need to “show up” at work and socially). Here are the questions I use in my work that always yield answers: • Who are you? • What do you want out of life? (don’t say “I want to be happy” – go into detail: what does it mean to be happy, what has to be present in your life……money, family, beauty, accomplishment, etc) • When you look at the world around you, what excites you, compels you, intrigues you, delights you and energizes you? • What do you most want to achieve? What do you feel ready for at this time of your life? • What must occur in your life for it to be a life well lived? • Looking back from your death bed, what do you want to be able to say? • Write 2 short term, intermediate and longterm goals. Do this, let me know how it went and if there is anything else I can do. I am certain these will deliver clarity but what you do with it…, that's where the magic is:) Best of luck. Jasna

on July 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM Reply

Great point, Jasna, and one that it's so easy to forget. Your gift of a coffee cup example was perfect. I like to think of this as manufacturing a mental catalyst, especially in situations where the action might be a big one. Say you're trying to decide between setting a boundary with someone, and keeping your mouth shut. Ostensibly, that's two options, but really, there are many sub-options. How do you set the boundary? Are you sweet or are you firm? Do you take some blame to soften the blow? Do you Sandwich Technique it or go the direct route? So many decisions, and each one seems to have real downsides... I find it's helpful to play an imagination game, to manufacture an imaginary catalyst in your mind. What if X had happened? What if that person had just said something that really offended you? Would it be okay to set the boundary then? What if your kids were watching the scene and you wanted to set a good example? What if the stakes were very high? What if time was of the essence? In the coffee cup example, you can say, "If someone gave me this cup as a present [the catalyst], could I be happy with it?" Or, "If I only had five dollars to spend on a cup [the catalyst], could I be happy with this?" Or, "If I only had 60 seconds to decide [the catalyst], could I be happy with this?" You discover very quickly that whether the issue is boundaries or coffee cups, the world isn't as serious as we tend to think it is. The decision just doesn't matter THAT much. Now, if I could just make myself apply this to writing a book... :)

    on July 20, 2015 at 10:39 PM Reply


    on July 17, 2015 at 5:33 PM Reply

    Naomi, so great to have you here - thank you for sharing. You offer such incredible insight…..I never thought about it that way nor did I ever manage to go as deep as you just did, that was a pretty powerful example you shared. In fact, I think that you make this piece so much more complete by adding this so I hope that everyone gets a chance to look at it from a mental catalyst perspective. For me, everything is about perspective and how I approach decisions and you just offered a pretty nifty formula for everyone to use, including myself. Thanks again!! So, where do I preorder that book? :) Jasna

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