What do you want for dinner tonight?
Are you sure?
Indecision and second guessing drain our time and energy, even when it comes to small, relatively insignificant choices like what to eat.
Every time you flip flop on a decision or second guess yourself, you’re spending valuable mental energy you can no longer direct toward more critical matters.
Here are some strategies and exercises you can use to bolster your decision-making ability and confidence.
If you’re feeling like…it’s impossible to choose because each possibility seems equally appealing.
Do this: Make your decision criteria more specific. Establish a list of goals and desires you have for yourself or your project. Which possibility satisfies the most items on your wishlist?
If you’re feeling like…you have too many emotions to make a logical decision.
Do this: Write out all these emotions and also why they’re blocking a decision. The simple act of putting emotions onto paper is enough to help many people process and effectively manage said emotions.
If you’re feeling like…you don’t have time to hem and haw over the perfect decision.
Do this: Make the best decision you can right now and give yourself permission to reevaluate it later if necessary.
If you’re feeling like…you can’t stop second guessing every possibility.
Do this: Turn your uncertainty into precision. Frame the concerns causing your second guessing as specific questions and then answer them.
“If the second-guesser would think more precisely and less vaguely about what question exactly he is asking when he doubts himself,” write the authors of a study published in Episteme, “then he would be able to see when it is rational to stop re-thinking.”
If you’re feeling like…your initial instincts are sound but you can’t, strictly speaking, explain why.
Do this: Say “because” again and again and again. (I think we should make this investment because I think it’s a good idea because I read data suggesting high returns, etc. etc.) Say “because” until you uncover the fact or evidence-based nugget behind your decision.
If you’re feeling like…every decision is just too hard.
Do this: Practice making decisions every chance you get, especially small ones you might usually shrug off. If someone asks you what time you want to meet, select a specific time instead of responding with a vague and agreeable, “whatever works.”
When someone asks you what movie you want to see, what food you want to eat, and so on, try your best to never default to, “I don’t know.”