If you’ve found yourself in the grocery store, staring at two kinds of cereal for several minutes, you understand the struggle of making up your mind. Each day, you have to implement hundreds of choices in the workplace, your social circle and at home.
But the fear of slipping up and failing causes uncertainty. You wonder about which choice is the best or how you can please everyone involved. Second-guessing yourself can lead to stress and wasted time, which keeps you from moving forward.
With an effective strategy, you can train yourself to commit to a path and trust yourself. End the cycle with these five tricks to exchange your reluctance for decisiveness.
1. Evaluate the Information
When you’re crippled by the unknown elements of a decision, it can help to seek out details to bolster your understanding. Educated choices produce substantial results, and you can trust that you’ve put in enough thought and time after reviewing all the information.
Asking thoughtful questions about the scenario can steer you toward a resolution. While you may not answer all your questions, you can have a better grasp of the direction you’d like to take. Research to the best of your ability, and you can approach the choice with sufficient know-how.
2. Reflect on Past Decisions
Research shows that people can make more specific predictions of future events when they associate the future with a familiar place as opposed to an unfamiliar place. Your past — what’s familiar to you — can help you more clearly anticipate possible results and shape your plans.
Thinking about how similar situations have turned out can allow you to pick an option. Visualize your next steps by reflecting on past experiences, and you can start to become a person who takes firm courses of action.
3. Consider the Best and Worst Outcomes
Imagine the impact of your decision in your life. What are the immediate consequences? Assessing the risk and reward involved in each route can show you which opportunity is most worthwhile.
If you know what to expect, you can prepare to minimize the damage once you’ve acted on your decision. Taking responsibility for the effects of your part in the aftermath can empower you and put an end to your hesitancy.
4. Know When to Go With Your Gut
Often, your intuition can direct you to a favorable choice. One research study using a gambling exercise demonstrated that participants performed best when they joined their reasoning with nonconscious biases. Natural responses, when paired with logic, can sharpen your decision-making skills.
Watch out for decision fatigue, which can deplete the dependability of your willpower. As you go through your day making decision after decision, your capacity to proficiently choose can weaken. Supplement your instincts with an awareness of your behavior and attention, and keep an eye on your energy.
5. Break Decisions Into Manageable Chunks
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with urgent and immediate choices, but when you separate these decisions into smaller parts, you can proceed smoothly.
A helpful technique, the Eisenhower Matrix, breaks decisions into different levels of urgency and importance. Tackle the tasks that are urgent and important right away, but plan for important choices with deadlines down the road. Also, if it’s not urgent and unimportant, you can delegate it to someone else. Lastly, don’t sweat over trivial tasks that aren’t urgent.
Best Habits to Hone Decision-Making Skills
Aside from the previous methods for becoming decisive, you can also incorporate small changes to build your resolve. Here are a few habits you can practice to strengthen your confidence:
- Set Limits: Give yourself a time limit for minor decisions. As you’re standing in front of the barista, settle on a coffee order within a few seconds. Definitive small choices can lead to confident decision-making in tougher situations.
- Reward Yourself: When you stick to a choice, adopt a positive reaction no matter the outcome. Acknowledge your courage and follow-through.
- Stay Open-Minded: Observe your process to pinpoint why you hesitate. Watching out for improvement areas can speed you along next time you’re debating what to do.
- Remember Why You Started: Review times when passiveness has hindered you. Use these memories to motivate you toward action.
- Think About the Future: Look ahead to your long-term goals to put your current choices into perspective. Understanding your overall trajectory can cause everyday decisions to fall in line.
Confidently Make Choices
As you hone your decisiveness, examine your process and reorient your mindset. Effective decision-making takes practice, but you can shrug off your hesitant tendencies in the long-run.
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