Woman Pondering a DecisionMost people want to make the right choices for their lives and families. Making decisions comes more easily to some people than to others, though. Learning how to get yourself out of the stressful rut of indecisiveness can have positive effects on your emotional and mental health. The next time you are faced with an important decision, whether it affects the group you're leading or just yourself, use these tips to help make the process go more smoothly.

Consider Your Values

It's possible that what you experience as your inability to make a decision actually stems from the desire to gain the approval of others. Most chronic people-pleasers have difficulty making firm choices, particularly if those decisions affect friends, family members or coworkers around them. While it's kind to consider others' feelings in these situations, keep in mind that there's a reason you're in charge of making the decision. Your judgment can be trusted, and chances are good that they are willing to follow your wisdom.

Ask yourself what you would do if no one else had an opinion. What does your gut tell you? Your first reaction to that question probably reflects your values. Try to discern what is important to you in the given scenario, and that can make the path forward much clearer.

Set Meaningful Criteria

Once you understand your values, it's easier to set parameters for the decision you are making. If it's a choice that affects a group you're leading, one of the criteria may be that it has to work with the majority of the group members' schedules or that the majority must be interested in being involved. When you are deciding which church to attend, you may factor in how close it is to your house, the core teachings or philosophies, and how robust the children's program is. Your criteria come directly from your values, the things that are most important to you.

Impose a Few Limits

It's a common misconception that having a lot of choices makes a decision easier, but in fact, the opposite is true. If you leave yourself open to anything, it's harder to actually make the right choice. Give yourself the gift of limits:

  • Narrow down to three choices
  • Set a deadline for a final decision
  • Budget for reasonable costs, if applicable

Have a Backup Plan

Even the best intentions may not work out the way you envision. This is why it's good to have something to fall back on. One thing that a solid contingency plan can do is take some of the pressure off. You are less likely to be stressed out at the possibility of making a bad decision if you have a backup plan you can switch to with little to no fuss.

To find a suitable backup plan, indulge in some doomsday thoughts. What is the worst thing that could go wrong? If that does happen, what would you do? The answer is the start of a good backup plan.

Learn To Move Past Disappointing Results

A lot of the anxiety around decision-making comes from fear of failure. Unfortunately, failure is an integral part of life. Learning to deal with disappointments or plans that don't turn out the way you wanted them to may not feel good in the moment when they occur, but acknowledging and accepting imperfection is a good way to ensure that you don't get so stressed out the next time you have to make an important choice.

Whether you have the final word on a group decision or you need to know the next right step to take in your own life, there are a few ways to make the process less daunting. Understanding your own motivations and values as well as having a solid second choice if something goes awry can relieve some of the anxiety about the decision.

Category: Health and Wellness

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