On average, adults make about 35,000 decisions a day... and those are just the ones we consciously make. And if you're like millions of people, making these decisions is consistently a struggle.
But here's what you need to remember:
Not making a decision is still making a decision.
It's making the decision to give someone else control of the outcome...
It's making the decision to "tolerate" whatever you get...
It's making the decision to "wait and see what happens" which sometimes leaves you scrambling to adjust, pivot, and see what comes next.
Making decisions is something that a lot of folks struggle with, not because they don't know what they want to do, but because they're afraid they might not able able to handle what might happen when they finally do the thing.
In other words, "I can't decide!" might really mean:
I'm not prepared for the outcome.
I don't want to get this wrong.
I don't trust myself to be okay regardless of what happens.
Ringing any bells?
Four Decision-Making Styles
After nearly a decade of guiding college students through the decision-making and accountability process and being a clarity coach where I've helped individuals gain clarity and make decisions, I've identified four distinct ways that people approach the choices they need to make in their lives:
The River in Egypt style where you have a hands-off approach to things and bury your head in the sand.
The Yes, No, Maybe style where you are absolutely rocking one area of your life, but struggling in another.
The Spectator style where you believe that everyone else has the answers, so you watch from the sidelines waiting for your turn to act.
The Martyr style where you put everyone else's needs above your own.
As you can imagine, each of these styles shows up in different ways depending on the context and nature of the decision being made.
Curious about your style? I made a special guide to help you pinpoint your decision-making style so that you can finally move forward. Get your free copy of the guide by clicking this link.
And once you have your guide, check out the tips below so that you can finally move forward with the decisions that reflect who you are and what you want.
12 Tips to Make Decisions
Limit the number of options in front of you.
Identify the most important factor for you and filter out the things that don’t meet the criteria.
Recognize that good enough is almost always good enough.
If you’re using previous decisions and outcomes as an example of why you should or shouldn’t do something, make sure you truly know why things did or didn’t work out before.
Review your decision-making guidelines to make sure they still make sense.
Don’t put off making decisions.
Get as much information as possible to make the decision in front of you.
If you’re changing your mind about something, make sure it’s because the circumstances have changed, not just your mood or feelings.
Practice making decisions and practice making them quickly.
Make sure you consider the worst case scenario.
Once you make a decision, let it go.
And most importantly:
12. Work with someone whose job it is to help you drown out the noise around you and figure out what makes the most sense for you and your specific situation. (This is where I come in.)
More on Making Decisions
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Alexandra English for The New York Times Style Magazine: Australia to talk all about the paradox of decisions. We covered:
Why decision-making is important
Why decision-making can be challenging
How to make decision-making easier
You can catch the feature by visiting https://taustralia.com.au/do-you-need-a-decision-making-coach.