Not being able to make a decision can be frustrating, both for you and the people around you. However, there are ways to improve your confidence in making decisions.
It will help if you can determine why you find yourself lacking in the confidence needed to make decisions in your life. For example, you may have grown up where your parents made all the decisions for you, and you were told not to question them.
Another reason may be that you do not like the pressure it puts on you, as you question whether you are making the right decision. Perhaps you’re fearful as to how your decision will affect others. These factors can contribute to your anxiety.
Here are a few ways to recognize if you are someone who lacks confidence in making decisions:
You would rather have someone else make the decision for you.
If you routinely pass the decision making to someone else, because you can’t trust that you’ll make the right decision, then maybe you just don’t have confidence in your ability to choose.
You never make a decision.
Other people may be relying on you for a decision, but you let weeks or months slide without ever deciding. If you avoid making a decision, simply because you do not know what to decide, then this can be an indicator that your confidence level in your abilities is poor.
When you do make a decision, you second-guess yourself.
If you constantly worry that you have not made the right decision, you are again demonstrating lack of confidence in your abilities.
No matter what has led up to the inability to trust yourself when making decisions, it is something that you can become better at if you work at it.
Here are some practical ideas for improving your confidence to make good decisions.
Make an “unofficial” decision
In other words, make a decision that is not yet set in stone. Choose from among your options, and live with that decision for a day. For example, let’s say you’ve decided to upgrade to a bigger house, and you have the money saved up. You find a house that you really like that fits all the criteria you want in a bigger house. It has a big yard, a deck, and an attached garage.
However, if you have trouble making decisions, you may find yourself trying to talk yourself out of it, as you begin to worry how you will afford it, the increased heating and cooling costs, and so forth. This is where it can help to make an “unofficial’ decision.
You have to decide that you will or will not move. Pick one, and live with that decision for a day. Make your mind believe that the decision is a real one that you have made. Then see how your decision makes you feel. This can be a good way to test out decisions before making them official. Knowing that you can still change your mind if it doesn’t feel right can be comforting.
A variation on this, for yes or no decisions and others with only two options, is to toss a coin. If you find yourself wishing for a particular outcome, you’ve already made your decision.
Recognize decisions that are reversible
For example, if you are having a difficult time determining what color to paint your house, start by getting a number of color swatches. Then make a decision, rather than continuing to fret over what is the perfect color. Realize that if you start painting and don’t like the color, you can always decide to paint over it.
Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen?
Similar to the previous point above, you need to recognize that not all decisions are life altering. If you can begin by making small decisions such as what movie to go to, you can grow your confidence to make bigger decisions as time goes on.
Write down pros and cons of each decision you are considering
Sometimes it can help if you write down and see your ideas for and against a decision written down on paper in front of you. This one really works for me. Write down the pros and cons of each option that you have to choose from. When you see (rather than just think of) the options, it can make it easier to come to a decision.
Above all, keep in mind that life is complicated. No one person can possible know all the variables. Whether you’re making a major life decision, like buying a house, or a minor decision, like what color to paint the bathroom, sometimes you just need to go with what seems best.
Keep in mind, too, that the best way to improve your confidence in making decisions might be to get more practice. Be bold, choose as wisely as you can, and move forward with confidence.