By Elizabeth Kendall
GCU Office of Student Care
What do you think I should do?
We’ve all been on at least one side of this question. It can be tricky to make big decisions and feel confident throughout the process.
At the same time, as many of us know, being placed as the decision-maker for others may become uncomfortable. Whether you’re seeking to feel more confident in your own choices or looking to help an acquaintance sharpen their decision-making abilities, here are some strategies to test out.
Set a timer or date, depending on the magnitude of the choice, to set a deadline for your deliberation. You can use this time to complete research, ask for helpful second opinions, and create pros and cons lists. When time is up and the decision is made, reward yourself with something small and move on. If you feel second thoughts rolling in, review your reasons for the decision made and remind yourself that you put in the work and made the best possible decision you knew how to at that time.
Bring back brainstorming. During a brainstorm session, come up with every decision and outcome possible, even the outlandish ones, and write them all out to have a visual. Go through and eliminate the decisions you are certain you do not want to select. Once you’ve done this, rank the decisions into three categories of most to least wanted. Continue to do this until you have come to a final three.
Make small and easy decisions immediately. Practice not hesitating when choosing off the menu, allow yourself to follow your feet when choosing a path. Learning to trust yourself in these small ways will positively impact your confidence when larger decisions arise.
If indecision is disrupting your ability to function as smoothly as you’d like, it may be time to look at the root of the problem. Perhaps it’s a fear of judgment accompanying certain choices or a concern that your choice may negatively impact current relationships or future goals.
When a decision comes up, gently notice the emotions that arise in yourself. Pay attention to your thoughts and be curious about where they came from. Journaling, therapy or meditation may be an effective means of self-reflection and a safe place to practice confident decision-making and greater acceptance of outcomes.
We make thousands of decisions every day. Be patient with yourself as you encounter newer and bigger ones and remember that you’ve made hard ones in the past to get here.