I’ve been thinking a lot about decisions lately.
Every day, we are faced with all sorts of decisions. Some are pretty mundane, like what to eat for breakfast, and some are major, like whether to sell everything you own and become an expat, which I did.
The biggest thing I have been thinking about, however, is how NOT deciding affects your life and any kind of progress.
Ways Indecision Affects Your Life
1. You can’t think clearly about your goals.
I’ve found that when I am on the fence about whether to pursue some goal or not, my mind starts to feel foggy about that goal the longer I overthink it without deciding. It reminds me of an untethered tarp flapping around in the wind – it gets blown around in every direction until it’s finally anchored. Once it’s secured, then it’s strong.
Even if the outcome is uncertain, there is more clarity on the path you should take, once you decide to take it.
2. You feel unsettled and anxious.
Some people say that “sometimes the best decision is not deciding.” I disagree. There is no peace in not making a decision. There is a sort of sticky, negative energy that comes with avoidance, and until you stop avoiding something, this energy just hangs around and clings to you. NOT deciding just makes you restless and agitated; it doesn’t make the issue go away.
The only way to alleviate the stress of avoiding a decision is to finally face it and decide. Dealing with whatever the consequences are is far more peaceful than not dealing with it at all.
3. You are stuck in limbo.
Limbo Land is a very unpleasant place to be. Nothing flows; it just sits there and rots. As Steve Siebold said, “You’re either growing or dying. Stagnation does not exist in the universe.”
Indecision is nothing more than a holding pattern. It’s like treading water, and just like treading, it’s exhausting. You can’t maintain a limbo state forever. At some point, something has to give, and you either have to make your own decision and take ownership, or the decision will be made for you, making you a pawn, or worse, a victim.
So instead of delaying a decision and getting stuck in limbo, take charge of your life and decide to do what it takes to move forward.
4. You are unable to make other decisions.
Being indecisive in one area tends to affect other areas. It’s contagious, like a virus that creeps in and spreads through the whole system. It’s that negative avoidance energy that permeates everything.
The only way to counter this is to stop avoiding and start deciding. Once you make a decision about something, you can then commit to it, which has a positive domino effect through the other parts of your life.
5. You begin to doubt yourself.
Indecision is that proverbial slippery slope. The main reason people avoid or delay making decisions in the first place is because they doubt their ability to make the “right” decision. However, the byproduct of this is that it also undermines your confidence.
Conversely, making decisions actually builds your confidence. Even making a “bad” decision is better than no decision (hear me out), because by dealing with it, you learn from your mistakes, and you build confidence by playing an active role in your life.
Once You Make a Decision
I’m not suggesting that the rest is easy or that it doesn’t take work and effort, but as the quote says, just deciding to act is the most difficult part. After that, you just need to stay focused and stick to your decision. It’s like the train analogy that the greatest effort is just starting to move; the rest is carried by momentum.
How to Get Better at Making Decisions
As simple as this sounds, the best way to get better at decision-making is to practice. Even just standing in line at the coffee shop and making a point to decide quickly is beneficial to your ability to make decisions.
Another way is to create an affirmation. Say to yourself, several times a day, “I’m decisive. I make good decisions quickly and easily.” You’ll be amazed at how well this works.
By the way, the reason I know this is because I went through a period in my life where suddenly I felt like I couldn’t make any decisions. Then, after reading some self-help books (if I could remember which ones, I would share), I got tried these suggestions, and within a surprisingly short time, I completely turned it around. I have never had a problem with making decisions since.
Share and Motivate Others
Is there anything holding you back from making some kind of decision? Share in the comments what decision you’re struggling with. Feel free to share as much or as little as you like.
Recently, I had been going back and forth about whether to apply for permanent residence in Taiwan, where I’ve been living for five years. I was struggling with whether it was worth the cost (around $320 USD) and the amount of time and energy it would take to collect all the documents, fill out the paperwork and go through the process.
In the end, I decided to go ahead and do it, and as it turned out, the process wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, and I will be submitting all of my paperwork this next week. Wish me luck!
Please share your own goals and challenges you’re having with indecision. Let’s all help each other succeed by motivating and supporting each other.
Keep having the courage to walk through those doors, and have an awesome day!