You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change
I have recently chatted with some clients and friends about how hard it is to make changes and decisions in this pandemic environment. You may feel like you have put off certain decisions because of the uncertainty of our world. I am hoping this three-part series will help you take that leap of faith and make those decisions you have been putting off.
Making choices and the Burden of Indecision
On paper, making a choice seems like a straightforward process. You just choose what you want, right? Choosing dinner from a menu might be easy, but making choices around our life path, well that’s a whole other story.
A fellow coach introduced me to the idea of ‘the burden of indecision’. I love this term as it sums up that feeling of being stuck and unable to see the path forward. Being in this state of uncertainty can feel heavy and messy. I think it’s probably a concept that a lot of us are grappling with as we try to figure out this pandemic world.
Sometimes it can feel easier to stay in this state of indecision instead of doing or actioning anything. Even though we know we need to make a decision, we seem unable to move forward and commit. Instead, we replay our situation over and over in our minds without ever making any change.
Why is effective decision making so important?
The answer might sound obvious. Perhaps you are thinking ‘well if I don’t make a decision, nothing gets done’. And yes you would be correct, however, while studying Bob Proctor’s work, I came across the following explanation which made me stop and reflect.
The results in your life right now are a direct reflection of your ability to make decisions.
READ THAT AGAIN! What is happening in your life is because of the way you approach decision making. So if we aren’t happy with what we do have in our life, maybe it’s to reflect on how we make choices.
So how is this ‘burden of indecision’ holding you back?
- It stunts your personal growth and evolution. Instead of developing, we are stuck on a never-ending cycle of repeat.
- It delays the inevitable. The problem is not going away, just your ability to move forward. Sometimes it can even feel a bit comforting to just hit the pause button and put your head in the sand.
- It denies your inner voice. It can feel easier to keep asking others for advice, hoping for approval or direction.
- It impacts your physical health. The repeated indecision pushes our body to accept a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ as the norm. This can lead to the body being in a constant state of stress and unable to return to a state of balance. This also means our immune system becomes hyper-vigilant as our body feels we are constantly under possible threat. (*future blog posts will unpack this in more detail)
If this list is starting to ring some alarm bells in your mind, you are probably thinking what now?
How do I improve my decision making strategies?
These strategies below are simply a starting point and could really help to move past indecision.
5 tips for better decision making
- Make time to think. If we want to get off the cycle of indecision, we need to set aside time to sit and be still. Carving out this time tells your brain that you want to sit with your thoughts. Even just popping on a 5-minute meditation can help calm the mind so you can actually listen to your inner voice.
- Write it down! For a long time, I struggled to write down my personal goals/dreams on paper. I only felt comfortable writing about my professional decisions or choices. I wasn’t ready to get real or vulnerable about it. Writing or typing down your thoughts/choices tells your brain you want to problem-solve. It also helps you clarify your thought process so you can make those decisions.
- Get real on your goals. What do you really want? (NOT what society tells you) When you imagine yourself living your life to the fullest, what does that look like? What choices then need to be made?
- Get real on your reality. Using the Wheel of Life tool can be a great way to see the areas that you are thriving in and areas that need greater focus
- Reduce the external noise. To make decisions for your life, you need to listen to yourself! Yes, it can be helpful to chat it through with a friend/family member but make sure you don’t fall into the trap of running in circles and not making an actual decision. Declutter your social media accounts. We are so bombarded with messages and images of people showing us their best life. Sometimes less is more.
There has never been a better time to make that decision or choice that you have been putting off. So start small, get real on your reality and where you want to go and the path will appear, one decision at a time.