There are so many reasons people are indecisive! They can be ambushed by their emotions when it comes to trying something new after many failures, or by their perfectionism if they mean to get their lover the perfect Valentine’s Day gift and feel the choices they have are not optimal for their lovers, and for what they mean to convey . . . they can have anxiety at having to choose from several good options when it comes to going to university, for instance, or they can feel they don’t have enough time, money, energy, or skills to tackle on certain projects.
If you recognized yourself in the above paragraph, take heart! There are ways for you to fight your indecisiveness.
First of all, remember that, in the words of Lao Tzu, “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
2. You don’t have to wait for the perfect moment to take that step. It may never (seem to) arrive. Instead, focus on getting the direction right. (More about this in a moment.)
3. A small, hesitant first step can do the trick just fine. You can worry about tweaking things later. I, for one, often have to redo design after design of custom cards and mugs after just creating them, because the overall picture of what I want to do forms in my mind as I work on those elements, which is as it actually happens for many creatives.
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Here’s a very small example. When I first started creating greeting cards, I focused on choosing certain photos of flowers, enhancing their contrast and colors if I needed to, and then writing a nice message inside—for which I used a nice cursive font and black writing. Later on, I realized that I wanted a happier hue for birthday cards (and Mother’s Day cards, etc.), so I picked for each card a tint or more, starting with one of the many included in the photo of flowers on the front.
Here’s one such card.
3b. Most people involved in complex projects figure out many business and personal steps on the go. And they start their projects before they feel “ready.” Often they do so out of passion, pouring their energies into something beside their main job, but many blend their focus on their calling with work that helps them put food on the table. Also, instead of trying to learn everything on their own, they usually consult with other people when they get to snags. Which leads me to 4.
4. Do turn to other people for help. No journey that led to anything truly impressive was accomplished by a person working on their own. And even when they work mostly on their own, people draw inspiration from other people in the pages of books. But I’m talking here about reaching to a friendly flesh-and-blood person. Not even Einstein worked on his own. He collaborated with other scientists and, if his letters are any indication, also with his wife Mileva.
5. Work through your emotions to realize what’s important to you in your relationships with other people and various special experiences and routines. You may need to resort to therapy for this one, especially if you want to get things clearer in a (much) shorter amount of time. Alternatively, you can turn to some good friends to figure out things with their help. Just make sure you don’t overburden them. Talking to friends helps because many people figure out things about their life as they talk about their problems, whether their friends help much with responses or not. Of course, it’s important to share your emotions and thoughts about big decisions with good friends.
6. Consider your options after discussions with those people. Even if their ideas may not work for you, these discussions will give you new insights and help you make more informed decisions.
And now, more specific tips.
7. Decide what matters most to you: the present, the short term, or the long term. Whatever you decide, be very mindful of the consequences for your life and those of dear ones in the present, near future, and long future.
8. Since you can’t address in one swoop all you may want to change in your life, make a list of priorities regarding various decisions, keeping in mind goals that affect you and the relationships and activities you hold very close to your heart.
9. Create a list of how a new decision you have in mind—for instance a new job—might be tweaked in order to be a better choice in your life. Talk to people who work in that field, search job descriptions and salaries, and don’t be afraid to ask for advice.
10. Create a list of pros and cons regarding how you will be affected by a new decision. Pros of creating a new blog, for instance, where to promote your art. Or of a new on-site job vs. work from home.
11. Create a list or pros and cons regarding how others in important relationships to you will benefit or suffer if you make a certain decision.
12. If you’re wary of making decisions because of some decisions you made in the past, learn to treat yourself—and others—when your actions pay off. You will feel good and this will increase your self-confidence. I invited one of my best friends to a very special concert when I began to earn more with my graphic design for Zazzle, and remembering that night turned to motivation that much better things are a-coming.
13. Embrace change and form new habits. If you’re stuck in a rut after a slew of bad decisions, embrace little bits of change and stick to them every day in order to form new habits. New habits lead to new lives. And a new life may start with only half an hour daily of doing something new: certain types of exercise, or, if you’re me, dancing in front of a movie.
14. As you work toward your goals, time yourself. The Pomodoro Technique works very well for that purpose. You work 25 minutes, then take 3 or 5 minutes off to stretch and make a cup of tea and rest your eyes, then back to 25 minutes of work. After a while you can give yourself a longer break. Try to accomplish certain tasks within 25 minutes, and you may find yourself having an easier time making decisions.
15. For important decisions, set aside larger intervals of time, for instance a whole weekend or several, and stick to that schedule, trying to finish everything within the time slot you set for yourself. This may be harder at first, but as you get more skilled at it, you’ll be able to work at decision-making within tighter time frames.
16. Take the Serenity Prayer to heart and don’t fret over things you can control. But do try to get “the courage to change the things that you can change.” How to do that? Friends can help. Mentors, likewise.
If friends and mentors are in short supply, join activities where you may find them. Do you like to write? Look for readings, book clubs, and writing groups in your area, and you may find other writers you’ll resonate with. Often you may find that you can make do with only a few very good friends and one or two mentors. But don’t disregard acquaintances either. Sometimes friendly acquaintances can offer great insights.
Pausing now to show you some of my designs with the Serenity Prayer 🙂
17. Give yourself permission to experiment, with the understanding that often good decisions do happen after trying certain things and failing. Which leads me to 18.
18. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t go according to plan. Many plans are meant to be adjusted. As you do that, remember 19.
19. Constantly manage your expectations so that they’re realistic.
Regarding 18 and 19, if you’re not earning as expected in a business venture in your first year, make new plans based on things that went right, things you’ve learned for the future, and various trends you’re spotting, and change your expectations based on the new objectives.
Which leads me to 20.
20. Stop to take stock. Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate. Don’t go in a certain direction without pausing to weigh often what is going right and what is going wrong. Remember that if you do the same things the same ways, you’ll get the same results—or, given how the economy suffers these days, even worse, if we’re talking about business or financial decisions.
21. As you pile decision upon decision, keep in mind a sense of balance. You may not want to push too much in a direction for the long term, for instance, if that takes you away from your family too long. Remember that a really satisfying life should bloom in many directions, more or less at once. True, sometimes there are exceptions, as with medical residents in the US, most of whom are struggling to survive as they go through their residency, but if you can, try to keep some semblance of balance in your life 🙂 And if from a point onward you can manage more than a modicum of balance, so much the better, as long as you don’t strive to have everything person A has plus everything person B has, and so on. Aim, instead, to work on things that are within your grasp. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t dream big! Just that you should get a feel of what kind of future lives you can choose from at any point for yourself, and get to work the hardest on the things you care about the most.
I hope some of the approaches listed above will help you make faster and better decisions.
As always, pins and shares are much appreciated!
To a happier, healthier life,