What to eat, what to wear, whether to get out of bed, or when to fall asleep. What jobs to take, tasks to do, or relationships to foster or let falter.
Decisions make our lives.
I have needed to make a multitude of decisions in my life, yet I have encountered something you are very likely familiar with: Indecision.
Analysis paralysis emerges from many causes: anxiety, fear or fear of missing out (FOMO), and more.
Whatever the cause, when you need to decide, read this collection that has helped me so very much in making life-changing decisions:
HALT before you make any large decision or have non-trivial discussions.
H – feed your hunger. Have something to eat, a cup of water to drink.
A – calm your anger. Hot feelings deliver burning, impulsive words that can scar.
L – accommodate your loneliness. Talk with a friend, search online for similar situations… it is dangerous to go alone, so take some company!
T – rest your tiredness. You are worse than drunk when tired, so at least nap if not getting a full night’s rest!
You good? Continue:
Ask the Right Questions
Whatever decision comes up most in these questions, do that immediately. When complete, repeat:
- What makes all else easier or unnecessary?
- What gives me the most satisfaction?
- What creates more time?
- What tangentially improves my skills? Relationships?
Tied or stuck? How about:
You have two choices, X and Y.
Imagine and convince yourself you have decided to do X. How do you feel? Bad? Doubtful? Anxious?
If so, do Y and know you made the best decision!
High Quality > High Quantity
Being pickier when it comes to quality removes decisions that fail higher standards. Choosiness saves time and the need to make so many decisions.
Further, spending time on a few high-quality decisions is much more valuable than a lot of trivial nothings. Chores and daily habits come far distant second to keeping up relationships, investing finances, and deciding on employment and relocations.
Yet none of that matters if not executed on – if making a decision, do it ASAP. Even if the decision is imperfect, good now is virtually always preferred over great later.
Forgiveness and What Not
You are human with a finite amount of time and will to act in that time. So is everyone else. With that in mind, forgive yourself for making a decision not to do something (so long as it is a decision, and not laziness or avoidance).
Heck, enable yourself to decide not to do. “What not to do” lists – or better, “principles and policies” – can be more important than “To Do” decisions. So decide what not to do to clear the way for more important decisions to be made!
A final note to put fears and doubts aside: So long as it is not a catastrophic decision, you will be OK, as it is OK to fail (usually). So what counts as a “catastrophic decision?”
- Anything that addicts or permanently changes for the worse your mind’s capabilities. (Certain drugs, brain damage, dogma, etc.)
- Anything that hobbles or cripples your body. (Lost limbs, physical weakness, etc.)
- Anything that brands you with a society’s Scarlett Letter. (Failing family, crime, overt perversions, etc.)
Set Yourself Up for Future Decision Success
By now you hopefully have made some decisions you can live with, that will not scar you catastrophically.
You can do better still. Start living by these pieces of advice to make you future decisions even easier:
- Simplify. You are better for having less to be concerned about.
- Long-term Yes/No. Relationships and activities are so important for your future need to strive to be of the highest quality.
- Act now. It is the only thing you have to do – “JUST DO IT.”
- Sleep adequately. It is the foundation of all health.
- No added sugars. You are and will be worse for the simple carbs fogging your brain.
- Meditate. Appreciate and reflect in the ways best suited for you.
- Exercise. Even if it is a walk to meditate.
- Zoom out, slow down. Chill. Busy-ness is poverty.
- Journal. Take note of gratitude and record patterns. “Rubber Ducking” is a therapy all its own.
- Fats and proteins. Brain and brawn. These will keep you young and vigorous.
Read more about the above in my 10 Themes from Tribe of Mentors.
Need to decide still? Read all this again. Bookmark it. Read again and again – this is a decision that will benefit you for a very long time as it has benefited me.
Cheers to all you are going to accomplish ~