Many people suffer anxiety and even have a fear of making decisions. Don’t believe me? Just imagine that it is up to you to decide what restaurant to take a group of friends to dinner.
There are several reasons for this. Decisions require cognition (brainpower). Cognition requires energy. This is why it is more difficult to make a decision when we are physically exhausted.
Another reason for this is, that decisions often carry emotional attachments. We tend to think that if we make the wrong decision, or go with what we truly want, we may let someone down. As a result, our nervous system learns to not like making decisions.
Being decisive is a good quality to have just because most people have a difficult time with it. However, there is another solution rather than just forcing ourselves to be more decisive.
What Do You Value?
When we face choices, we open it up to how we are FEELING. Our feelings change every day and may not line up with what we want or value.
Relying on our feelings to make decisions is a recipe for disaster. One way to eliminate the pressure of making a decision is to get clear on your VALUES. Our values dictate our decisions, which determine our actions and ultimately create our behaviors.
Why do you want to achieve that goal? What’s the greater purpose behind accomplishing something?
By resorting to our values, we eliminate the emotional attachment to making decisions. Our actions and behaviors begin to align with our higher vision for our life rather than our emotional state, which can change from moment to moment.
If you want to understand what your values are, write out your perfect day. What are you doing? How do you go about your day? What are you seeing in your world?
If someone values their health, their perfect day is going to be centered around things that make them healthy. Exercising, eating nutritious foods, taking the stairs, and drinking water are all going to be part of their day. Your daily actions and behaviors will speak to what you value most.
When you feel your emotions running wild and you need to make a decision, take a breath, and resort back to your perfect day and what you value.
Automate the Process
There is another pitfall that people can fall into when faced with decisions. We tend to overthink our decisions in an effort to make the ‘best’ decision so much so that we never actually take action. This is cycle is known as analysis paralysis. For so many, this is an all too common staple in their life.
Analysis paralysis not only makes it difficult to make decisions but also gives us inconsistent results. When we approach our decisions this way, we innately want to avoid making them. Eventually, though we must make a decision and when we do, often that decision has the opposite effect of what we intended. We ultimately become frustrated and give up on our journey altogether.
To break this cycle, we must do one thing, AUTOMATE the process!
This simple process allows us to be more consistent and continue to move in the direction of what we value most.
When we automate things we eliminate steps in the process. Each step that we take away helps to reduce the number of decisions we must make. We just need to show up!
You can use this process for almost anything.
- If you are having trouble making home-cooked meals, you can subscribe to a meal delivery or meal prep service.
- You can automate monthly bill payments to help become more financially responsible.
- You can even buy a robot vacuum if you want to do a better job of cleaning up.
Whatever you want to achieve, figure out how you can automate as much of the process to help eliminate decisions. This of course is until you get to a place within yourself where you can consistently make decisions that align with your values. Remember, it’s a journey and it is okay to need extra support.
100% or Nothing
If you decide to commit to something 100%, does that leave any room for days off?
Let’s say someone values their physical health and decides to lose 50lbs. If that person is COMMITTED, do they have a choice of whether or not to eat a bowl of ice cream late at night? Can they stay in bed an extra hour instead of going to the gym because they’re tired?
If they are COMMITTED, the answer is NO! They already made that decision back when they committed to losing 50lbs.
Fully committing to something can help eliminate the illusion of choice in the decision-making process.
Every time we face a choice we must make a decision. Whether it is what clothes to wear, what restaurant to eat at, who to marry, or where to live. Choices are all around us. The answer is not to never make another decision again but instead to adjust the way we make decisions.
If you want to lose 50lbs but decide to commit to a nutrition plan 6 days a week, every day you will have to DECIDE if today is that day off, or not. If you commit to 7 days a week, you never even ask the question.
I understand that resting is important and that we need to live a little. However, if we want to change our lives in the long term, we must be willing to create massive change in our lives today.
If the result is so important to you, make it NON-NEGOTIABLE. Make it something that you will commit to every day, especially in the beginning. This doesn’t allow room for you not to do it. You never face the choice and will be led to your ideal life faster.
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