How to make better decisions

BY Susannah Hickling

2nd Jan 2024 Life

1 min read

How to make better decisions
Having too many choices can be paralysing and cause anxiety, but you can overcome decidophobia. Susannah Hickling explains how 

Cut back your decisions

Shall I, shan’t I? What should I do for the best? When you’re feeling overwhelmed with possibilities, it’s often easier do nothing. That’s not a long-term solution, so try to focus on the really important issues and avoid sweating the small stuff. Be organised in your daily life—decide what you’re going to wear the night before, eat the same breakfast every day, know when you’re going to do certain chores. That cuts down the number of options you have to weigh at any one time.

Make it manageable

Follow a series of steps. First, write down the pros and cons of different options. Consider how you feel about them, rather than simply the number of points for and against. Discard all but the three or four most realistic courses of action. Next, gather information that will help with the decision, then seek advice from just a few people. It’s often helpful if they’re independent, rather than friends or family.

Set deadlines

 To avoid decision paralysis, set yourself a firm but realistic date by which you need to have picked your preferred option. This will also prevent you going down rabbit holes.  
Woman writing in a journal

Get perspective

Ask yourself what someone whose judgement you respect—a wise boss, a great teacher, your father—would have said or done in the same situation. 

Sleep on it

When you think you’ve come to the right conclusion, take a holiday or even just a day to think about something different before you actually commit.

Trust yourself

Making a decision is scary, but you’re the one who knows yourself best. To give yourself confidence, list the decisions you’ve made in the past that have worked out well and consider whether choices you consider bad were really that disastrous.

Seek help

If decidophobia is having a significant effect on your mental health, consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which can help counter the negative thought processes and facilitate more healthy ways of approaching problems. 
Keep up with the top stories from Reader's Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter