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Struggle To Make Decisions? This is What it Means For Your Wellbeing

3 MIN READ • 4th March 2022

Struggling with your morning coffee order? Or are you doubting a big career move? Indecisiveness can strike whatever the hour, however mundane the decision – here’s how you can nip it in the bud

Like a lot of bad habits (see nitpicking, smoking, emotional shopping and biting your fingernails) indecisiveness is tricky to stop, even when you’re fully aware that it’s negatively impacting your life. However, decision-making is an inescapable part of being a human and many of us make tiny decisions, every hour of every day. So why do so many of us struggle with pinning down what we actually want?

Not to be mistaken for actual confusion (when you’re generally unclear about something), according to the sciencebods of the Journal of Rational-Emotive and Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy, indecisiveness is: “A dysfunctional personality trait characterised by a generalised difficulty to make decisions.” In other words, you find it difficult to stick to your guns, decide or resolve scenarios or situations. “Indecisiveness is the lack of confidence in one’s own judgment,” explains psychologist Dr Alison McClymont. “This can be caused by a belief that standards must be achieved that are actually unrealistic (being a perfectionist), an over reliance on the opinions of others, or even a strong degree of concern about others’ opinions of you. In more severe cases, it can be driven by a fear of separation or abandonment.” While decision-making might not be your strongest attribute, you can take comfort in knowing that it’s a skill that can be learnt. Read on to find out how.

1. Will this matter, x 10

An effective way of stopping your thoughts running away with you, is to be realistic about the longterm effects of a decision. “This is a great way to test if you are making the right choice, says life coach Kitty Waters ( “Take yourself into the future once you have made the decision – how do you feel? Ultimately, when making a difficult decision you should feel good about the outcome. Usually, deep down, we know the right thing to do, it’s just whether we are willing to listen.” Ask yourself, will this decision matter in 10 hours, 10 days or 10 years? If the answer is no, then chances are you’re overthinking the process.

2. Park your perfectionism

If deciding whether or not to say ‘no’ to that christening you don’t really have time to go to, sends you into a spiral of worry about how your family or friends might react, try to bat away your anxious thoughts or set a time limit on when you need to decide by. Base your decision on what’s best for your mind and body in that very moment, rather than focusing on what will please people in the longrun. Regarding other people’s opinions of you above your own needs and wants, will only lead to resentment in the future. And remember, one decision doesn’t define who you are.

3. Learn to trust yourself

One of the biggest reasons people find decision-making difficult is because they don’t fully trust themselves to do the right thing. This can be because of a lack of selfconfidence, or because you’ve made decisions in the past that maybe haven’t turned out as well as you hoped. Think back to whether there was a time when you got something wrong, or you made a mistake that you’re still struggling to forgive yourself for. Could this be the root cause of your indecisiveness? “At the end of the day, there are no right or wrong decisions because each time will always be an opportunity for learning more,” says life coach Nicky Clinch, the author of Surrender: Break Free of Your Past, Realize Your Power, Live Beyond Your Story. Regaining trust in yourself isn’t always easy, but there are steps you can take. Grab some paper and make a strength portfolio:

Are you inquisitive?

Try to add a recent example by each one. Taking active steps to boost your self-confidence by recognising your abilities, trying new activities, meeting new people and practising self-affirmations can all help you build that all-important trust in yourself.

4. Limit outside opinions

If you find yourself always messaging friends or family members prior to making a decision, then try to narrow down who you can take your advice from, as this can sometimes overpower your own decision-making process and cloud judgement. “It’s always good to gather facts and figures and to listen to the opinions of other people,” says clinical psychologist Linda Blair ( “However, I would take advice from no more than two people. Remember that no one knows you as well as you do. Make sure the decision is your own – that’s the best sort of decision you can make.”

Meet the writer
Stacey Carter
Freelance writer

When I’m not at my desk writing a feature or researching the latest trends in women’s health, you’ll probably find me deep in a book or doing a LISS-style session in the gym in the evening. I have... Discover more

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