Difficulty in making decisions: possible causes and recommendations

Many times, the difficulty in making decisions is due to waiting for the approval or opinion of others. How to overcome this?

Last update: October 24, 2021

We are more used to making decisions than we think. We do it daily, minute by minute. However, sometimes there is difficulty in making these decisions.

This is the natural especially when it comes to something complex and transcendental for our lives. Stopping to think and evaluate alternatives before acting is the wisest thing to do. But when we don’t get an answer or when we don’t get it in time, it becomes an obstacle.

Difficulty in making decisions: what is it about?

Decision making involves choose an alternative when two or more options are presented. This is a process in which we analyze the pros and cons of following a certain path.

It implies, in a way, an orientation to the future. Deciding is also resigning and implies taking charge of the consequences. Both aspects influence and can paralyze a movement.

This difficulty in making a decision translates into a constant round trip, in permanent rumination on what to do. This is how a dead end loop begins.

Decision-making involves choosing a path among available alternatives. It is not always an easy task.


Causes and consequences regarding difficulty in decision-making

In psychology, when we think about causes It is important to note that a problem is fed by different factors. Perhaps some of them are more decisive or of greater weight than others, but we are not talking about a single condition that originates or maintains it.

In this sense, among the causes that can affect the difficulty of decision-making, it is possible to think of the following:

  • Perfectionism: For a person who holds himself to high standards of perfection, nothing is ever enough. As everything can be improved, the conditions are never correct. While it is true that many aspects can be improved, there is no worse battle than one that does not occur. In this way, there is no pragmatism when executing and we lose the possibility of growing and improving.
  • Procrastination: In many cases, failure to activate a decision has to do with postponing it indefinitely. What happens is that the matter remains unresolved because other priorities arise. Thus, indecision is projected into the future.
  • Fear and insecurity: the fear of being wrong is one of the reasons that paralyzes decision-making.
  • Excessive dependence on the opinion of others: Many times, a decision is delayed because we wait for the approval or opinion of others. This is linked to the previous point, since it denotes a certain lack of security and confidence in one’s own criteria.
  • We don’t know how to do it: It may happen that we are faced with a momentous decision, but we do not know where to start.

About the consequences

Regarding the consequences of difficulty in making decisions, it is worth highlighting some aspects:

  • Opportunities are lost: the round trip In decision-making, it means that we do not define ourselves with respect to a situation at the right time.
  • Not making decisions influences the mood: the person experiences frustration, anxiety about unresolved issues or remains ruminating on the topic of interest. In this way, there is a huge expenditure of energy.


What can be done about the difficulty in making decisions?

There are different paths that can be explored to try to unlock what prevents us from making decisions. Some of the tips are as follows:

  • Asking questions, rehearsing scenarios and narrowing down options: If you are one of those people who overanalyze a situation, the important thing is to think about the options that open up after making a decision and limit the possible responses to one or two. If A passes, then I go B or I lean towards C. This could give you peace of mind that you have a leeway if something unforeseen comes up. On the other hand, if you are one of the people who is overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the future, it is important that you analyze several scenarios.
  • Respect and listen to yourself: It is essential that you begin to listen to yourself, to understand your needs and desires, to base yourself on your intuition and experience.
  • Learn to manage emotions: to better cope with tolerance for frustration.
  • Work on the thoughts that impede decision making: It is not life-threatening to be wrong, but it is important to unravel what thoughts or values ​​are at the base of this difficulty. Sometimes we get away from reality and think of very catastrophic, extreme consequences or that only contemplate one facet of an entire situation.
  • Disaggregate the decision: As we mentioned before, sometimes the difficulty of making a decision is that it seems unapproachable. In this sense, if possible, you have to think about this matter in smaller units and take limited steps.
  • Talk it over with someone: expressing our difficulties or doubts can help. We can also write the ideas, as a way to visualize in a different way.
Writing in a personal journal helps clarify situations to recognize options and make decisions.

Not making decisions is already a decision

Suspending the making of a decision and postponing it in time implies a decision in itself. What happens is that this takes us from the place of action and proactivity to leave us in that of passivity or receptivity. Not making a decision does not solve the dilemma.

Most of the time, the problem is not in the decision we must make, but elsewhere: in those beliefs or prejudices that we have around something. However, if we do not face the issue and take responsibility for deciding, there are still consequences. Better to be able to decide and not be surprised.

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