Making Decisions and Moving Forward, Even When It Feels Uncomfortable

decisions overthinking May 11, 2023

Making decisions is a part of life. Some decisions are small, like what to have for breakfast. Others are big, like whether to change jobs or move to a new city.

No matter the size of the decision, making a decision and moving forward can be uncomfortable.  Despite our best logical intentions, our primitive brains see this uncomfortableness as a threat to our safety.  And because the primary job of our primitive brain is to keep us safe, it will do everything it can to avoid making a decision and moving forward, even when we logically know it's the right move.

Your primitive brain is likely hung up on one of the following fears:

  • Fear of the unknown. When we make a decision, we are essentially choosing a path into the unknown. We don't know what the future holds, and this can seem scary.
  • Fear of failure. We all have a fear of failure. When we make a decision, there is always the possibility that we will make the wrong decision which may lead to failure.
  • Fear of change. Change can be uncomfortable. When we make a decision, we are essentially choosing to change our lives and do something different from that which has kept us safe so far.

In addition to these fears, when you add the turmoil of constantly second guessing or worrying about an upcoming decision, that can be worse than not making a decision at all.

Here are a few tips to help if you are feeling stuck and unable to make a decision:

  • Put a deadline on your research. You may think the more information you have, the better equipped you'll be to make a sound decision. However, there are diminishing returns with too much information.  Instead of continuing your research indefinitely, choose a deadline to make your decision.  This will limit the about of research you can do, and help you to focus on the most important information.  A 1-3 day deadline is a great place to start.
  • Consult with someone who has been in your shoes. Sometimes, it can be helpful to talk to someone you trust about your decision.  Be careful to consult with individuals who have been in a similar situation, or made a similar decision in the past. Seeking the advice of an individual who has been in your shoes will ensure they thoroughly understand your concerns.
  • Trust your instincts. Ultimately, you need to trust your gut and make the decision that feels right for you. Often times the delay of a decision is more about committing to the decision, rather than knowing the preferred choice.  Listen to your instincts and make a commitment.

Once you've made a decision, it's important to start moving forward. Don't spend time second-guessing yourself or worrying about whether you made the right decision. Decide and move on.  Start taking the next action that will make this decision a success.

Need more help making an important decision?  Check out the Stop Overthinking guide for three philosophies you can adopt to stop overthinking and get shit done, or schedule a free coaching session to get one-on-one personalized help.