Do you enjoy making decisions? I don’t. Never have, really. They tend to paralyze my mind or send it into overdrive, thinking through all the options and possible outcomes and doing lots of research in an attempt to make the best decision possible with the resources or information available. 

Like choosing a topic for my next blog. I have a whole list of ideas, but it’s the night before my self-appointed deadline to publish, and I haven’t picked one yet. So, I’m writing about that: My inability to make decisions, even simple ones at times. 

In trying to think through and figure out what it is about decision making that gives me so much trouble, it seems to come down to mainly two scenarios:

  1. Either, I know exactly what I want to do, but I’m not sure if that is what others want to do (or, more importantly, I can never seem to tell if their “whatever you want” actually means “whatever you want” or if it means “I shouldn’t have to tell you what I want, because you should already know”)

  2. Or, I have several equally good options to choose from, so I can’t decide which to choose now, in this moment (a couple examples: I’m looking for a snack to eat, and I could have an apple, a cookie, some chips, cheese, or a sparkling mineral water. All good options, things I enjoy, but, in the moment, it feels as if I have to pick the perfect thing, because what if I never have the opportunity to snack ever again in my life? Or what if I’m disappointed in my snack and then impulsively eat all the other snacks to make up for that disappointment? Or what about figuring out what creative thing to focus on for an afternoon? I have a whole list of projects I’d like to complete, but with only so many hours in a day and so much energy to expend, I can’t paint a picture, write a song, finish a diamond painting, record a song, take pretty pictures, edit those pictures so they’re even prettier, manage social media, sew a new jacket, illustrate a children’s book, stream on YouTube, hold an art show, and so much more all in one afternoon. But how do you decide what to focus on first? It takes a lot of effort to push past this paralyzing task.)… That was a lot for a pair of parentheses.

Because decisions can be so difficult to make, I’ve found that routines and backup plans help tremendously to reduce the stress of making decisions. Things like eating oatmeal for breakfast every day, or having a list of favorite meals to choose from when I don’t know what I’m hungry for. (I’m writing about food in most of these examples… I must be hungry.)

It tends to be the smaller decisions, the ones that don’t really matter that much in the long run, that trip me up the most. Big decisions, with a little logic and a lot of thought (and prayers), often have a clear path ahead of them. Not always, but more often. 

Do you struggle with decision-making? What kinds of decisions give you the most trouble?

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