How to go on a decision detox
Thinking of taking up a new hobby this year? If so, which one? And when? If you’re at an evening class, who will make supper? And how will the kids get to their music lesson? Maybe you’ll have to call in a favour… but who should you ask?
Even the simplest decision can cause a domino effect that requires you to make a thousand more choices. And, when everything is so finely balanced, disrupting even one part of a house of cards could bring the whole lot down. Best to leave things as they are.
Except, of course, that avoiding decisions is a decision, too. A decision not to try something new is a decision to keep things as they are, even if that way isn’t working. But our lives are so full of decisions – what route to take to work, what colour to paint the hall – that it’s not surprising if, at some point, we decide we’ve had enough!
Would that be such a bad thing?
If you don’t want your life to stagnate, you need to make some decisions, but perhaps not all of them. Here are three ways you can cut down on those conundrums and de-clutter a busy mind.
1 Stop people dumping their decisions on you
Some people are skilled at avoiding taking ownership of their lives. Faced with a decision, they find someone to take on this nasty job. Maybe the request is dressed up as being in your best interest: when you go for dinner with a buddy and they say, ‘I just want something you’ll like. You decide.’
Sometimes it’s portrayed as a plea for help – ‘What would you do?’ And sometimes it’s not hidden at all – ‘Can you decide for me?’ Refuse to take this role. Remind them these must be their decisions; don’t let their flattery or your impatience sway you.
2 Close down options
There’s nothing wrong with habits. I have nearly the same dinner every night. It’s quick and healthy and I like it. Sometimes people suggest I shake it up a bit. Then I stare into the fridge for half an hour knowing what I want, but feeling obliged to be more daring. There’s no need to order a different coffee flavour each day or wear a different style of outfit to work. If something works for you, don’t change it. Leave your decision-making skills for times when they’re really needed.
3 Let ‘the universe’ decide
There are many circumstances in which you can leave a decision to external forces. I let ‘the universe’ decide my vegetable intake – we have a veggie box delivered and just eat whatever is in it. You can let the universe decide where you go on holiday by walking into a travel agent and saying, ‘What do you have for next week?’ You can stick a pin in the cinema listings and go to whichever film the universe chooses.
Most of us operate as if there’s a right answer to life’s questions, and if we consider them hard enough we will find the correct option. In truth, there are very few right answers. In trying to make the right choice, we often limit ourselves to what is familiar or sensible. Leaving some decisions to ‘the universe’ can open up experiences – some you’ll love, some you’ll hate – that enrich your life. There are lots of ways to cut down the choices you do make, leaving your brain free for those decisions that really warrant your attention. You just have to choose the approach that’s right for you!
How do you go about making decisions? Share and tweet with us @healthymag