Professional Development

7 Steps to Making Faster and Better Life Decisions

stop-overthinking
Written by Peter Jones

You know you do it. It takes you half an hour to decide which sandwich to order at lunch. A week to decide what to do with your weekend. Years to decide in which direction you want to take your career.

You tell yourself just to make a darn decision, but as soon as you do the chorus of doubts and second-guessing starts. If you want to make faster and better life decisions, it's important to stop overthinking everything in your life. Here are 7 excellent strategies for how to clear your head.

1. Zoom out and look at the big picture

Be a bit more mindful and start observing your thoughts from a distance. Rather than getting all caught up in the moment, observe your process and try to take the panic out of it. Simply noticing the restlessness of your mind without being swept away by that can help.

2. Write it down

If you don’t have someone to talk your options through with, you can always talk them through with yourself—at least on paper. You’ll be able to organize (and see) your thought process and perhaps see the situation much more clearly.

3. Stop thinking so much

Sometimes designating “no-thinking times” is the way to go. If you have trouble sleeping, for example, limit yourself to not thinking about stressful things after 8 p.m. Or, you could schedule specific thinking time (say in 20 minute sections) and try to keep the hamster wheel still the rest of your day. When your time is up, move on to something more productive and try again in your next designated time slot.

4. Walk away for a moment

It’s really hard to concentrate on two things at once. Distract yourself from mental torture by doing literally anything else. Find an absorbing activity and use it as a cure-all for depressed or stressed moments.

5. Be proactive

Break a thought spiral by taking proactive steps towards getting something done. Pick one thing you can do now and focus on that. Do that one thing. And whenever you find yourself worrying endlessly about the future, take a break and repeat.

6. Listen to and trust yourself

Your own opinion matters. Respect it. Trust yourself to make the right choice. And let go of the doubts.

7. Know you can change your mind

Even if you do make the “wrong” choice, don’t despair. It’s not worth gnashing your teeth over a decision when you’re really just worried you won’t choose correctly. Take away that fear by realizing that, no matter what happens, you can always change the wrong decision and correct things. No decisions are final. So no decisions require agonizing deliberation.

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