This is a guest post by “Alex” Caroline Robboy.
Are you indecisive? Do even the smallest decisions leave you wracked with anxiety and guilt? Do you sit silently in group texts about dinner, hoping someone else will make the decision for you? At it’s core, indecisiveness is an issue with being true to your authentic self. Fear (of rejection, of guilt, of seeming selfish, of choosing wrong, of being imperfect) all get in the way of pursuing what you really want; of being authentically you.
Here are three ways to tune-in to your gut, abandon indecisiveness and channel your authentic self in decision-making on a day-to-day basis:
1. Elevator test
This is good for choosing between a limited number of things. Close your eyes, and imagine you are standing in an elevator. Imagine that when you get to your floor, the right choice (whether it’s a dinner dish, a college, etc) will be waiting for you. When the elevator dings and the doors open, what do you see?
Why it works
Often we already know what we want, but the noise of anxiety/guilt/shame makes it hard to tune-in to our gut. Imagining that the choice has already been made, and revealing it to yourself quickly (the exercise should take about 10 seconds) can help cut through the barrage of messages in your head, and allow you to hear from your authentic self.
90 second flows
This can be helpful for larger decisions with amorphous choices. Set a timer on your watch or phone for 90 seconds. When the timer starts, you’ll say phrases that begin “I want ____.” Fill in the blanks with things you want to come as a result of this decision. For example “I want to pay off my debt, I want to be able to go on vacation, I want my parents to be proud of me, etc.” Keep saying “I want” phrases until the timer goes off. Don’t stop to think, just let your mouth run away with you. After the timer has gone off, write down three phrases you said that stuck with you. What answer do they point to?
Why it works
Sometimes fear/guilt/perfectionism can keep us from acknowledging what we really want. By forcing yourself to “flow” through as many “I want” statements as you can in 90 seconds, you can bypass the judgey voices in your head and get straight to the desires of your authentic self.
Reframe your response
Authentically decisive people still make mistakes, they just respond differently to them. Instead of beating themselves up, or treating a mistake as evidence that they have poor judgement, an authentically decisive person reframes mistakes as opportunities for growth. Take out a pen and paper and write four positive things you can say to yourself if the choice you make turns out to be imperfect.
Why it works:
Fear of choosing wrong can get between indecisive people and their authentic desires. By making a “back up plan” for handling imperfect choices, you can lower the stakes of choosing, and better access your authentic self.
Try these three tips this week and see if you are able to more quickly make decisions, and tune in to your gut!
“Alex” Caroline Robboy, CAS, MSW, CSTS, LCSW is the founder and executive director of the Center for Growth Inc / Therapy in Philadelphia. She has 20+ years of experience working with adults and children.
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