What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

Keep these ideas in mind when you’re unsure of what to do.

Ryan Latham

August 24, 2020

We’ve all been there. It’s easy to get stuck when none of your options stand out. One job has better hours and more interesting work, but the other job offers a better salary. The best options may be less than obvious.

Unfortunately, failing to make decisions in a timely matter can have negative repercussions. And eventually no decision becomes a decision. With more time, you can develop more solutions.

Keep these ideas in mind when you’re unsure of what to do:

1. Know your values. Those who are well in-tune with their values have a much easier time making decisions. It’s much more challenging to make a choice when you’re unclear and lack a stable view of yourself, God and what’s important to you.

2. Have goals. When you know exactly where you’re headed, most of the options can be eliminated quickly. Does a particular possibility bring you closer to reaching your goal? The more your decisions are based around your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them. Keep your goals fresh in your mind.

3. Collect the information you require. Wise decisions require good information. Most of us either fail to gather enough information or we’re forever stuck on this step.

  • Knowing yourself and your goals can dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to navigate your information-gathering efforts.

4. Examine your fear of failure. It’s common to shun actions that may result in failure. Ensure you’re not basing your decisions too much on the likelihood of success.

  • Avoid allowing a little uncertainty to prevent you from fully living your life.

5. Keep the long-term in mind. Many individuals are shortsighted. Prepare a foundation for the future. You may choose the easier option today with the intention of straightening things out down the road. However, it’s generally harder to change course once you’ve gained momentum.

6. Consider the risks. Managing risk isn’t just for investments. All decisions carry some element of risk. Consider what’s at stake before making a final decision.

7. Set a deadline. We’re all used to deadlines, whether they relate to a project at work or choosing a vacation destination. Give yourself a reasonable deadline and stick to it.

8. Choose. If you’re still stuck after applying all the other suggestions, just choose something. All the options are likely to produce a similar outcome. Pick one and begin taking action. Failing to choose is choosing to fail.

  • No progress can be made without a clear and committed decision. Even flipping a coin is infinitely more effective than failing to decide. Be confident and make a decision!

When you fail to decide what you want, you’re ultimately stuck with the simplest option available. If you don’t decide your life, outside forces will decide it for you. Avoid putting yourself in this situation.

Suppose you need to find a new apartment to rent. With a 3-month deadline, you have far more options than you do with a 7-day deadline. If you wait too long to decide what you want, you lose flexibility and your options are greatly restricted. Make your decisions intelligently and quickly. Your life will be more rewarding and less stressful.

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