There is no right decision

Many people feel a lot of anxiety when it comes to making decisions.

I’ve written quite a few posts about the anxiety that can be felt around making decisions, choosing pathways and picking between different options.

One of my beliefs when it comes to making decisions that I created a few years ago is that, either way things will turn out fine. It’s not a case of there being a good and bad option but instead choosing a path or experience.

That’s something I would say to anyone picking between two options but I also like to remind myself of that when I have to make choices.

There are some situations where it might seem like there is a clear good option, let’s say for example it is the choice to spend the day at home or have a day out in in a new city.

Your initial thought may be that staying home is boring and going out is the obvious choice. However, maybe when you stay home you end up doing a bunch of things that you’ve been putting off for weeks or months. You end up decluttering your space, tidying up and just refreshing your space so that feels a little more vibrant and a little more you.

Perhaps if you choose to go out, you’ll end up seeing some cool places, spend time with friends and eat some good food. So, either way you still have a good day.

The idea of things turning out fine no matter which option you choose came from the fact that making choices can often be difficult and I wanted to find a way to make it easier. My fear was always making the wrong decision and so I’ve worked to find a way to eliminate that and suddenly making around decisions isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

The things you don’t want to do

Sometimes we have to do things that we don’t want to do. But it’s important to remember, there are levels to this sort of thing.

You might not want to go to work but you have to. Work could be 9-5 or it could be a 12 hour shift, that’s a lot of time spent doing something that you don’t want to do.

You might not want to leave your house to collect a prescription. That’s not likely to take more than 30 minutes so even though you don’t want to do it, it’ll be over soon.

It’s really important to ensure that you’re not spending spending too much of your life doing things that you don’t want to do. Doing so may lead to a life of misery. And so if you find yourself spending large amounts of your day doing things you don’t want to do, maybe you could do something to change that?

You don’t need to change

Just because you try something new doesn’t mean you have to adopt it as a long term thing or even do it more than once.

This applies to so many things work, relationships, hobbies, habits, diet and fitness.

Trying new things is about being open to something you’ve not experienced before, it doesn’t require permanent change.

We so often advocate for change and for not sticking with the way things are. However, sometimes trying something new one time is enough to make you realise that you don’t actually need to change.

There’s nothing wrong with trying something and then deciding that it’s not for you. In the short run it might feel like a step back, in the long run you’re simply doing what feels best for you.

Making time for good habits

I think most people have a list of at least a few things that they can do to improve their days.

Some examples could be exercise, being out in nature, mediation, yoga, drinking water, herbal tea, solo dance party, listening to music, journaling or going for a walk.

None of those things necessarily take a lot of time but they’re things that you have to make time for. They require more effort than sitting on the sofa binging episodes of a show but they come with way more benefits.

So, when you feel like you can’t be bothered, keep that in mind.

Sticking with what you know

The familiarity of what you know might be the thing that keeps you from exploring other ideas or options.

Let’s take the example of food.

Imagine you go to a restaurant and order the duck. Now imagine the duck is incredibly delicious and so each time you go back, you order the same thing.

You find yourself sticking with what you know because you know you’ll like it. But there are many other options available to you that are worth exploring. It’s not that you’ll like them more but instead a reminder of the important of taking advantage of what is available. I think sometimes in life we take our options for granted.

As much as there are so many other options available for you to experience, you turn them down because you’d rather play it safe with wat you know than venture out into the unknown.

But what you end up forgetting is that the very thing you’re clinging to because of familiarity was also once unfamiliar, you just got used to it over time.

Getting ready for what you want

If there’s something that you want and something that you’re working towards, you might find that you don’t quite know what to do once you finally get it.

We spend so much time wishing and pining for the things that we want that sometimes it takes finally getting them for us to realise that we don’t even want them anymore.

Or maybe once you get the thing you want you don’t really know what to do next.

This is about things like wanting a promotion but not fully considering that once you get it you’ll have more responsibilities. Instead you could begin by trying to get more experience in what will be involved in the new role before you get it so that when you do it’s a seamless transition.

It could be moving to a particular town that’s far from everyone you know but not considering that you might feel lonely for the first . To prepare you could come up with things you’ll do to meet new people such as volunteering or attending local events.

Or perhaps it’s wanting to go viral but not knowing what to do with the attention once you get it. You could instead focus on consistently putting stuff out so that when you gain an influx of attention nobody has to wonder ‘what’s next?’.

As great as it is to want things it’s also important to have some idea of what you’ll do once you get them.

Getting ahead and falling behind

The trick to getting ahead is to increase your work rate and never go below your usual work rate.

If you want to get ahead long-term then you have to make time to regularly increase your work rate, this gives you the ability to know that you’re always ahead even when you back to your usual work rate.

However, if you want to get ahead as a temporary thing, you can increase your work rate for a period of time and then you can take time time off from working. But before long that time will run out and you have to get back to work again otherwise you fall behind.

The way I work follows the second option, getting ahead temporarily. Every month or so I’ll have a period of time where my work rate increases. This gives me the chance to take time off completely or space to work without focusing on the end result.

Does more choice make us happier?

A lot of people regularly find themselves overwhelmed.

The possibilites in every area of life are growing more and more each day.

There was a point in time where what you ate was limited to what you could kill and what you could grow at that time of year.

On one hand having more choice gives us the possibility of a richer life with more freedom. And let’s not forget, the increase in choice is the result of innovation that has has resulted in more options than humans once thought was possible.

However, having more choice can also make things harder, having 100 options instead of 10 can end up causing unnecessary stress. This in turn can reduce your overall happiness.

I think the important thing to remember is that no matter how much or how little choice you have, there is always room for innovation.

But we can’t ignore the unhelpful side effects of increased choice and so the important thing to remember is that when you know what you want you’re less likely to be overwhelmed.

What to do when it’s not working

If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. It really is that simple yet we often end up making things more complicated than they need to be.

We moan and complain about the way things are and daydream about the way we wish things could be. But we forget that actually things can change and things can be different if we choose another option. In moments it might seem like you’re stuck but there are always options available to you.

Choosing a different way may require patience and it might not be easy but trying something new is much better than sticking with what’s not working.

Putting pressure on the outcome

In periods of uncertainty we often put an excessive amount of pressure on a particular outcome.

You tell yourself you’ll be be happy if things turn out one way and that the other outcome will be a disaster.

And of course, in life often one option is much better than the other. However, too much attachment to something you have no control over can have unhelpful impacts.

What happens when things don’t turn out the way you wanted?

I’ve learnt that it is much more helpful to focus on yourself and your own well being and not be so dictated by external influences. That way even when things don’t turn out the way you’d have liked, you’ll still be totally fine.