We are all faced with numerous choices every day ranging from deciding what we want to wear to figuring out how we would like to proceed with important work and life decisions. Many people can become overwhelmed when making decisions, however, particularly when they are more complex. There are many reasons that we experience this sense of overwhelm including:

  • we typically have too many options.
  • we feel as if there is only one ideal choice.
  • the fact that we are often foolish enough to believe that we can predict the future. That is usually not the case, though.

When stuck in a place of indecision, here are 9 steps that can help you move forward:

  1. Acknowledge that making a choice is hard. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing the answer right away. Remind yourself that decisions are hard and that you are wise to take your time with them.
  2. Gather information. Nothing helps me more than gathering a lot of information related to important decisions. I’ve been faced with a lot of complex choices recently and doing some extra fact-finding has enabled me to slow down and really think before jumping into anything that I might regret.
  3. Generate Alternatives, or Choices. We have a lot of options. Getting to the bottom of which one is best involves making a list of the most appealing or helpful choices.
  4. Compare the Pros and Cons of Each. Once you narrow down your most likely alternatives, jot down the advantages and disadvantages of each. You will start to see some clear frontrunners as you do so.
  5. Decide what is most important to you. Of those options at the top of your list, what is most important to you about each, and what is the trade off between those ranked highest?
  6. Get the Opinions of Others. I like to talk about important decisions with friends and trusted advisors. Talking through the different choices helps me think through them and I can often gain additional insight from those with a different perspective.
  7. Give Yourself Some Time To Mull It All Over. Once you have completed all of your due diligence, take a day or two to really think it over. Sometimes we need a few days to let it all sink in.
  8. Determine If There is Anything Else That You Haven’t Considered. Before going into the final round, brainstorm about whether or not you could have missed anything, or if there are any other aspects that are important to your ultimate choice.
  9. Make Your Final Decison and Give Yourself a Strong Reason for It. At this point, you should be in a good place in terms of your choice. Lay out the reasons for the selected option, and remind yourself that you feel strongly that this is the best option for you, and that there is not one single, perfect choice! Trust yourself and your ability to discern. You’ve got this.