Do you find it hard to make decisions and stick to them? This can cause frustration for yourself and those around you.
The inability to make simple decisions often stems from a lack of self-confidence.
There can be countless reasons why you lack the confidence in making decisions in your life. For example, you may have grown up where your parents made all the decisions for you, and you were told not to question them. Or it may be that you do not like the pressure it puts on you, as you question whether you are making the right decision and are fearful how your decision will affect others. You may feel very anxious at the thought of having to make a decision.
How to recognize if you are lacking confidence in making decisions:
- You prefer for others to make the decision for you - If you typically pass the decision making to someone else, because you do not trust that you will make the right decision, then this demonstrates that you do not have confidence in your ability.
- You never make a decision - Other people may be relying on you for a decision, but you let weeks or months slide without ever making a decision. If you avoid making a decision, simply because you do not know what to decide, then this can be an indicator that your confidence level in your abilities is poor.
- When you do make a decision, you second-guess yourself - If you constantly worry that you have not made the right decision, you are again demonstrating lack of confidence in your abilities.
No matter what has led up to the inability to trust yourself when making decisions, it is something that you can become better at if you work at it.
5 Ways to Improve Your Confidence with Making Decisions
1. Pray - I believe the first step to making confident decisions is to pray. God is wise and is gracious enough to bless us with the necessary wisdom to make good decisions if we ask Him. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”. ~James 1:5 (NIV)
Praying for wisdom is important because it shifts our focus to God instead of obsessing over your decision. This allows for peace to enter your heart knowing that God is in control and will help you make the best decision possible.
2. Make an “unofficial” decision - In other words, this is a decision that is not yet “set in stone.” Try making a decision, and live with that decision for a day.
For example, you have decided to upgrade to a bigger house, and you have the money saved up. You find a house that you really like that fits all the criteria you want in a bigger house. It has a big yard, a deck, and an attached garage.
However, if you have trouble making decisions, you may find yourself trying to talk yourself out of it, as you begin to worry how you will afford it, the increased heating and cooling costs, and so forth. This is where it can help to make an “unofficial' decision.
You have to decide that you will or will not move. Pick one, and live with that decision for a day. Make your mind believes that the decision is a real one that you have made. Then see how your decision makes you feel. This can be a good way to test out decisions before making them official. Knowing that you can still change your mind, if it does not feel right, can be comforting.
3. Recognize decisions that are reversible - For example: if you are having a difficult time determining what color to paint your house, start by getting a number of color swatches. Then make a decision, rather than continuing to fret over what is the perfect color. Realize that if you start painting and do not like the color, that this is a decision that can easily be fixed by choosing another color.
Knowing that you can reverse a decision gives you peace of mind and increases the confidence you need to just make a decision.
4. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen - Similar to the previous point above, you need to recognize that not all decisions are life altering. If you can begin by making small decisions such as what movie to go to, you can grow your confidence to make bigger decisions as time goes on.
Also recognizing that even when “the worst case scenario” has happened in your life, you have obviously survived it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this blog post.
Therefore, knowing that all things eventually work out is a confidence booster. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purposes” ~Romans 8:28 (NIV)
5. Write down pros and cons of each decision you are considering - Sometimes it can help if you write down and see your ideas for and against a decision written down on paper in front of you. When you see (rather than just think of) the options, it can make it easier to come to a decision.
After you list your pros and cons give them a number that measures how much they are worth. Just because it’s a pro doesn’t mean that it measures out to more than one of the cons.
Let me explain.
Let’s say you are deciding on whether or not to accept an offer for a new position within your company. One of the pros you come up with is that it will pay you more money. However, one of the cons is that you will have to work longer hours. Does the fact that you will be making more money outweigh the added hours of work to your week and time away from your family?
Therefore, knowing how to weigh your pros and cons is critical to making confident decisions.
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” ~Luke 14:28 (NIV)
Now that you’ve learned some ways to help you make decisions with more confidence, take some time to analyze what area of your life you are stalling in making a decision you know you should make. Then, take the necessary steps with God’s wisdom and make a decision knowing that taking action is the best way to grow your confidence.