How To Make a Decision ...by Stan Hyman, PhD, LCSW
The fear of making decisions in its extreme form is called Decidophobia, literally the fear of making decisions.
People suffering with this problem will often experience the many symptoms associated with phobias such as dry mouth, high anxiety, dizziness and even serious panic attacks whenever they are called upon to make a decision, or even think about making one. These people can benefit greatly from counseling.
As for the rest of us who sometimes (or often) get stuck when it comes to decision making here are some valuable tips to make that process run smoother.
Commit to decide: Not making a decision is a decision…DUH! You will be stuck in the netherworld of limbo if you procrastinate (see Newsletter on Procrastination). Even if you decide to put the decision off to another time be precise in when and be prepared at that time to commit.
Know the objective: What is the problem you want to solve? Often decision-making is clouded by lack of clarity about your problem. Write down in clear language what you want to do.
Evaluate the importance of the decision: Although few choices mean life and death, some may have larger consequences.
Consider your options: Write down your choices so you can see them clearly before you. Talk to some trusted friends or family members to get their input.
Gather information: Collect information from as many sources as possible. The more you know about the options the more informed your decision will be.
Pros and Cons: List the pros and cons of each choice and weigh them carefully.
Think about how you will feel: Take the time to consider how you will feel about any of the options you are considering.
Determine the best alternative: Once you have gotten all the information you need, evaluated it, and considered your options, you can make a choice by sorting through the options you have left.
Make a decision that fits you and your values: Take action…but do not make a decision that goes against who you are and what you truly believe. Ultimately that is one you will likely tend to regret.
Final note on decision-making: In most situations where we are making quick, everyday decisions the best strategy is to know your goals and let your experience and intuition guide you. Most people who have fear about decision-making get hung up in thinking about making the wrong choice. If the consequences of your decision is not life or death, almost any choice can be corrected or changed.