June 18, 2018

Make Up Your Mind: Why You Are Irritated by Indecisiveness

Written by Rachel Eddins

Posted in Anxiety and with tags: Anxiety, indecisiveness, stress management

man contemplating but unable to make up his mindItalian or American? Coffee or tea?

Dive into a new career path or take the internal promotion? Stay in your Houston apartment or move into a new home out of the city? Do you just seem to never be able to make up your mind?

If you routinely struggle to make up your mind about just about everything, big or small, you may be wrestling with anxious indecision. It’s a frustrating way to live.

You may feel irritated by your own uncertainty, boxed in by your lack of progress, or irritated by your inability to inspire the confidence of others.

Indecisiveness can feel paralyzing and frightening

Indecision usually signals a lack of self-confidence. It may seem that making up your mind feels fraught with failure or unforeseen consequences.

You may worry that committing to one choice or another bears too much responsibility. So you find yourself hesitating and procrastinating or constantly deferring to others to avoid making decisions.

However, as frustrating as this is to those around you, you do understand the insecurity and upset your indecisiveness creates more than anybody else. So, before you tear your hair out or chew off that last nail, take a breath.

To effectively challenge your habit of indecisiveness, you must first know where it originates.

What exactly is making the decision making so hard? Why are you filled with so much anxiety?

Just know, you aren’t alone in this. There are many other people who struggle to make up their minds too.

Consider the following:

Why Decision-Making Can Be Such a Struggle

1. Analysis Paralysis – Overthinking It

While it’s important to heavily weigh your decisions (especially the big ones), thinking too much about anything will cause you to overanalyze it. Revisiting a situation over and over again can confuse you more than when you first began.

Instead of mulling the decision repeatedly in your head, try getting your thoughts out on paper or sharing it with someone you trust. Creating a pro/con list can provide perspective.

The objectivity of an uninvolved friend or objective therapist can provide support as well as much-needed clarity.

2. People Pleasing

Those of us with people-pleasing tendencies are more likely to have trouble making decisions. You may be fearful not only of making the wrong choice but of having people look down on you because of it.

When you associate your reputation with the decisions you make, decisions all of a sudden become bigger or more “important.” This is counterproductive because you need to do what feels right for you.

You might even be afraid that your decisions will hurt someone’s feelings. Remember, indecision or not, making up your mind is also a decision.

If you are informed and prepared, don’t be afraid of choosing the option that’s riskier or not as “safe” just because you’re scared of people’s opinions. Your decisions, right or wrong, won’t feel like your own if you make them simply because you think other people will approve or disapprove.

3. Stress and Anxiety

Being overly stressed and anxious are often key factors in indecisiveness. Whether you’re worried about the effects of your decision or you have too much on your plate in other areas of your life, overwhelm can impact your decision-making skills.

There’s a reason people use the phrase “sleep on it”;  often, the best decisions are made when you are less worked up and have a clear, rested mind.


4. You Don’t Trust Your Intuition

Trusting your gut is crucial in the decision making process. More often than not, you know deep down what decision you “should” make.

Although it may feel extremely difficult, your gut, your internal sense, knows what’s right for you.

When you don’t listen to your gut or trust your intuition, you may begin overthinking the situation or deferring to others complicating of making your circumstances even more difficult.

5. Perfectionism

Perfectionism leads to indecision by way of avoidance or fear. Maybe you think you don’t have enough information.

The timing isn’t just right. Perhaps you feel inadequate and can’t make up your mind. Perfectionism can lead to paralyzing indecision.


Do you have symptoms of anxiety? Take our anxiety test to learn more. 


Fear of Failure or Negative Outcomes is a Common Reason for Indecision

Many people are hesitant to make decisions because they’re worried that they’ll fail somehow. This can cause you to prolong making decisions or even pretend that the situation you face doesn’t exist.

While decisions are certainly tough, not making a decision at all can create tougher consequences later.

Often a decision will automatically be made for you by refusing to make your own. Then, unfortunately, you’ll have no say in the matter.

Common fears leading to indecision

  • Fear of success
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of abandonment/rejection
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of being judged
  • Fear of fear

Recognizing one’s fear is often difficult as it can be disguised in some extremely subtle ways.

Avoidance – spending too much time on simple tasks and not taking action on tasks with difficult decisions. It might be easy to think you’re too busy to move forward when actually, fear is driving your indecision.

Busyness or procrastination – Busyness is a common strategy to avoid decision making on the tough stuff. While you may be able to rationalize your busyness, the truth is that fear is behind your decision procrastination.

Make up your mind with support and self-compassion

In the end, it’s important to remember that life doesn’t always go according to plan. You can make up your mind once and hope for the best, then something else may disrupt your plan. That’s okay too.

More opportunities to make better decisions will follow. But, by continuing to make the decisions that feel right for you, and share areas where you feel stuck with a loved one or therapist, your confidence will grow and life will begin work in the direction you aim it.

Next Steps

If you need help with indecision please contact one of our therapists. We offer many services related to anxiety and stress-management.  To get started now give us a call to schedule an appointment at 832-559-2622 or schedule an appointment online.

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