Ever struggled making a decision? Daft question…
Ever find yourself screaming to the heavens or despondently confiding in the bathroom mirror…
‘I just don’t know what to do?’
I’d imagine the answer is yes.
Anyone that knows me, is fully aware of my personal relationship with decision making. Let’s just say the above quote of ‘I just don’t know what to do’ has been so prevalent in my life that I’d actually see the humour of putting in on my tomb stone. In fact, I rather like that idea!
Moving on. The point being, that my excessive exposure to this delightful mind twisting experience means I’ve learnt a thing or two about this…
So I thought I’d share 9 TOP TIPS to help get you through these decision making quagmires.
But first… how much is this decision affecting your life?
Classic signs your ‘decision’ has grown legs and a personality (e.g. its become a mega problem)
- it’s like groundhog day in your mind – a tedious replay of ‘what should I do?”, “I don’t know what to do”, maybe I should do this…yes that’s it…no…yes…arghhhhhhh WHY CAN’T I WORK THIS OUT?”
- sleep has become‘somewhat disturbed’ – ranging between some, to little, to nada
- everything is affected – it started out as a pocketable problem (albeit weighty and with a tendency to bounce around for attention) and has now eaten its way out and pee-marked it’s territory over all the other areas of your life / world / work / relationships…
- you’re bottling it up – telling no one, zip, nada – but are in danger of self-combustion (see no. 5)
- you’re a gremlin – you’ve become moody, distracted, defensive, emotional and majorly pre-occupied…in essence you’re a ‘delight’ to be around!
- advice junkie – you’re asking everyone, even blurting your problem to random strangers…hoping beyond hope for the magic click of an answer
- system OVERLOAD – you’re hearing popping sounds as synapses in your brain explode like an internal fireworks display
- signs – you’re looking everywhere – even the rubbish bin is telling you something profound
- you’ve gone mega mystic – your tarot deck is feeling overused and has kindly requested a tea break. No problemo you say…and promptly call a psychic.
Ok, let’s get down to it.
Tips on the way.
If you’re currently in a funk, then this little action will add more value for you. Grab a pen and complete this sentence:
“I don’t know what to do about. ……………………………………………………………………………….”
Then relate the below 9 tips to the dilemma you’ve noted down above.
Why bother writing it down first? It tends to help. You’re much more likely to a) remember and b) do something about it that way. I could go into this but I won’t bore you, so trust me or google it!
PS/ permission to bin. There’s no point adding debris to your life, so only add ithe tips that feel right to you
9 tips to get you back to
clarity & peaceful nights
1) I’ll start with my most important tip – you can’t force it, so quit trying
I’ll apologise right now – that’s blimmin annoying to hear – especially as it’s point no. 1 – feel free to think ‘oh f off and move to no. 2’.
However… It’s kind of true huh?
- Basically if you don’t know, then try saying ‘hey, ok, I don’t know right now’ (or in self help language – accept where you are)
- Not knowing is a part of the decision making process… other wise it wouldn’t be a process right?! Most of us just don’t feel that comfortable with this stage… but it’s really rather refreshing when you go with it. Try this:
“[insert your name], what are you doing about [insert your issue]?”,
“well [insert name of annoying person asking] I’m considering options as and when they occur to me…and getting on with the rest of my life in the meantime”
2) press the stop button
Why? Because right now trying to work things out is evidently not helping.
If you’ve been trying and trying and trying to figure an answer out – then to again use some self-help jargon… there’s been too much go and not enough letting go.
Whilst us humans are more complex than a computer (although this could be questioned)… how many times have you resulted to this emergency 101 when your laptop is sorely testing your patience? With all your technical whiz pop know how – you’ve errrrr – turned it off – gone to the loo (long overdue anyway) – had a coffee – turned it back on and voila! Back in action.
Thanks Liv – however as I’m NOT a laptop – how exactly do you suggest that I stop?
- Shout it internally – STTTTOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP! Yeh yeh a bit aggressive, but it works, esp if you’re beating up on yourself (kind of a meet and match type thing).
- give yourself permission to stop. So simple… so profound… you so don’t believe me ha ha!! Try it. I use this for all sorts of stuff e.g. “I Liv, give myself permission to eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerrys” works wonders for guilt reduction!”I [insert name] give myself permission to stop thinking about [insert issue] for at least 10 mins / 1 hour / 1 day… or until it really truly feels right to get back on it.”
When you step back – space is created – and often the answer becomes clear.
3) Ask yourself – really truly – how important is this decision?
Sometimes, we can errrr get caught up about something that is really not that important. Be honest here. If it’s not that important, then just move on.
I don’t know about you but at times I can get in such a tizz that I’m in the supermarket debating over 2 tins of similar tomato sauces… oh gosh, this one has garlic and peppers but that one has oregano too… which one will taste yummier? And oh that one has more additives… oh, maybe I should make it from scratch – much healthier. This has been known to go on for 15 minutes. I would count this as ‘un-important’. Yes, even if you are cooking for guests… it still isn’t that important!
Some questions to ask yourself to clarify importance:
- will solving this dilemma really have an impact on my life?
- is the stress of making this decision worth the result of making it?
- will I care about this in 1 week?
- will I care about this in 6 months….1 year?
if no…drop it…free yourself the headache!
3) fuel (that’s food and drink)
By which I mean nourishing and rehydrating!
- So by all means have booze and cake, just add enough water, veggies, meat and grains etc to let your brain actually function.
Don’t do that ‘that’s such a boring tip’ expression!! Yes it is – BUT IT BUGGERS UP YOUR THINKING when you’re brain is starved… look it up… it’s rather gross. Your brain starts to physically shrink (that’s the dehydration) and emergency measures kick in which redirect power from your thought processes to the basics e.g. organ function – not a great state to try and work your life out is it!
I am also saying this to myself… as I find it really hard to remember (ahem, to bother) to eat, especially when I’m engrossed or distracted… which let’s face it, is quite often
4) spring clean the zillion ideas cluttering your brain
Everyone’s heard the expression ‘step back, so you can see the woods for the trees’. Well this one is for that.
Again Liv, sounds great but I can’t get a hoover in my brain. So where are we going with this?
Visualizations… They are powerful little storm troopers. And funny you should mention a hoover…
I like to imagine my brain as a room with post it notes all over the walls. Let your imagination go wild and try these:
- turbo powered garden hose / leaf blower – stand inside your brain with a tool of your choice and blast all the ideas and thoughts and advice out your mind… I like to see them leaving through my ears
- whitewash – some people prefer a paintbrush or roller, I’m a fan of the paint sprayer… go over all the areas and walls of your mind and paint it until its sparkling white. A paint bomb is handy if short on time ha ha!!
It’s a great trick that can feel very refreshing… is quick to do… and a good one to repeat (often do this one when on my laptop / or in bed when thoughts are blocking my sleep).
5) Reboot your gut instinct and intuition
Basic principle is less mind, more body
There are many more intelligences than the mind, but the mind tends to take over which isn’t always helpful e.g. in this case.
To keep it simple anything that gets you back to your body / visceral matter / sensations will reduce brain overkill and allow your other intelligences to step in / increase.
- exercise (hard core or soft core – your choice – both work!): run, walk, yoga, boogie (stupidly), dance (properly), cycle…
- clean: ha ha!! Believe me, outer cleaning creates inner cleaning, it works. It’s a bit of feng shui for you. Plus your home looks better at the end of it 😉
- cook: can’t really personally comment (as I’m a houmous and pitta bread kind of cook – but I see it work WONDERS for those who enjoy it)
7) Have some FUN!
My goodness NO people often cry (including me) it seems SOOOO UNPRODUCTIVE!
Seriously come on! If you’ve stopped having fun then no wonder you can’t make a decision. Your brain is as bored as you are!
And inspiration does not come from beating your brain with a task stick. How many times have you been out having a laugh and all sorts of ideas and inspiring nuggets landed on your inner doorstep?
Need some fun suggestions? Really? Ok… we all need reminders of this one sometimes:
- go out with friends – highly recommend you HAND SELECT the FUN ones that make you FEEL GOOD, smile, giggle and let you let your hair down etc etc
- watch something frivolous or funny – my guilty pleasure was episodes of Home and Away (don’t judge) every lunch time for about 5 months (was dealing with a big breakup, career funk and other stuff) – I loved it. And I’ll have you know, they have some very moral dilemmas so it’s not just trash lol!
- read a book – for fun / genuine enjoyment – not for learning or work (put that manual away) – The Hunger Games trilogy was a god send for this kind of need.
8) but I don’t like that answer!!!!
My personal unfavourite favourite… because it’s actually really funny when you can stand back far enough to laugh at it (often another continent or 2-6 months time is required).
Goes like this.
You actually know what you need to do, you just don’t like the answer!!
e.g. I bored my flatmate and 3 friends for about 8 months over whether to break up with someone or not. Very nice guy. Just not right for me. I ended up not sleeping about it. In honesty I knew at the beginning of that 8 month whingeing diatribe what needed to happen…
- do it
- or don’t do it. And be ok with the fact that you’re not ready to do it yet! The time will come when you are (probably because you’ll be sick of the stress of not doing it)
9) make a change
See what happens
This one is especially useful if you feel like nothings moving… in a ‘I feel frozen’ type way…. (not to be confused with a ‘pregnant pause’ type feeling – as I’ve found this is part of the process and only requires you to witness it).
If you are frozen – then do something. Anything really… ideally something to change your routine (and not related to your ‘decision’)
- get creative: paint / photograph
- check out an exhibition
- sit in the park
- smile at strangers and shop keepers – sounds daft but watch the effects of this one 😉
- call / go out with friends
- gym / walk / dance / yoga / swim / cycle
The analogy being ice can’t move, but water can… And water intuitively knows where to go. So you want to start melting your unmoveable frozen ice self into water… and then let it do its natural thing…
Whatever the decision…remember this:
your life will go on regardless
if you don’t like the choice you made – it’s ok – you will still be ok
you’re bigger than this decision will ever be
– a wonderful and very wise friend of mine reminded me of this recently
“Liv [insert your name] you’ve been through enough in your life to know that whatever happens you can deal with it”
I hope some of these helped!
If you’d like some help to work through your ‘I don’t know what to do’ then get in touch.