Yulia Khadartseva, Doctor of Psychology at the international level PhD, told why it is sometimes difficult for us to make decisions, how to learn how to do it quickly and, most importantly, without hesitation.

How to make a decision: 10 ways to do it quickly and correctly

Why is it difficult to make a choice?

We often think about the choice. We doubt when choosing socks, we are also perplexed whether it is worth moving to a new apartment. Some of the actions are given to us a little easier, over others we can pore for weeks. But you still have to make a choice.

Climber Joe Simpson, who conquered the Peruvian Andes, in his book "Touching the Void" very accurately described the importance of such actions: “Decisions are important to make, even if they seem wrong to you, otherwise you are doomed.”

Why is it important? Because any decision is based on a strong association of "do it or lose it." This association is born in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This area is also responsible for goal-directed behavior.

When we cannot resolve the situation for a long time, we fall into great stress . Our brains are filled with anxiety, “Just a little more and it will be too late.” At the same time, several “players” enter the fight at once: our priorities, habits, fears and dreams. If they go against each other, then the speed of decision-making slows down.

We fixate on the problem and cannot take a step forward. From this, anxieties float to the surface, and from them we become even more indecisive. So you get into a vicious circle. And also, when we doubt for a long time between options and rush between them, our brain begins to degrade. And vice versa: when we make decisions faster, the brain functions faster, acts more resourcefully.

Why is it easier for us to make habitual choices and difficult to decide on experiments? Because our neurons make their own choices so as not to overload the brain unnecessarily. Because of this, it is easier for us to go the beaten path than to try new things. That is why it is easier to settle for little than to fight for more.

It is also important to understand that most of us are conformists: we care about what society thinks. We are guided by public opinion when making decisions so as not to be “expelled from the pack”. There is even a department in our brain that is responsible for adaptability to the situation. This is the lateral part of the hypothalamus, which is responsible for our experience. Thanks to her, we try to get around the rake that we stepped on in the past.

All this is a complex decision-making mechanism that regulates our choice.

How We Make Decisions

In the selection process, the human brain relentlessly analyzes the balance of benefits and losses. That is why people stand in a stupor before something serious. How to make an important decision - this question can torment them for days and even weeks. But the truth is that there is no Gordian knot that cannot be cut.

But we can be hindered in this by various details, of which there are too many. Behind the little things, we stop seeing the essence of the problem, and therefore we do not make a choice. We spend too much time on every little thing, but we need to act. If you discard all irrelevant details and start noticing clues for the brain , then the solution will come by itself.

What prevents us from acting here and now

Quite often, cognitive distortions are mixed into the question of choice. Because of this, we can make mistakes or slow down with the decision.

Extra detail effect

Often, due to the fear of doing something wrong, we collect too much unnecessary information and, as a result, we cannot decide anything at all.

Finding Supporting Claims

When we have already made a choice internally, we begin to look for all kinds of arguments in order to establish ourselves in it. At the same time, we refuse to analyze the situation rationally and therefore we can make mistakes.

Pollyanna Syndrome

These are situations when we rest on the positive. We deliberately ignore all the disadvantages of the current situation, just so as not to cause emotional damage to ourselves. The downside of this position is that we do not learn life lessons that could then be processed into experience.

Very often, Pollyanna's syndrome is triggered by advertisers. To do this, they, for example, flavor the retail space: the smell of freshly baked bread is just one of them. Marketing tricks "help" our brain to make the right choice and forget about possible shortcomings.

Acceptance effect

This phenomenon has much in common with the Pollyanna syndrome, only here we are talking about total acceptance. Whatever happens, the person agrees with it and does not try to change anything or extract important information.

All this can lead to errors in actions or to indecision. But there are several effective ways that will speed you up at the moment of choice.

How to make decisions quickly: 10 ways

1. Use your intuition

Often, when we are tormented by the question “how to make the right decision”, we completely surrender to logic. And rightly so: the emotions that overwhelm in critical moments only make things worse. It will be much more effective to take a sheet of paper and clearly describe the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.

Rational thinking has never failed anyone. But you should not forget about intuition, especially if the indicators are approximately equal. Intuition, in fact, is all our accumulated experience, which has been deposited on an unconscious level. Behind the voice of reason, we do not hear it, but intuition contains a grain of truth. So don't be afraid to trust your "sixth sense".

2. Analyze your goals

Assess how the decision will affect your goals and plans. Consider from all sides how it corresponds to your vector of development and whether it will throw you 10 steps back.

3. Refuse to choose, at least for a while

Sometimes, behind the categoricalness, we do not notice the third “not superfluous”. For example, instead of answering "Yes" or "No", you can tell yourself and the world, "I'll think about it tomorrow." Yes, imagine: a decision can generally not be made this very second. You can postpone it until tomorrow or forever.

It is important to always keep your finger on the pulse and ask yourself more often: do I really want this? Also, try to let your imagination run wild. Perhaps you will find a few more options that are not so categorical and more acceptable to you. Expand your perspective, but don't forget to set a clear time frame. Otherwise, the selection process will be delayed for a very long time. Ideally, this should not take you more than 72 hours.

4. Conduct an Opportunity and Threat Analysis

SWOT analysis - this type of research is often used in marketing to assess the market situation. First, you need to evaluate all the strengths of your solution. Secondly, do not dissemble yourself about its weaknesses, even if you really like it and seem to be the most suitable.

Thirdly, describe the possibilities that it opens up for you. Fourth, write down the risks: what happens if the decision is wrong. Weigh all indicators before acting.

5. Don't Forget Flexibility

You are not a tree, so as not to change your location. The solution is the same: be flexible. Adapt to a rapidly changing reality. Your flexibility will help mitigate risks and increase opportunities.

6. Allow yourself to be wrong

You are human and have the right to make mistakes. Turn off fatality and don't give up.

7. Stop criticizing yourself

If you were faced with the dilemma “How to make the right decision when in doubt”, and you made the wrong choice, you should not reproach yourself for it. On the contrary, first you need to praise yourself for the fact that you still did it. Even if the result is not quite what you expected, you are still a great fellow.

Do not self-flagellate and do not torture yourself with the thought of what would happen if you acted differently. Just accept what happened and start thinking about options for correcting the result. And even more so, what happened should not negatively affect your determination in the future.

Also, do not fall into the position of the victim and feel sorry for yourself. It is better to thank life for the experience, “shake off” the mind from  stereotypes and try to find a non-standard way out of this situation.

8. Be consistent

Horses, as they say, do not change at the crossing. It is the same with decisions: once you have taken a step, take the second one. Of course, the direction can be adjusted depending on the circumstances.

But this does not mean that you need to rush from one solution to another without even giving the first one a chance. Give yourself time to implement your plans and be sure to make efforts for this.

9. Cultivate Determination as a Good Habit

Make it a rule to make at least two or three easy choices every day. Let them be positive and help you move forward. Each time it will be easier for you to do this, and your determination will begin to grow many times over.

10. Be in touch with yourself

Learn to trust yourself. Do not question your decisions all the time, but believe that you did everything right. Everything goes according to plan and nothing else. Believe in yourself and your choice. Be sure to define the exact results you are aiming for.

Speak, or rather write down the criteria that will indicate the success of the solution. Then it will be easier for you to navigate the situation. Be sure to analyze the outcome of your decision. Your brain will take this information as a basis for future decisions.

It is also important to give yourself time before making a choice and not making emotional purchases. Give yourself six to 10 seconds to reflect and evaluate the situation. Then no tricks of advertisers will work.