Indecision propels some of us to whimsically change our minds all the time. Whether done pointlessly or impetuously, continuous change in what we do or what we plan to do has great potential to exasperate others. Even more, the wastefulness that results from shifting plans and decisions so impulsively can turn reckless and risky; and our own irresolution can self-inflict a myriad of negative outcomes in our personal lives.

The British expression “chop and change” may be an unfamiliar one, but its meaning is clear: to change and change again. An unvarnished definition for this idiom is found in the Cambridge dictionary: to keep changing your ideas, opinions, activities or job.

For those of us who are guilty of “chopping and changing,” the root of such wavering is typically uncertainty and fear. There is no harm in being cautious; however people who suffer from indecisiveness typically lack the self-confidence to firmly commit to a decision.

Equally perilous, our nervousness or ambivalence can paralyze us into a state of idleness. We all know the saying: not making a decision is a decision in itself. The British Prime Minister, George Canning, wisely warned, “Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.”

So although we shouldn’t altogether disregard our astute perceptions which may lead to a momentary pause when making considerate choices, we must resolve to give ourselves permission to take action.

“We know what happens to people who stay in the middle of the road. They get run over.” – Aneurin Bevan

If you struggle to make a solid decision, and stick to it, you may need to practice strategies in decision making. Consider the following suggestions:

Start by looking at the facts, and consider bigger picture in a purely objective light. Analyze, research and gather the information you need to make an informed decision. What are the facts? How is your decision likely to affect you or others? Will the short-term result be favorable, as well as the foreseeable long-term outcome? Know the expected pros and cons and weight them over.

Next, seek the advice of a few other people for their balanced opinions. This may mean asking a trusted friend for advice over coffee, or making an appointment to inquire of a professional. Include yourself in this intentional subjective journey and do not dismiss your own gut feelings. What does your intuition tell you? You may want to meditate on the decision at hand, relative to your own values, or pray for spiritual guidance.

Be honest with yourself. Are you unnecessarily changing something that already works, or perhaps cowering from taking the necessary risks to get to where you want to be?

Make a decision, and commit to it. Set a tangible goal and formulate a plan of action based on what you have gathered, learned and determined. Whether the goal requires one step or a hundred steps, establish how you are going to achieve it.

Launch out and don’t look back! Although it is good practice to evaluate our decisions at a later time, and recognize any unanticipated consequences, the focus of doing so should be purely for the sake of personal growth. There is a big difference between constructive self-evaluation, versus second guessing yourself along the way.

The direction you’ve chosen might not be the right decision, but we must choose what we know and believe to be best at the time; and then live it out with assertion and dedication! No more dithering darlings. Decide and conquer.


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