Do you have trouble making decisions? Do you overanalyze your options for hours? Do you tend to second-guess the decisions you’ve made? These are some of the characteristics of indecisiveness.

Being indecisive means you struggle with making decisions and typically don’t have a lot of confidence in the decisions you’ve made.

However, it’s important to remember that being indecisive doesn’t have to define you as a person. Indecisiveness is fairly common and there are steps you can take to overcome it.

Here we can explore the characteristics of indecisiveness as well as its potential causes and drawbacks. We also share some strategies that can help you be more decisive.

Characteristics of Indecisive People

Decisive people

  • Have a clear vision of their goals
  • Trust their instincts and listen to their inner voice
  • Have confidence in their ability to make decisions
  • Make decisions in a timely manner
  • Take calculated risks
  • Take ownership of their choices

Indecisive people

  • Get caught up in the possibilities
  • Experience analysis paralysis
  • Seek external approval from others
  • Procrastinate during decision-making
  • Fear making mistakes
  • Second-guess their decisions

    Potential Causes of Being Indecisive

    These are some of the potential causes of indecisiveness, according to Francis:

    • Learned indecision: Indecision is not genetic, but it can be learned from parents, caregivers, or other influential figures in a child’s life.
    • Adverse experiences: Feeling empowered to make decisions is achieved through key developmental milestones. Adverse childhood experiences that impact the child’s developmental process may contribute to indecisiveness later in life.
    • Fear of making mistakes: Fear of making the wrong decision or the consequences of making a decision with a poor outcome may impede one’s ability to commit.
    • Mental health conditions: Indecision can be a symptom of mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, unresolved trauma, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

      Benefits of Being Less Indecisive

      These are some of the potential benefits of being less indecisive:

      • Better time management: Indecision can cause you to procrastinate, which can cost you a lot of time. Being less indecisive can help you spend less time on decision-making and more time on other tasks, such as following through on your decision.
      • Greater productivity: Making decisions promptly can save time and help you be more productive.
      • Increased self-confidence: Speaking up for yourself, stating your preferences, and making your own decisions can contribute to greater self-advocacy, which can be empowering and result in increased feelings of confidence and self-worth, according to Francis.
      • Improved problem-solving skills: Learning to make decisions and dealing with the consequences that follow can help improve your problem-solving skills.
      • Reduced anxiety: Overthinking or overanalyzing your decisions can lead to considerable anxiety. Being more decisive can help reduce your anxiety levels, says Francis.
      • Decreased feelings of depression: Self-advocacy can help you feel more empowered and in control, which can counter feelings of helplessness and lead to reduced feelings of depression.
      • Improved relationships: Indecisiveness can strain relationships, particularly if people are waiting on you for a decision or are affected by your lack of action. Being more decisive can help improve your relationships.

        7 Ways to Be Less Indecisive

        These are some strategies that can help you be less indecisive.

        Understand Your Goals and Values

        Having a clear idea of what’s important to you and what you want to achieve can help you make decisions accordingly. Decision-making is easier when you have a clear vision of your goals.

        Spending some time in self-reflection or writing your thoughts in a journal can help you identify your goals and values.

        Develop a Decision-Making Process

        I recommend developing a decision-making process, such as writing out a list of pros and cons. If you like, you can give each factor on the list a score, depending on how important it is to you. At the end, you can tally up the scores for each option and see which one comes out ahead.

        This process can help you evaluate your options, gather any further information you need, and prioritize the factors that are most important to you. If any particular factor is a deal-breaker, you can eliminate that option immediately.

        Practice Making Smaller Decisions

        If bigger decisions feel overwhelming, you can practice by making smaller decisions and work your way up to the bigger ones. Making smaller decisions with relatively low stakes can help you build the confidence you need to make more important decisions. This process can also teach you how to trust your instincts and listen to your inner voice.

        Set Time Limits

        Indecision can sometimes cause you to experience analysis paralysis, which can make it hard for you to make timely decisions. Francis recommends assigning a deadline to each decision so that you don’t ruminate over your choices indefinitely. By giving yourself a deadline, you can mentally gear yourself toward making a decision in time.

        Seek Advice Selectively

        While seeking advice can be helpful, limit the number of people you consult. Choose only a few trusted friends, family members, colleagues, or mentors whose opinions you value. Too many conflicting opinions can contribute to indecision.

        Commit to Your Decisions

        An important part of the decision-making process is following through on your decisions. Commit to your decisions and tell others to support you in accountability.

        It can help to develop a plan for how you will execute your decision, set a timeline for each task, and loop in other stakeholders so that everyone is on the same page. It may also help to find an accountability partner who is working toward similar goals, so you can share progress updates, motivate each other, and stay on track toward your goals.

        Reflect on Your Decisions

        It can be helpful to periodically reflect upon your decisions and their outcomes.

        You can choose to do this in many ways. It can simply be a mental exercise where you spend a little time thinking about what you decided, how you arrived at your decision, and how it turned out. Or, you can write down your thoughts in a journal, if you prefer. On the other hand, if your decision was a work-related one, there may even be ways to quantify the results.

        Reflecting upon your decisions can help you improve your decision-making process, sharpen your instincts, and make better decisions in future.