How to Become More Outgoing: 3 Mindsets for Making Friends Anywhere

Summary:

If you want to become more outgoing and make friends anywhere, there are three mindsets you should:

  1. Focus on creating a friendly environment for everyone around you
  2. Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to initiate or break the ice.
  3. Practice being curious about others and asking questions.

Watch the full video for more details!

Full Transcript:

Do you ever look at someone who naturally makes friends everywhere they go and wonder what it is that makes them so outgoing? Whether it’s at work, school, or in social events, there always seems to be that one person who knows everyone. Even in scenarios where they don’t know anyone, they naturally make connections and turn strangers into friends.

If this is a skill you want to develop, stick around – In this video we’re going to be covering how to become more outgoing. We’ll go over the three mindsets that help you strike up a conversation and make friends anywhere, and what they look like in practice.

Mindset #1: Focus on creating a friendly environment for everyone around you.

You might be thinking that in order to become more outgoing, you need to become the most interesting or entertaining person in the room. That’s actually not necessarily the case.

You don’t have to be a social butterfly or the center of attention to make friends. In fact, the people I’ve seen who are most naturally outgoing, tend to bring other people out of their shell. They make friends everywhere they go not because they hog the spotlight and wow people with stories, but because they encourage others to share. They’re not the most boisterous people in the room – they’re the ones who are encouraging conversations and making sure others have a chance to express themselves.

Naturally outgoing people worry less about impressing people and more about making others feel engaged. Sure, they don’t want to make a fool of themselves, but they’re more concerned with making sure everyone feels welcome and included. If you want to break out of your shell and be that person who others gravitate towards, shift your focus from just your own personal experience, to creating a friendly environment for everyone else.

When you shift your goal to something external, or a purpose that’s bigger than you, like making sure others feel included, it’s easier to get out of your own head and overcome that fear of feeling awkward. Plus, when you focus on making others feel included and appreciated, it makes you more approachable than if you’re just concerned with your own appearance. People naturally gravitate towards people who make them feel included.

Think about it right now, who in your life is really good at engaging everyone around them? I know for me, it’s a coworker I had, and I often think of her when I’m in a group full of strangers at work. Let me know in the comments who your person is, and keep them in mind as we go through the rest of these points.

Mindset #2: Be proactive. Don’t be afraid to initiate or break the ice.

If you’re worried about being awkward, here’s something to help get you out of your head: Most people are just as worried about looking stupid or feeling awkward as you. So they’re relieved when someone includes them in a conversation, or breaks the awkward silence.

Think about it – have you ever been at an event where you knew nobody, and someone struck up a conversation with you? Didn’t you feel better that you weren’t alone any more, that you had a friendly face to talk with? I don’t know about you, but I’m always grateful for the person who breaks the ice first.

Be that person for others. Make the first move. Get out of your comfort zone. Yes, it’ll feel a little awkward at first, but I promise once you’ve practiced it, you’ll get more comfortable at it… AND you’ll help everyone else feel more comfortable. Most of the time when you break the ice, you’re doing everyone else a favor, too.

My go-to ways of breaking the ice are embarrassingly simple. 99% of the time, I either start with a genuine compliment, or an observation about my surroundings. And I try to always follow up with a question.

Give a genuine compliment. At the gym this might be “Hey nice shoes, I’ve been meaning to try that brand for a while. Do you like them so far?” In class this could be “that’s a cool planner, where did you get it?” Maybe someone is wearing a shirt from a band you like, “Hey that’s a cool shirt, did you see that band when they were in town?”

People often express themselves through what they wear, so a really easy way to break the ice is to compliment someone on a piece of clothing and ask where they got it. 

One of my favorite coworkers from my old job would always point out when someone had a fun or interesting profile picture on our project calls. “Hey, that’s a pretty background in your profile photo, where did you take that?” Just make sure you’re being genuine.

When a compliment doesn’t feel natural, go with an observation about your surroundings. This doesn’t have to be fancy. I’ll be honest, most of my conversation starters aren’t even really conversation starters, they’re just me verbalizing my inner dialogue. In this case, I’ll normally ask a followup question after the person responds.

“Man, that workout was hard, I can’t believe they made us do so many burpees!” “Looks like we have some nice weather this weekend, do you have any fun plans?” “The host of this party always does a great job with the food… how do you know Lisa?” You can even share a bit of recent news… “Apparently Elon Musk just bought Twitter, can you believe it?” 

Everyone always pokes fun of how adults talk about the weather for small talk but you know what, you don’t have to be super fancy about how you get your foot in the door. Give a genuine compliment, make a somewhat relevant observation, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, follow it up with a question. Help the other person by giving them an easy lead they can follow. Most people are just flattered to be included in the conversation, so it usually doesn’t take much for someone to latch on and continue engaging.

Whatever path you go with, make sure to take a moment before you approach someone to take a deep breath and smile. It’s simple but it goes a long way in conveying warmth and friendliness.

Mindset #3: Practice being curious about others.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone where you realized you were doing most of the talking because you were worried about awkward silences? Maybe you’re someone who worries about starting up a conversation because you don’t want to be in the spotlight. The best way to combat this is to develop a genuine curiosity about other people. Practice being curious about others’ lives and experiences.

Think about it this way. No matter how smart you are, you have no way of knowing everything. Every single person you come across, no matter their age, job, or whatever demographic, they know something that you don’t, whether it’s a perspective, an experience, or knowledge. Make it your mission to figure out what that is, to learn about other people.

Why should you want to learn about other people? Because it’s fun! It’s literally, psychologically fun. We as humans love learning – I’m not talking about formal education, I’m talking about the novelty of learning about new ideas or things we didn’t know about before. Our brains love that shit. We get hits of dopamine any time we get information that’s novel, it’s literally exciting. And just think – every person you meet has something you can learn from.

Practice getting out of your own head and stepping into someone else’s world for a minute. Next time you’re at your workout class, get curious about the person next to you. “I wonder how long they’ve been going to this class. I wonder if they’ve tried any other classes or styles of exercise. I wonder how they learned about this gym. I wonder if they have a favorite coach or a time they like to come during.”

Then, when there’s a good moment, take initiate, give a compliment or observation, and follow it up with a question. Once the conversation gets going, see what you can learn about the other person. “How long have you been coming here?” “Are you from the area?” “How did you get into crossfit?” Remember, your questions don’t have to make you look super smart or put together. They’re just opportunities you’re giving for the other person to share their own experiences and ideas.

Once you’ve chatted a little bit, if the conversation is going well, ask them their name. My go-to is “I’m Tali, by the way. What’s your name?”

Woohoo, nice job! You’ve met a new person. If you guys have a lot in common and really click, you can always ask if they’d want to grab coffee or workout together or whatever and exchange contact info. Even if you don’t become super close – which is what happens most of the time anyway – that’s one more friendly face that you know, which always makes life a little easier.

And, you’ll feel a little more confident knowing that you made the space a little friendlier for everyone around you.

Remember, when it comes to being outgoing and making friends, your mindset matters more than anything in particular you say.

  • Focus on creating a friendly environment for everyone in the room
  • Be proactive (don’t be afraid to initiate).
  • Practice being curious about others and asking questions.

You’ve got this.

How to overcome perfectionism (4 strategies)

Self-sabotage. Procrastination. All-or-nothing thinking.

If you’re someone who has struggled with perfectionism, you’re probably very familiar with the nasty ways it shows up in your life.

While it’s good to have high standards, perfectionism is holding yourself to standards that are unrealistically high, to the point of being unattainable. Instead of being a positive source or motivation, perfectionism often leads to anxiety, shame, hopelessness, and burnout.

If you want to overcome perfectionism, you have to first understand that it’s your mind’s way of protecting you from your deeper fears. You have the address its root cause, not just the symptom itself.

If you’ve ever struggled with perfectionism, watch this video for 4 strategies on how to overcome. These are strategies I’ve used to stop being a perfectionist myself and get on with my life.

Summary

  • If you want to overcome perfectionism, remember you’re inherently worthy, it’s not something that you have to earn.
  • Focus on the present action rather than on the final result.
  • Change the way that you measure success.
  • And remember that mistakes and failure are just part of the larger process.

Full Transcript:

Where does perfectionism come from?

Now, in order to overcome perfectionism, we have to first understand where it comes from. So let’s just take a minute to do that before we dive in.

Perfectionists have expectations for themselves that are unrealistically high. They don’t just strive for great. They demand perfect. And they often end up disappointed because that’s a standard that’s just impossible. It’s unachievable. Perfectionism often shows up in forms of procrastination, self-sabotage, all or nothing thinking, and a lot of self criticism. Rather than providing healthy motivation, it often leads to anxiety, shame, hopelessness, and ultimately burnout.

Now, before we go bashing ourselves for these behaviors, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that this is the way that our mind is protecting us from things that we’re more afraid of on a deeper level. It’s protecting us from things like fear of failure, fear of being judged, fear of disappointment, of not being good enough, of not living up to expectations, or fear of having to struggle.

Our mind perceives these things as legitimate threats. So perfectionism is our psychological defense mechanism to protect us against those things. It’s actually a symptom of the deeper problem of beliefs and fears that we have within. It’s not the issue itself.

So if we want to overcome perfectionism, we have to challenge those beliefs and fears that are actually driving us to behave in these ways. I’m going to be covering some strategies that have helped me as someone who has also struggled with perfectionism.

1. Remember that you are inherently worthy.

We get caught up in perfectionism when we believe that we have to earn our self-worth, we have something to prove, or that we’re only worthy because of our accomplishments. So making a mistake or failing becomes that much scarier because our self-worth is tied to it. So of course you’re going to procrastinate on starting a big project if you think that if it doesn’t work out, you’re a failure as a person.

But self-worth, happiness… those are not things that you should have to earn. In order to overcome perfectionism, you have to challenge that belief and realize that you’re inherently worthy. You’re worthy of happiness, you’re worthy of love, you’re worthy of kindness and of being alive and of all these wonderful things that life brings us… Not because of your accomplishments, but just by virtue of being alive. It’s not something you have to earn or work for or prove.

Think of a dog or a cat. You don’t love your dog or cat because they’re always perfect or because they have a 4.0 GPA, right? You love them just because. That’s just unconditional love that you have for your pet. Even if they make a mistake, even if they have an accident or if they don’t catch a ball a few times in a row, you still love them, right?

Extend that compassion, that kindness to yourself. Remember, you’re inherently worthy. It’s not something you have to earn through the things that you do.

2. Focus on the current action, not on the final result.

When there’s a big, daunting project ahead of you or a skill that you want to develop, don’t fixate on the final outcome, on the final result. That often feels really intimidating. And you end up procrastinating or being overly self-critical while you’re working on this thing because you assign so much meaning to the final outcome being perfect. It ends up being really hard to start.

Instead, break it up into more manageable pieces, and then take it one step at a time. Focus on that action in front of you instead of on the bigger picture.

Let me share an example from my own life. I’ve been learning to play golf this year. Now, I didn’t want to look like a beginner. I don’t like being bad at things. So before I ever stepped foot on a golf course, I took a few lessons and spent months going to the local driving range and practicing my swing.

Finally, it came time to actually play my first game. It was a Halloween scrimmage that I had with my friends. So imagine a bunch of pirates and bears running around a rainy golf course. That was my first game of golf, and I had a terrible time. I was so preoccupied with what my final score was going to be, and how bad it was going to be, and how embarrassed I was going to be in front of my other friends who were good at golf that the entire 18 holes, I was crabby and moody and I just could not have a good time.

But for whatever reason, I don’t I don’t know why, but I didn’t give up on golf after that day. I guess I was just so frustrated, so embarrassed by my own behavior that I wanted just to prove to myself that, “hey, you know what? I am capable of playing a round of golf without having a temper tantrum.”

So I kept practicing and I got a couple more games under my belt. But I still wasn’t having a great time when I would play because I was so focused on the final score.

Anyway, six months later, we’re at another golf course. It’s Easter Sunday this time, so fewer pirates and bears. And maybe it was a gorgeous weather, or the lack of pirates, but something just clicked in my mind.

Instead of focusing on my overall score, I started focusing on every single shot on its own. I had a checklist in my mind of three things I needed to do before I hit a ball every single time. And every single time I would go up to that ball, I would execute that checklist. All I would focus on was this particular shot. Not the shot before, not the shot after, not the next hole, not how many times I’ve been hitting this ball in this particular hole. I would focus on just this particular swing. I would go through my checklist: “Did I do a practice swing? Did I align my feet? Am I keeping my eye on the ball instead of looking up?”

I would go through this checklist every single time, and I wouldn’t let myself think about the rest of the hole or what my score is or anything like that. I would just go through my checklist. The only thing I would focus on was this particular swing, not what it meant or not what my score was going to be.

And let me tell you, that game that we played over Easter was so much less stressful than that Halloween one. I had a better time, I hit the ball more consistently, and I felt more confident. Why? Because going through that checklist, honing in on that specific action forced me to get present and not stress out about the overall game and get overwhelmed by the final result.

3. Change the way you measure success.

When you engage an all or nothing thinking, you’re basically telling yourself that if you don’t do something perfectly all the way the first time, then it’s not worth doing at all.

Let’s say you want to lose some weight or be more healthy. So you put yourself on this super restrictive diet, and the way you measure success is either you ate clean that day or you didn’t.

So what happens when you slip up one day and eat a cupcake? Well, by the definition of success that we just established, you have failed. So of course you’re going to get discouraged and disappointed in yourself. And since you have this all or nothing thinking and you’ve already failed for today, why not eat the entire box of cupcakes? Why not eat an entire pizza and stuff yourself full of junk food? Cue shame spiral.

If you believe success means doing everything all at once, right away, perfectly, you’re never gonna start. Instead of having such rigid, all or nothing definitions of success, which, by the way, only set you up for failure, give yourself smaller, more attainable goals. Doing something, even if it’s really, really small step and it doesn’t feel like a lot, is better than trying to do everything all at once, and then getting so overwhelmed that you end up doing nothing at all.

If you’re trying to eat more healthy, don’t just dive into the deep end and expect yourself to be perfect all the time. Don’t just demand that every meal has to be clean or whole or healthy, or however you want to call it. Instead, focus on the first few weeks, just making sure that every day you have one fruit. Once that feels normal and natural, take it another step further. Make sure that every day, in addition to that one fruit, you have one serving of vegetables. And once that becomes a habit, you can bump it up to two servings of vegetables a day, etc., etc…

Focus on small attainable goals rather than trying to bite off more than you can chew right away.

4. Accept that mistakes and failure are part of the larger process

A lot of us are terrified of mistakes or of failing, but failure is actually the best way to learn. We, as human beings learn so much more from our failures are our mistakes than we ever do from our successes.

When we make mistakes, we learn about ourselves. We actually are gaining knowledge about how we operate, what our preferences are, what our blind spots are, what works and what doesn’t work for us. When we apply that knowledge, next time we get a little better and we get a little better and we end up becoming more resilient.

So don’t get discouraged by mistakes or failures.

You’re not going to create your next masterpiece without first making a few duds. You improve your work through trial and error. You learn best by making your own mistakes. And you develop your style by trying things and going “nope, that definitely did not work.”

Mistakes and failure aren’t these scary end points that you should be so afraid of that you’re avoiding at all cost. They’re part of the larger process, especially when we’re doing something creative or learning a new skill.

So teach yourself to embrace trial and error, and embrace mistakes.

I’d love to hear from you. Let me know in the comments which of these methods were your favorites. Which resonated with you the most?

Now go put these strategies into practice. Go live your life. Remember, it’s not going to be perfect. You got this.

How to be More Decisive – 5 Ways to Prevent Analysis Paralysis

Have you ever found yourself putting too much time or energy into a decision?

If you struggle with being decisive, you’ve likely experienced how crippling analysis paralysis can be. You might’ve looked at others and wondered why it’s so easy for them to make decisions while you seem to get stuck on each one.

Our lives are filled with countless decisions. People have more choice than ever before on how to make a living, who to marry, and how to spend their time. The internet gives us access to every product and service we could ever imagine. We should be grateful for this abundance of choice, but more often than not, it leaves us paralyzed. We get overwhelmed by all the possible options out there, spend too much time making decisions, and constantly second-guess ourselves.

If you’re like me, you’ve spent too much time stuck in analysis paralysis and want to be more decisive. In this article, we’ll cover why you often struggle with decisions and five ways you can start being more decisive in life today.

Decisiveness was something I’ve struggled with in the past. Every choice would be such an ordeal, and always leave me exhausted. I decided to tackle this area of my life because I wanted decision-making to to take up less of my time and energy. Along the way, I picked up a few mindset shifts that helped me make decisions faster, more confidently, and with a lot less stress. 

What I learned in the process is that being more decisive isn’t about making better decisions. Being decisive is about figuring out what’s actually important, letting go of perfectionism, and choosing not to get consumed by possibilities. It’s about limiting the time and energy we give to making decisions, and not giving them the power to dictate our happiness.

Ready to nip indecisiveness in the bud? Let’s get after it.


Why you feel so indecisive

Perfectionism

The reason you find yourself overthinking decisions is that you believe on some level that there’s a perfect choice to be made.

Let’s say you’re looking to buy a pair of hiking boots. Before the internet, you were stuck with whatever options were available at your local store. You could spend the afternoon trying on every single pair of shoes in your sporting goods store, but eventually you’d run out of shoes to try on. At that point, you’d be forced to make a choice.

But now, there’s an entire world of possibilities online. Sure, you could just buy the first pair you try on at REI that feels comfortable, but you don’t want to settle without exploring all your options because you need to know you’ve picked the perfect shoe. Because so many possible options exist, we think one of them must be the best. We won’t rest until we’ve compared every option and assured ourselves that we’re not missing out on an even better one.

In The Padradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz argues that the modern world’s abundance of options actually has a negative psychological impact on people. He summarizes the trap of perfectionism well: “Perfection is the only weapon against regret… and endless, exhaustive, paralyzing consideration of the alternatives is the only way to achieve perfection.”

The amount of options available to us in the modern world is astounding. But for many of us, the cost of all these options is an endless, misguided pursuit of the perfect one.

Believing all decisions matter equally

Throughout most of human existence, we’ve only had to make so many decisions in our lifetime, let alone every day. We now have significantly more freedom to decide how to live our lives, but we also have exponentially more decisions to make – frankly, more than our human brains can keep up with.

With so many decisions constantly thrown at us, we lose the ability to distinguish between those that are truly important and those that aren’t. We become overwhelmed when we start to believe all of the choices we make matter equally. We end up giving too many decisions the power to affect our happiness and sense of satisfaction.

When we can’t differentiate between the choices that matter to us a little and those that matter a lot, we end up giving a lot of decisions more time and attention than they warrant.

Maximizers vs. Satisficers

In his book, Schwartz identifies two different types of decision makers: maximizers and satisficers.

Maximizers are out to get the absolute best of anything, be it an electric toothbrush, a job, or a partner. They search and compare until they’ve exhausted all possibilities. They won’t settle for something that’s “good enough” if they know there are potentially even better options out there. They have a harder time choosing, spend more time and energy on decisions, but are also more likely to regret their decisions… Sound familiar?

On the other hand, satisficers are out to find something that is good enough. Once they find an option that’s good enough, they select it, and then move on without worrying that there may be an even better option out there. They’re clearer about the criteria that are important to them, as opposed to maximizers, who seek to maximize on all the criteria. Satisficers realize they don’t need to evaluate every possible option to be happy with their choice. They find something that checks their boxes, select it, and then move the fuck on.

Indecisiveness often comes from trying to find the absolute best possible option in every scenario. It stems from the belief that we’ll only be happy if we make the perfect choice. Our happiness becomes dependent on our choices.

With that much pressure on our decisions, of course we’re going to feel paralyzed. So how do we take back control and overcome indecisiveness? Read on, my friend.


How to be more decisive: 5 strategies

1. Figure out what’s important to you

in If you’re going to become more decisive, you need to figure out what’s actually important to you. This applies to both to your overall values and in specific decisions.

Figure out what types of decisions you value

What do you value? What do you enjoy spending your time on? What decisions are energizing or exciting to you?

Conversely, what areas of your life are you spending too much time and energy on? What kinds of decisions leave you feeling exhausted? Identify the areas in your life that aren’t as important to you. Reduce the amount of time you spend making decisions in those areas.

When I set out to become more decisive, I realized that decisions around food zap my energy and leave me frustrated. I’ve always struggled with picking a place to eat. I wouldn’t call myself a foodie, but I start acting like one every time I have to choose a restaurant to go to. I exhaust myself comparing restaurants, scouring the internet for photos, menus, and reviews. Suddenly, finding a place to eat becomes vital to my ability to enjoy the evening.

Unlike a foodie, I don’t enjoy studying up on every dining establishment in the area. It’s exhausting to me, and doesn’t actually contribute to my dining experience. Sure, I want to eat good food in a nice atmosphere, but the world isn’t going to end if there’s a restaurant down the street with slightly better food or a slightly cooler atmosphere.

There’s no reason this should be such a stressful, time-consuming decision for me because dining out is not that high on my list of values. Knowing this, I need to limit the amount of time and energy I invest in food-related decisions, especially compared to my foodie friends.

If you’re a foodie, then exploring new cuisines is something you value. You probably truly enjoy researching different restaurants and foods because they pique your curiosity. Decisions about where and what to eat are exciting and full of opportunity.

If you’re not a foodie, then those same decisions will be much more tiring for you. It’s not that you’re boring or have bad taste in food, you simply don’t value cuisine enough to be excited by all the available options. If that’s the case, you need to be conscious of how much time and energy you spend on decisions around food because those decisions aren’t something that bring you great value.

Figure out what types of decisions are exciting to you, and which ones are draining. Limit your time on the latter (more on this later).

Figure out the criteria you value most for specific decisions

With so many different options out there, it’s tempting to want a little bit of everything. But when we entertain all our options with no filter of what’s actually important to us, it becomes difficult to stick with one choice because everything else is equally enticing.

Next time you feel overwhelmed by a decision, take a step back. Ask yourself what the three most important criteria are for you, and what’s “nice to have but not essential.”

First, narrow down your options to those that fit all three of your top requirements. Once you have a list of choices that fit your top criteria, then you can consider other nice-to-have elements. Just don’t spend too much time nitpicking at nonessential features once you find something that’s “good enough” (i.e. satisfies the most important criteria). 

For example, if you’re trying to pick a college, your top three requirements might be an excellent business program, affordability, and a large student population. Your longer list of nice-to-have’s might include good weather and an intramural ultimate frisbee team.

If one of your schools covers all three of your requirements AND has a few of your “nice to haves,” great! Add it to your short list. But don’t consider a school just because it’s on the beach (nice to have) if it doesn’t have a large student population (requirement).   

“And if everyone is super, no one is.” This line from The Incredibles blew my thirteen-year-old mind. Figure out what actually matters to you.

2. Learn to trust your gut

Start listening more to your intuition.

If you keep gravitating towards one option but worry about missing out on the others, go with the first one. Doing more analysis and comparison might might convince your brain to make a different choice, but you won’t be able to convince your gut through logic.

The thing is, you’re going to miss out on some options no matter what decision you make. So you might as well go with the one that’s calling to you.

If you’re really having a hard time, flip a coin. Whatever emotion you’re feeling after the coin is flipped will give you insight as to what you prefer more.

Heads, you order the crab cakes. Tails, you order the burger.

  • If it’s heads and you feel relief, there’s your answer! Order those crab cakes.
  • If it’s tails and your heart sinks a little, you were probably wanting those crab cakes more than the burger.
  • If you feel indifferent either way it flips, you probably have no preference between the two, so just pick whatever the coin flipped. No point in splitting hairs.
Don’t flip coin isn’t to relinquish all your decision-making responsibilities (cough HARVEY), but to uncover your preferences.

3. Time-box your decisions

There comes a point in the decision-making process at which any extra research, comparison, or deliberation has diminishing returns. That’s when problem solving slips into ruminating.

There’s a project management concept called Parkinson’s Law that states that “work expands to fill the time allotted.” If you give someone one day to complete a task, they will complete the task in one day. If you give that same person three days, they will take all three days to complete the task, even though we just saw that they could’ve completed the task on the first day and taken a long two-day nap for the remaining time.

Why? The amount of time it takes to complete the bulk of the work stays the same. But the more extra time you give someone to complete a task, the more they are likely to waste time either procrastinating or perfecting the already completed task.

Think about the last time you got stuck overthinking. Did you have a deadline to make the decision? Did you have a time-cap on how long you can consider your options before having to make a final choice?

Without a time constraint, a maximizer or perfectionist continues the decision-making process until they burn themselves out. This not only sucks up all your time and energy (which you could’ve been using on something you value more), but it actually makes you less satisfied with the choice you make in the end. Because you’ve invested so much extra effort into making the choice, you’re going to be hyper-sensitive to any potential downfalls of it in the future. After all that time overthinking, you end up second-guessing yourself anyway because you’re too emotionally invested in the outcome. That’s a poor use of time, if you ask me.

Don’t waste your time and energy ruminating. Time-box your decisions. Give yourself a deadline or an allotted amount of time. You have more important things to do with your time than overthink.

Let’s say it’s date night, and you want to find a new spot to eat. Instead of stressing yourself out by spending the afternoon comparing a million different restaurants, give yourself 30 minutes to browse. Set a timer. When that timer goes off, pick up the phone and call the restaurant that piqued your interest the most. Go with your gut! Flip that coin! It doesn’t matter what you pick! Take action before you have a chance to start overthinking.

Give yourself an allotted amount of time to research. When the time’s up, make your choice.

4. Realize your choices won’t bring you happiness

Look, you can go wasting all of your time trying to make the most perfect decisions in the world. But that’s not going to bring you happiness.

You don’t find happiness or inner peace because you’ve made the perfect decision about what phone to buy, or what college to go to, or what bolognese recipe to try. You don’t suddenly start feeling successful just because you think you’ve chosen the perfect partner, the perfect career, or the perfect investment strategy. No matter how excited we are initially about a choice we make, we eventually get used to it and learn that it too comes with its own downsides.

If every choice you make comes with the pressure of having to be better than all the possible alternatives out there, you’re going to spend your life looking over your shoulder to see if anyone’s made a better choice than you. That’s no way to live.

Satisfaction comes not from knowing we have the absolute best of something – that’s a recipe for always chasing the next best thing – but from committing to the decisions we make and choosing to make the most of them for the sake of our own sanity. 

The truth is, no single decision will make or break your happiness. Sure, some decisions have a bigger impact on your life than others (deciding what career to pursue has more significant consequences than deciding what ski goggles to buy). But ultimately, you cannot depend on external factors alone to bring you peace.

5. Don’t second-guess yourself

Being decisive isn’t just about making decisions, it’s also about owning them.

If you constantly second-guess the choices you’ve made, you put too much pressure on your future decision-making. Every time you think about “what ifs” or compare your decisions to someone else’s, you’re reaffirming that a less-than-perfect decision causes regret and dissatisfaction. This in turn raises the stakes of decisions you have to make in the future. It becomes a vicious cycle.

Your attitude after making a decision is just as important as your attitude leading up to it. If you want to be more decisive, you have to teach yourself to be okay no matter what choice you make.

Stop the cycle by sticking to your guns. Once you’ve made a choice, don’t second-guess yourself. Don’t compare your choice to someone else’s. If you catch yourself getting caught up in “what ifs,” remember that your choices don’t make you happy – it’s your choice to feel satisfied with your life as it is and not worry about all the other possibilities that truly brings you peace.


Make a choice to take back control

We live in a time where there are more choices than we could ever imagine. This should be a liberating idea, but the truth is, sometimes all the possibilities paralyze, rather than free us. We spend more time ruminating and overthinking. The pressure we often put on ourselves when it comes to decision-making leads to overwhelm, anxiety, and depression.

If there’s one thing I want you to walk away with from this article, it’s this: take some weight off yourself. Being decisive isn’t about making perfect choices. It’s about freeing yourself from the burden of endless decision-making so you can spend more time on what matters to you.

You can’t control how many options and decision are thrown at you in life, unless you go join an Amish community. But you can control how much attention you give to them.

Now I want to hear from you, what resonated with you the most in this article? Which of these strategies can you start doing today to become more decisive?

Let me know in the comments below.