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Making Decisions Gets Easier With Practice

Young woman making decisionsI don’t like making decisions, especially about stuff I don’t have strong feelings about.

I find it easier to defer to others when I’m not sure what to do. Because guess what: It IS easier to leave decisions to other people. It’s like letting someone else clean your kitchen. How easy is that?

Making decisions all the time is a chore and a  half … but it’s one that pays off in the long run.

Think of it like exercising your muscles. Sure, it’s easier to let someone else do everything for you so you never break a sweat. Or even get out of your chair.

But over time, your muscles atrophy and you’re no longer fit enough to do anything.

If you suddenly decide you want to do something for yourself one day, you may find you CAN’T get out of the chair. You can’t do it because lack of exercise destroyed your fitness.

I recently wrote a post about why it’s important to make small, inconsequential decisions every day, and included some thoughts on how to do that if it’s hard for you.

As always, please let me know what you think.

Here’s the post: Difficulty Making Decisions? | Psychology Today

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting, and ReconnectionClub.com, an online support and information hub for parents. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."

4 Responses to "Making Decisions Gets Easier With Practice"

  • Mel
    July 16, 2016 - 3:17 pm Reply

    I found this article profoundly enlightening…being an “unnecessary caretaker,” decisions like whether to go out to eat and where have been tortuous for me–I try to shuffle it off to others whenever possible cuz I’m so concerned about their happiness, much more than my own..unfortunately it is indeed true that these deferrals generally make me more uncomfirtable than if I just took a stand..it is a powerful habit to break but I’m making headway–last evening my partner asked if I wanted to go out to dinner and where…I said “nowhere, I just wanna stay home and order a pizza!”????

    • Tina Gilbertson
      July 16, 2016 - 3:42 pm Reply

      Congratulations, Mel! It’s harder than people might think, to basically negate the other person’s wishes and say, “Nope. I don’t want to go out. I want to stay in.” I hope your partner was pleased with your decisiveness. But that kind of response is not always forthcoming.

      Thanks for weighing in, and good luck on your project of breaking the habit. Now, if I could just decide whether to join you…

  • Snowburst
    July 22, 2016 - 12:49 am Reply

    I look at this from a reversed point of view; I (think!) I’ve finally gotten my sea legs on voicing my personal feelings and opinions about making choices… one of those things that I think there’s always going to be room to grow on. The problem I have more with right now is trying to get a decision from my daughter. About just about anything. When Mel mentions being concerned about other people’s happiness more than hers, it was an Ah, hah moment for me. Not only have I felt that way very strongly but so then, perhaps, has my daughter. Is she concerned more about my happiness than hers?

    Somehow, I have felt that it was the other way around. I’ve been finding out lately that there’s several things I thought were true about my inner world that are actually the other way around. One reason I can think of for myself in relation to my own mother is, I didn’t like to “make a choice” when she offered me one because if it wasn’t the choice she already had in mind, she would just manipulate me into “choosing” what she wanted to begin with. Why then, would she feign offering me a choice in the first place? I think this is one of the things that defines the term, “crazy making”. And now I’m getting exhausted making most of the decisions regarding my daughter.

    But, there has been something that I have discovered this summer that has helped to derail that trend. Or at least start to. Long story short, my grandson and I used to enjoy gardening at a local community garden which came unexpectedly to an abrupt halt. So since my daughter is currently renting a place with a big, beautiful old back yard, I asked her as openly as I could if [name removed] and I could make a little garden at the back. She said yes, but not with a great amount of enthusiasm. Kind of like she didn’t really want to say yes but perhaps didn’t want to disappoint me either. I asked her where she would like it to be and how big, and she gave me much the same kind of answer.

    So I started with planting a few of my favorite kinds of flowers in a few different spots around a large bush growing in the corner of her yard. Little by little we are figuring out some boundaries that are working for us. Which, I think instigated the recent new awareness in myself of things I have come to find out have been the other way around!

    • Tina Gilbertson
      July 22, 2016 - 3:37 pm Reply

      That’s a huge leap of insight, when you get enough distance from your own “stuff” to see the bigger picture. In this case, you’re noticing something that’s true for all of us, but that not all of us see: That there are patterns of thought and behavior that survive from generation to generation within our own families.

      Thanks as always for your thoughtful commentary, Snowburst.

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