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Yes. No. Maybe. Are You Struggling with Indecision?

Has there eveyes no maybe indecisionr been a time when you were faced with indecision…when it was really difficult to make that decision…

Who can struggle with indecision? Everybody. That’s right. Everybody can be indecisive at one point or another…about something big or something small. Some decisions are hard to make. For some people, making any kind of decision is hard. For most of us though, the hardest decisions can cause the biggest delays…just because there is so much emotion attached to making that decision.

“Decision is a sharp knife that cuts clean and straight; indecision, a dull one that hacks and tears and leaves ragged edges behind it.”- Gordon Graham

What Does Indecision Look Like?

It doesn’t matter how important the decision is to be made. It could be a major life decision about where to live or who to marry or what career to pursue. It could be making a decision about what color to paint your living room or what to have for supper. The problem occurs when there is a delay in making that decision…when being indecisive keeps a person being stuck.

Being indecisive can look like this:

  • Procrastinating, stalling, and pushing deadlines further into the future…more than once…
  • Making other tasks a priority…I know that when I am being indecisive, there is a lot of house cleaning that gets done!
  • Clutter, emotional and in your physical environment. Clutter is just a delayed decision, isn’t it? When there is clutter, there is indecision…whether to keep it, toss it, or make a place for it…

Having This Mindset Breeds Indecision

  • Looking for guarantees. If you are looking for a guaranteed outcome, life doesn’t work that way. Most of the decisions that we make involve not knowing exactly what the future holds. There is no crystal ball saying that if you make decision x, then decision y is the only outcome that can happen. We don’t always know all the variables, do we?
  • Not having a plan B. Even if your plan B is just sketched out a napkin in pencil, as you are sitting in a coffee shop, it can give a measure of comfort. It gives you another option in case the first plan (decision A), doesn’t work out. It doesn’t need to be extremely detailed…just knowing that it’s there can make the process of decision making easier.
  • Not trusting yourself. Have some faith in your ability to handle the consequences of the decisions that you make. Do as much planning as you can beforehand. Do your fact finding. Be prepared and then make a decision.
  • Not forgiving yourself if you have made mistakes in the past about previous decisions. No one is perfect…really…
  • Feeling insignificant. If you feel insignificant, it can make making a decision almost impossible. If you knew…deep down inside…just how important you really, really are…making a decision would be so much easier.

Clarity Statements When Faced with Indecision

Indecision can be messy. Life is messy…sometimes…it isn’t as cut and dried as we think it should be. So if you find yourself or maybe a loved one in a position where a decision needs to be made, here are some statements that when answered can make a choice much clearer…

And I call this “Measuring the Gap” between what you want and what you got:

  1. What I thought I wanted:
  2. What I actually got:
  3. What I really want:

Here is a pdf of those statements for you to print out and fill in…if you would like…

Indecision happens because we need to make a choice…usually, we aren’t starting from a clear slate. There are so many factors to consider.

If you are looking at a room that you have and it’s painted a dusky rose that you picked out…look at that color and say”What I thought I wanted_____________”…maybe it was a peaceful, calming atmosphere in that room. Then “What I actually got__________”…a color that didn’t work…a color that was too grey and a little moody…then “What I really want__________”…a cheerful, bright color that looks like sunshine on a cloudy day….that suits me and my personality…

The more specific that you get, the easier the decision is to make. There are, of course, other steps in the decision making process…this is just a part of the equation…but sometimes it is enough…try this one out…start with a simple decision that you have been perfecting the art of indecision on…and see what happens…it’s just a different way of looking at it, isn’t it?

And think about this…what if not making a decision was a decision…all by itself…

“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner


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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

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  • Hyspin May 21, 2013, 2:12 pm

    I noticed that suffer from indecisions myself but root is trying to compromise or avoid conflict or being nice with others. Because when I have no problems with my decisions is when there is no one to deal with or If I am being focus on myself. I know now that set me back with a lot of things in my life, so now I become less accommodating and things are flowing nicely in areas where applied this. But I do have areas where it will present a challenge to be more inward focused so your advice might help. Also your advice may help with the big hard decisions I will have to make which are high stakes decision with losses on both sides of the coin or things that put long term goals against each other. I think may need a life coach for the latter though.

  • Susan Critelli September 21, 2012, 9:43 am

    The part about clutter was revealing. I am awash in papers I can’t seem to throw away, or file, or whatever needs to be done with them, and it is such a daunting task I can’t even get started.
    Susan Critelli recently posted..Infernius Norman, Destroyer of WorldsMy Profile

    • Sherie September 21, 2012, 10:31 am

      Start small…with one paper…and make a quick decision…then quickly go on to the next. When you can get started with one small step, that momentum can carry you through, Susan.

  • Edmund Lee September 19, 2012, 5:53 am

    Indecision and procrastination can really be a downfall, whether in business or our personal lives. I love how you covered the background info regarding indecision and the characteristics present as well.
    Edmund Lee recently posted..Part 5: How to Add Followers on TwitterMy Profile

    • Sherie September 19, 2012, 11:09 am

      Edmund, so glad that you liked that part, thank you!

  • Helena Bowers September 17, 2012, 2:45 pm

    I am sensing a round of decluttering happening here again, coupled with extensive use of your Measuring the Gap tool. Thanks for another great post Sherie!
    Helena Bowers recently posted..Five Signs Your Blog is Doing What It’s Supposed To – How Effective is Yours?My Profile

    • Sherie September 17, 2012, 4:15 pm

      Way to go, Helena, I cheer you on your round of decluttering!! Thanks so much for your kind words! : D

  • Sharon O'Day September 16, 2012, 10:11 pm

    One of the joys of getting older, Sherie, is that it gets easier and easier to make decisions. First, because we have an ever-growing data base of earlier decisions and consequences. Second, because we let go of a lot of things that could have made decision-making more difficult … like caring about what everyone else will think, for example. (But I still like your ‘Measuring the Gap’ tool … 😉
    Sharon O’Day recently posted..Financial Peace of Mind: Forgiving Yourself for Acting UpMy Profile

    • Sherie September 16, 2012, 10:16 pm

      Sharon, yes, the more we learn and the more experience, the easier the decision making process is! Glad you liked the “Measuring the Gap” tool! Thanks so much for your comment!

  • Suzanne Jones September 15, 2012, 8:52 am

    Sherie I love your posts. So informative every time! I have often said myself, not making a decision is a decision in itself. Also I have found just making a decision and not acting on it will also guide us. If I can’t make a decision, I make one anyway. I don’t act on it, and my feelings about the decision will tell me if it was right or wrong.
    Suzanne Jones recently posted..Hypnotic Suggestions And Affirmations; What’s The Difference And Do They Work?My Profile

    • Sherie September 15, 2012, 11:13 am

      Suzanne, love your insights! Yes, I definitely agree that not making a decision is a decision. And thank you! <3

  • Susan Preston September 14, 2012, 5:24 pm

    Thank you for an Amazing post. I remember when I was in my 30’s, I was so indecisive because I was not clear on not only who I was any more but in what I really wanted. Great stuff!!!!
    Susan Preston recently posted..How To Have A Positive Mindset During Challenging TimesMy Profile

    • Sherie September 14, 2012, 6:21 pm

      Yes, we do need to know who we are, don’t we? Thanks so much for your comment, Susan!

  • Karen Presecan September 13, 2012, 11:39 am

    love the print out exercise! I need to work on my indecisiveness!

    • Sherie September 13, 2012, 6:30 pm

      Glad you liked the exercise, Karen!

  • denny hagel September 13, 2012, 6:27 am

    Thankfully I have not had to deal with indecision…I have seen it cost so many people great opportunities and lessons. Along with being decisive you must be of the mindset that whatever happens as a result of a decision all will be well! Thanks!
    denny hagel recently posted..Does Your Child Insist on Having the LAST Word?My Profile

    • Sherie September 13, 2012, 8:35 am

      Thanks for your insights, Denny!

  • Tara Geissinger September 12, 2012, 8:42 pm

    Sherie — I used to be the Queen of indecision. Seriously. I still struggle with some of my bad habits, but I’ve gotten much better about it. I think as I get older it’s easier to trust my judgement and just get on with it. I really like the clarity statements. Awesome!

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 8:56 pm

      So glad you found the clarity statements valuable, Tara! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Kerry Postel September 12, 2012, 7:34 pm

    Love this post! I am working on this at the moment and you make some great points that I can use to help! Thank you so much
    Kerry Postel recently posted..Part 1 – Common Bookkeeping MistakesMy Profile

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 8:05 pm

      You’re very welcome, Kerry, glad it could help!

  • Adam D. Oglesby September 12, 2012, 5:16 pm

    Absolutely. I’m an indecision junkie, vacillating like a ping pong ball splatting back and forth across the table.

    I’ve always have been a rather deliberate fellow, reflective, choosing to allot appropriate time to make the most judicious decision when a situation arose.

    In important matters I attempted to avoid knee jerk reactions and wild-eyes impulsiveness.

    But I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older–and busier–I’m much more likely to find myself stymied as regards making the right choice.

    I attribute this tendency to waver on simple distraction (there are times in my day when I’m impossibly overwhelmed). Hopefully, that is all it is.

    But I certainly lament the loss of the decisiveness I possessed as a youngster.
    Adam D. Oglesby recently posted..It’s Dangerous To Cheat On Your Mistress!My Profile

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 8:07 pm

      Sometimes, we get more careful about making decisions as we get older. It doesn’t have to be that way, though…we can remain flexible in thinking…quite often! Experience can be a great teacher and it can actually make decision making easier, if you learned from that experience. : D Thanks for your comment, Adam!

  • Sara Nickleberry September 12, 2012, 11:07 am

    Thanks for the pdf, WOW! What a great tool 🙂
    Sara Nickleberry recently posted..Twitter Etiquette Techniques For Small BusinessMy Profile

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 1:03 pm

      Sara, wonderful, thank you!!

  • Lorii Abela September 12, 2012, 10:37 am

    Another great post, Sherie. Yes, I admit that I was struggling with indecision because of fear. But I am trying to overcome that though and I think I am doing well.. 🙂
    Lorii Abela recently posted..Asian Women: Why It’s Great to Date OneMy Profile

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 1:03 pm

      Excellent, Lorii, way to go!

  • Lisa Birnesser September 12, 2012, 7:26 am

    Not trusting yourself is a huge breeding ground for indecision. Past mistakes can paralyze you in fear about making the same mistake. Learning to take a risk again is a must. Another fabulous article, Sherie!
    Lisa Birnesser recently posted..How to Stress Less During Difficult SituationsMy Profile

    • Sherie September 12, 2012, 9:13 am

      Fear can be such a paralyzer. Thank you for your insights, Lisa!

  • Nisha September 11, 2012, 8:23 pm

    Indecision can really be the breeding ground for procrastination! I know what you mean! One thing that I find helps me with indecision is trusting my instincts. I’ve really had to learn to do that over the years, but I find that my gut feeling usually is telling me exactly what I need to know!
    Nisha recently posted..Stress Relief: Are You Living The Right Life For You?My Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 11:10 pm

      Trusting your instincts is right on, Nisha!

  • Estelle September 11, 2012, 8:23 pm

    Boy can I relate – need to give up perfectionism and get a plan B, forgive myself and trust myself. Thanks Sherie!!

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 11:10 pm

      You’re welcome, Estelle! Thanks so much for commenting!

  • Olga Hermans September 11, 2012, 7:01 pm

    I absolutely don’t like those moments where I have a hard time to decide; I always think it is such a waste of time. But I also know that sometimes we need to think some things through and need to be a little more careful with making some of the decisions.

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 11:11 pm

      Sometimes we do need to take our time and think carefully, as long as we don’t use taking a lot of time as an excuse.: D I agree with you, Olga!

  • Lisa Frederiksen - BreakingTheCycles.com September 11, 2012, 4:53 pm

    Oh my gosh — there is so much here, Sherie — the procrastination part and the 5 points under “Having This Mindset Breeds Indecision” — so true for me! Thanks for a great post and your ‘decision making easier’ suggestions.
    Lisa Frederiksen – BreakingTheCycles.com recently posted..Face of Recovery – Meet Carolyn HughesMy Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 5:51 pm

      Lisa, I am so glad that you got so much out of the post! You’re welcome and thanks so much for your comment!

  • Anita September 11, 2012, 4:50 pm

    Distractions and interruptions! Wow..we live with a lot of them and trying to stay focused is a full time job for sure 🙂
    Anita recently posted..Expanding Your Comfort ZoneMy Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 5:51 pm

      It can be, Anita! That is for sure! : D

  • Martha Giffen September 11, 2012, 3:38 pm

    It’s amazing how those distractions can seem so important when you are trying to make a decision. They are nothing but ways to procrastinate, of course, but when we choose to follow the distractions, we are also choosing NOT to make the decisions that need to be made. Essentially, deciding not to make a decision is a decision in itself. Make sense? LOL
    Martha Giffen recently posted..Social Media Marketing Goes VisualMy Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 4:18 pm

      Yes, Martha, it absolutely does makes sense!

  • Elizabeth L Maness September 11, 2012, 1:02 pm

    I need to print this out.. :0 I’m really bad about not having a plan B lol I’m all or nothing..;)
    Elizabeth L Maness recently posted..Mr. Right 5 Ways to tell if He’s the “One”My Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 1:21 pm

      : D You don’t need a big plan B…even just the idea of one can help! : D

  • Jeanne Rust, PhD September 11, 2012, 12:50 pm

    This is a great topic, Sherie. I need to remember that my indecision always comes from fear. I need to remember that after making a decision, I can always change my mind!

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 1:20 pm

      Exactly, Jeanne, we can always change our mind! It’s about course corrections!

  • Carolyn Hughes September 11, 2012, 11:30 am

    Just had to laugh when I read ‘making other tasks a priority’ – were you spying on me as I decided to clean the floors instead of getting down to writing?
    The advice to be specific about decisions is really helpful. I hadn’t thought of it like that before.
    Thanks Sherie!
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted..The Gift of True Love.My Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 12:42 pm

      LOL! Carolyn, no, I wasn’t spying on you…really! : D Thanks so much for your comment, dear!

  • Moira Hutchison September 11, 2012, 11:30 am

    Thanks for this great post Sherie – I love how you remind us that indecision is just coming to a point where we need to make a choice… perhaps if we can remind ourselves that a choice is a gift – that might end some procrastination!
    Moira Hutchison recently posted..The Secrets of Successful Goal SettingMy Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 12:41 pm

      I love the way that you put that, Moira…yes, choice is a gift! : D

  • terressa September 11, 2012, 10:51 am

    I spent years struggling with indecision. It can take years off of your life. Thank you for your tips on how to get clear and know what it is we want and need in our lives.

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 10:58 am

      It really can, Terresa…once we get clear, those decisions are so much easier to make…

  • Norma Doiron September 11, 2012, 10:01 am

    What an awesome post! Spot on. I’m usually pretty good but still procrastinate in certain areas that I don’t like. Great tips to make me realize why… Thanks Sherie. Another great post! x0x
    Norma Doiron recently posted..Welcome to The LEARNED PreneurMy Profile

    • Sherie September 11, 2012, 10:57 am

      Thank you, Norma, procrastination is just a delayed decision…thanks so much for commenting!

  • Kimberly September 10, 2012, 3:58 am

    I am beginning to believe your articles are written personally for me. This one was right on time with events going on in my life. THANK YOU again

    • Sherie September 10, 2012, 9:00 am

      Kimberly, I am SO glad that they are helping! Big hugs for whatever is going on in your life! <3 <3