Indecision – The Popular Form of Self-Torture

Posted January 15, 2014 by Rebecca Niziol in Career Moves
self torture

Why are you torturing yourself?

That’s what indecision is: a self perpetuated state of torture.

You know what I’m talking about. Indecision is that feeling of being trapped in the space between your options. It is going around and around in your own mind weighing pros and cons, asking people their opinions and then feeling more confused or conflicted. It is that process of giving yourself more time than you need, pretending like an extra week or day will make a difference in your choice when you know it will not. Indecision is fear in disguise.


  1. You already know what to do, but just aren’t willing to take action.
  2. You’re afraid of what this choice means, and the change it will bring on.
  3. You’re even more afraid of making the wrong choice, and what that would mean.
  4. You have gotten so good at living in/with indecision that it’s what you know (read: your comfort zone) that shifting that behavior would feel strange.
  5. You like torturing yourself. You are a master of self-sabotage.
  6. Or maybe some combination of all of these things.

Whether it’s picking out what you want to order at dinner, deciding if you’ll be going back to grad school, or if it’s a yes or no to that proposal it doesn’t matter. Indecision can sneak into any decisions big or small. Don’t let this pattern of choice avoidance become your pattern, or worse part of your identity. If you’re someone who walks around claiming things like, “It’s just so hard, I can’t decide” stop it! You’re only reconfirming what you don’t want.

Here’s the truth: Indecision keeps you in a state of inaction.

By not deciding you are letting a choice, or lack there of, have power over you and your life. Fear can paralyze us in so many ways, and this is one of them. If you are currently torturing yourself this way, how about trying something else?

First off, ditch the idea that making a wrong choice is your worst case scenario. This just isn’t true. Doing what you’re doing, prolonging the decision and staying inactive is the worst-case scenario. Your will power and energy will slowly drain with each passing moment, until the decision is made for you via default. Taking action creates energy, because it gets things in motion. Just start moving towards something, and you’ll already start to feel better. Bonus: you’ll know pretty quickly if things don’t feel right, and can adjust accordingly.

Let’s bust another myth: That you need more time before you can decide. Wrong. Whether you give yourself a day or a year, that’s how long it will take to make a decision. And the longer you wait, the more torture you inflict. Imagine starting a new book every day, and having to read a few pages from each of the ones you’ve already started. Oh, it would be just awful. Keeping all the choices out on the table, open and waiting, is like that. How about we stop that? We both know it will save us a lot of time and mental energy, not to mention get things moving quicker.

If making decisions isn’t currently your best skill set, get into the habit of doing these 3 things:

  1. Go with your gut. Your intuition (not that snarky little voice in your head) will always lead you to the right place. This is normally your first instinct, or the option you feel “drawn to or lean towards” without knowing why yet. Go with it! If you’re not sure right off the bat, quiet some of the other noise (in the form of mental chatter or outside opinions) and try to listen to that voice deep within you. Meditation, prayer, walks in nature, exercise, sleep or stillness can all help.
  2. Set a deadline, right in the moment when the choice is presented. I like the 24-hour or “sleep on it” rule. That’s almost always enough time to gather any information you need to make a great choice, feel into it, and go through a range of thoughts around it. Longer than that and you start to slip into the torture stage.
  3. Move from hesitation to dedication. Once you make a choice, run with it. Resist whishy-washy tendencies post-decision (this is basically avoiding action) that reveal your lack of commitment. Be confident that this choice will lead you to the outcome, information, connections, or opportunities you need. And then when you get to the next decision, do it all over again.

“I so deeply admire her lack of decisions, and her inaction towards her goals and dreams” said no one ever. Even if you make a mistake, screw up, or have to change course those around you will admire your gumption and grit. More than that, you’ll admire yourself a little bit more.

Stop pretending like you don’t know what to do, stop listening only to your fear. Make a choice. Right now. Move into the habit of making decisions quickly. Get into action, and know you can always adjust or change your choice later on.

There’s a peace of mind that comes when you make a choice. You are suddenly free from the grip on indecision. The energy that was wrapped up in that internal conflict of “What do I do?” is suddenly released, and available to use on something else. Just think of all the things you could do instead of sitting around mulling over that decision in your mind!

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.