Decide. Commit. Smile

What to do, what to do, what to do. Do you ever feel like you’ve got fifty different things that need to get done or choices you could make and because you’re aren’t able to move in one direction or the other, you end up doing nothing? 

This scenario describes what is known as choice overload. When we’re faced with a lot of different options and are unable to make a decision. This can lead to unneeded stress and anxiety, which is no fun.

So what do we do? How do we overcome the stress of overwhelm based around all the different options life throws at us?

This is where the mantra “Decide. Commit. Smile” comes from. This is based on the thought process that making a decision that may end up not being the best decision is better than making no decision at all. This is because it allows us to move forward with whatever it is we are mulling over and determine if we are going in the right direction or not. If we soon discover that wasn’t the right choice, we can take corrective action. It also allows us to get the internal debate out of our head. 

Now to be fair, this is not suggesting you jump into a willy nilly decision on a whim for major life events. But it does say that you can decide on a process to determine the best course of action. That in itself is a decision. The main thing to focus on is deciding something, committing to it, then being good with what you’ve decided until proven otherwise.

Here is an exercise to try next time you’re faced with this type of issue:

1. Write everything down. Get it out of your head and onto paper. This could be multiple options for the same decision you need to make around one issue. Or it could be figuring out what to devote your time to among competing issues. 

2. Once everything is down on paper, take a moment to think about importance versus urgent. What on this list is truly important. Sometimes the most pressing and urgent things are actually the least important. Once you’ve decided which one or multiple items on your list are the most important, put a start next to each.

3. Between the remaining options, pick one. Go with your gut here. But once you decide, commit to following through. 

4. Immediately take the smallest step you can toward moving forward with that decision. Even if it seems of little significance in the bigger scheme of things, starting the momentum cycle is huge. 

5. Smile. This step is here simply to help you relax in the moment. Smiling helps your body naturally reduce stress, which will put you in a better position to move forward with the decision you’ve made and committed to. 

Image Credit: Gerd Altmann