17 Common Causes of Indecisiveness and How to Overcome Them

The major causes of indecisiveness are the fear of making mistakes, overthinking an issue, perfectionism, insufficient information and the need to conform to social and other external pressures.

In this post, I will share with you the root causes of indecisiveness and what anyone can do to overcome being indecisive most of the time.

So if you are looking for the reasons why you feel undecided most of the time and an effective solution to the problem of indecisiveness then you are in the right place.

Without wasting much time, let’s get started.

My Personal Struggle with Indecisiveness

I count myself as a decisive individual. In many cases, I know how to make a decision quickly and stick to it no matter what. This is why I can even make what ‘normal’ people may consider ‘crazy’ decisions. There’s a whole story behind that and it is better left for another day.

But to be honest, I have equally struggled with indecision in a number of instances. Yes, I have experienced the spirit of indecisiveness at close range. I have encountered the debilitating feeling of getting stuck in one place and overthinking my choices on occasions too many for my comfort.

It is not easy trying to fight indecisiveness. I’ve been there and this is why I’m confident I have a lot to tell you about what it means to be indecisive.

So let’s have it.

The Meaning of Indecisiveness

Being indecisive refers to a state of uncertainty or hesitation when making choices or decisions.

When someone is indecisive, they may struggle to make up their mind or take action because they are unsure about the best course of action.

Indecisiveness can manifest itself in various ways.

Below are the major characteristics of people who struggle with indecisiveness.

Procrastination

Indecisive individuals may delay making a decision, often hoping that the situation will resolve itself or that they will suddenly have more clarity.

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Overthinking

They might excessively analyze the pros and cons of a decision. This often leads to a feeling of getting stuck and being unable to choose.

Fear of Making Mistakes

Indecisive people may be afraid of making the wrong choice. For that matter, they hesitate out of fear of regretting their decision.

Seeking External Validation

Some individuals constantly seek the opinions and approval of others because they lack confidence in their own judgment.

Frequent Change of Mind

Indecisive individuals might make a decision but then change their minds repeatedly, causing confusion and instability in their actions.

Avoiding Responsibility

In some cases, being indecisive can be a way to avoid taking responsibility for the outcomes of one’s choices.

The Problem with Being Indecisive

Indecisiveness can be a barrier to personal growth. The simple reason is that the spirit of indecision is one of the fastest routes to missed opportunities.

It creates a lack of forward-moving momentum.

What are the causes of indecision?

Indecision can have various causes, and it often results from a combination of factors.

Here now come the most common causes of indecision.

Not to worry. After going through the various causes of indecisiveness, I will give you proven steps that anyone can follow to overcome this problem.

1. Fear of Making Mistakes

One of the major causes of indecisiveness is the fear of being laughed at for making the wrong choice.

Many people hesitate to make decisions because they are afraid of making the wrong move and facing negative consequences.

2. Lack of Information

When individuals feel they don’t have enough information about the options or the potential outcomes, they may delay making a decision.

3. Overthinking

Overanalyzing a situation can lead to indecisiveness. When people dwell on the details or complexities of a decision, they can become paralyzed by the process.

4. Perfectionism

Prominent among the causes of indecisiveness is a constant feeling of the need to always appear perfect.

Striving for perfection can be a barrier to decision-making. Perfectionists may delay choices in an attempt to find the ideal solution.

5. Low Self-Confidence

When you lack confidence in your own judgment it can lead to indecisiveness. For example, individuals who often seek validation from others because they doubt their own abilities suffer from indecisiveness.

6. Conflict of Values

When your personal values or priorities conflict with one another, it can make decision decision-making a challenging task.

For example, some people would waste years trying to choose between career advancement and spending more time with family.

7. External Influences

The opinions and expectations of others can weigh heavily on some people as they try to make the right decisions.

People may hesitate to make choices that don’t align with societal or familial norms.

8. Trying to Avoid Responsibility

Indecision can be a way to avoid taking responsibility for the consequences of a certain course of action.

If you feel that it may be better for someone else to make the choice so they can be held accountable, you may begin to doubt if you should be the one making that decision.

9. Overwhelm and Decision Fatigue

Facing a multitude of choices or complex decisions can be overwhelming. Some individuals may avoid making decisions altogether when they feel inundated.

10. Emotional Factors

Strong emotions, such as fear, anxiety, or stress, can cloud one’s judgment. This often renders decision-making a very difficult task.

11. Past Negative Experiences

Frequently looking over your shoulder to see the ghost of a previous bad decision is among the causes of indecisiveness and inaction.

Past failures or negative experiences can lead to a fear of repeating those mistakes.

12. Environmental Factors

Growing up in an environment where decisions were made for an individual rather than encouraging them to make choices can contribute to indecisiveness in adulthood.

13. Unsupportive Relationships

Lack of external support from people very close to you can sow the seeds of doubt in your mind.

This could result in days or even years of indecisiveness.

Sometimes, all we need is validation from those we love or look up to for emotional support.

Therefore, when these people disappoint us with an attitude of discouragement we tend to feel confused and less confident about our choices.

14. Uncertainty About Goals

Lack of clarity about one’s long-term goals and values can make it challenging to make decisions that align with those goals.

16. Cultural or Societal Factors

Cultural norms and societal expectations can influence decision-making. Some cultures may prioritize collective decision-making over individual choices.

People from such cultural backgrounds tend to doubt their own abilities to make the right choices later in life.

17. Fatigue

Physical or mental fatigue can cause indecisiveness.

For instance, after a hard day’s work, tiredness or hunger can impair decision-making abilities, leading to indecisiveness.

How to Overcome Indecisiveness

We all have the power to overcome the problem of indecisiveness.

This typically involves developing decision-making skills, increasing self-confidence, and learning to trust one’s judgment.

There is so much you can do to cure indecisiveness if you follow the below suggestions.

Embrace Mistakes

Mistakes have always been a part of life so learn to embrace missteps when they occur. Remember that each mistake you make teaches valuable lessons that take you a step closer to your ultimate goal.

So stop being indecisive. Take the bull by the horns and damn the consequences. That is the only way to overcome the spirit of indecisiveness and inaction.

You Can’t Have All the Answers

If you want to have all the information before taking action, you will never get anything done.

This is because there is so much information out there, most of it very confusing and self-contradictory.

There is a point where you just have to stop overthinking and choose one course of action.

Stop Being a Perfectionist

Perfect situations are alien to life so why waste your precious time on trying to be perfect?

Moreover, there is something beautiful about being imperfect. It makes you human!

Instead of striving to be perfect, jump in when you have most of the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted. Do not hesitate any longer.

Later, you will be happy you chose to do something at that very moment in your life.

Actively Build Self Confidence

Tell yourself that you’ve got what it takes to make your own decisions. Remember the Universe gives each one of us the same basic opportunities needed for our growth every day.

So no one is better than you. You can boldly make your own decisions knowing that you have what it takes to do so.

Rely on Your Most Important Values

Back in the days I was studying Economics, I learned the concepts of scarcity, scale of preference, choice and opportunity cost. Well, these are valuable principles that anyone can use to overcome indecisiveness?

How? Each time you are unable to choose a certain course of action just because your conflicting values make that impossible, list all those values in order of importance.

Next, determine what you consider your most important personal values with regard to the decision at hand. Then decide quickly based on what you value most.

Stop Looking for External Approval

One more way to overcome indecisiveness is not to allow what other people think to paralyze you each time you need to make an important decision about your life or career.

Keep in mind that those who try to make you do what they feel is best for you may not have your interest at heart.

Know that they can never be you.

Your story is different and your destination is unique so listen to that little voice inside you and stop allowing external pressures to confuse and dilute your decision-making power.

Focus on Your Goals for the Future

To overcome indecisiveness, you need to let go of whatever negative experiences you might have had in the past.

If you want to achieve true personal growth you must not allow your past to dictate your actions in the present moment.

It is not easy but it is doable. Have your goals in full view each time you need to make a certain decisive choice about any area of your life.

Change Your Environment

We saw that the environment we find ourselves in and the kind of relationships we allow in our lives are among the causes of indecisiveness.

Now if this is a big problem for you, then you may have to consider changing your environment and relationships.

This has the potential to give you more clarity and power so you can overcome indecisiveness once and for all.

Choose the Right Time for Decision Making

It is best to brainstorm your ideas and come to a decisive conclusion when you are clear-headed and motivated enough.

Avoid trying to decide on both important and trivial issues when you are suffering from physical, emotional or mental fatigue.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to appreciate the fact that indecisiveness is a common human experience. Fortunately, we all can overcome indecisiveness by addressing its underlying causes.

You also need to develop faster decision-making skills, look for support or guidance when needed, and always rely on your most important personal values.

Finally, remember that learning to overcome the causes of indecisiveness will set you on the path to a more intentional and purpose-driven life.

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17 Common Causes of Indecisiveness and How to Overcome Them

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