Topics We’re Talking About: Dealing With Decision Paralysis


Recently, whilst browsing for a new pair of shoes, I was faced with the choice of buying a blue or a red pair. Same brand. Same model. Just different colors. Simple enough… one might think. I picked up each option about 19 times, hemmed and hawed for nearly 26 minutes, and then abruptly left the store empty-handed. It wasn’t that I felt incapable of making the decision (I’m not always one for fashion but I can pick between colors), it was that I became overwhelmed by the endless possibilities that even a simple choice represented.

Did I really need shoes? What was the value? Why was I so worried about something so arbitrary? Should I take more time to research? What if I chose wrong?

A fairly easy decision expanded far beyond the immediate choice and took a (hypothetical) life of its own. Again, I’m talking about shoes here.  But it could have been the choice between taking out a loan or not, whether to rent a particular apartment, etc… when confronted with the fear of making the “wrong” decision, I freeze. Those moments – more than any others – I simply want someone to tell me what to do: Choose this. Done.

But it eventually (usually) hits me… I do have someone to tell me what to do: myself.

I’m the one in charge of my choices. Just as anyone else is the steward of their choices. This recognition is not only empowering, it also encourages confidence behind a choice.

There will always be endless possibilities but in the end – the choice you make will be the choice you make. Nerve racking at times? Of course! But perhaps even scarier is looking back and realizing that you haven’t taken charge, that you haven’t taken action. That in itself is a choice, though often less satisfying.

Pick and make peace. Some choices will end up being be ones that cause you more pain or frustration than the alternatives. But the best part about getting up each day is that you have a new feast of choices set out before you.

With that in mind, I’m happy to share wisdom from the online community that continues to inspire me on a daily basis. Have a read!

6 Strategies To Help You Say “No” – Financegirl
A large part of making a focused decision is understanding and accepting those times that you have to reject other options – even if only temporarily. Natalie shares excellent tips on how to manage your “no’s” so you can balance your “yes’s” efficiently!

Shutting Out the Personal Finance Cacophony – Listen, Money Matters
I often feel as if Candice is speaking directly to my soul whenever she publishes a post over on Listen, Money Matters. This week was no different. “For those of us trying to wade into the ocean that is personal finance for the first time, the cacophony can be overwhelming and deafening. And most harmfully, paralyzing.” Yes and yes. Head on over to read her wisdom and insight!

Keep Calm and Budget On – Our Freaking Budget
More encouragement that even the occasional budget fail is part of a successful financial plan. This means choosing to balance expectations with the fluctuations of life!

How Successful People Make the Toughest Decisions – The Daily Muse
If I had this advice when I first started out in my career, I think I might have saved a lot of time and sanity. Great tips for facing a split in the road – and forging ahead on a path to success!

Living Intentionally: What It Means and How To Do It – Single Moms Income
For a full (and inspiring) breakdown of creating the life you want to lead, head on over to check out Alexa’s post on living intentionally.

I Want My Christmas to Be Debt Free – Get Rich Slowly
As the end of year approach, no better time to touch base with how you can keep focused on making the decisions that will help you reach your year-end goals than setting them out on paper (or blog post).

Thanks to all those who mentioned ReadyForZero this past week!

Business Insider
Dear Debt

Before you sign-off, head on over to Go Girl Finance to check out our latest guest post…

How To Afford Networking When You’re Between Jobs

… and check out our work around the web!

How One Man Paid Off $25,000 Of Debt In A Year — And Kept It From Creeping Back – Business Insider
How This Couple Paid Off $28,000 Of Debt In Less Than 3 Years – Business Insider
Why I Never Order The Cheapest Thing On The Menu – Business Insider
The High Cost of Sleep Deprivation –
3 Tips For Dealing With Cognitive Overload –

Hope you choose to have a fantastic weekend!

Image Credit: Didier Baertschiger

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  • Alexa Mason

    Thank you for the mention! And I understand what you mean with the endless possibilities we have. That’s what makes decision making so hard! I actually think this post from Andrea Dekker ( is a great motivation about making empowered decisions when it comes to money.

  • Natalie @ Financegirl

    Thank you so much for the mention, Claire! You hit it spot on – it’s all about knowing when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. Thanks for the mention. Have a great weekend!

  • Candice Elliott

    Thank you for the lovely words Claire. Very much appreciated.

  • I will have to check some of these blogs out. Thanks for posting.