Today, I’m going to talk about the decision-making process. This is going to be especially helpful for the “indecisive” types. Hint: you’re not “indecisive,” your decision-making process just needs a lil bit of structure!
I’m going to describe two psychological phenomena that lead to indecision – and, more importantly, what you can do to avoid indecision.
Last week, we talked about how when you’re planning a wedding, the number of options can be overwhelming. I taught you how to narrow your options, so that you have a nice, short list of strong options.
But it doesn’t end there. Because now you have to weigh those options and eventually make a decision.
What is Decision Fatigue?
Decision fatigue refers to the deteriorating quality of decisions after a long session of decision making. In other words, the more time you spend weighing options – the less productive you become in making a decision.
Have you noticed when this happens when you’re trying to make a wedding-related decision? It happens a lot.
I recall watching an episode of “Say Yes to the Dress” and one of the brides on the show said she had tried on more than 200 dresses. WTF! Now, THAT’s what decision fatigue looks like: spending far too much time trying to make a single decision. After trying to make a decision for so long, all the options just kind of seem to blend together, or you get confused about what you like, or you forget what you wanted in the first place.
Decision fatigue is when you’re working long and hard to make a decision, but you’re still not getting anywhere.
Decision fatigue sucks! It can really bring your wedding planning to halt. And it can be stressful because time waits for no one. Your wedding date keeps approaching – and the pressure to make a decision increases.
The longer you wait to make a decision, the more stressful. But the decision-making process is also stressful. It’s like a vicious cycle. Yikes.
So let’s prevent decision fatigue (and the stress that comes with it), shall we?
It can be easy to get caught up in all the details of the wedding, so ideally, you’ll want to give your decision-making process enough structure to prevent decision fatigue and to keep moving forward.
For starters know how much you care about the decision – is it high-stakes or not? If you’re not sure, I’m going to help you figure that out below.
Let’s say you’re trying to decide on something and you’ve narrowed your search to three options. All three options meet all of your needs, they fit your budget, and you like all options equally – and you feel stuck: how do decide?
I want you to do a little mindset shifts to help you pick:
Think about the big picture to help you make each decision – two things to keep in mind.
Think about these two things to help you focus on the big picture: your theme and (more importantly) your guests.
1. Your overall theme.
If you’re trying to decide on something that’s a relatively small detail, think: does it fit into the overall theme? If you can confidently answer “yes” to this question about all of your options, then it’s safe to assume that the decision at hand won’t have a huge impact on the look and feel of your wedding.
For example, if one of your theme colors is light blue and you’re trying to decide between three linen colors: baby blue, powder blue or sky blue. The difference won’t be very significant, see for yourself:
As you can probably tell, this decision won’t matter very much in the grand scheme of things because the differences are so negligible. In this case, it’s best to choose quickly and move on. (Because your time is better spent making more impactful decisions.)
2. Your guests’ perspective.
This is a simple mindset shift. Just ask yourself: will your guests care? Will they even notice?
In the example above – I can tell you with great confidence that: no, your guests will not care whether you choose baby blue, powder blue or sky blue linens. I promise.
First, this decision won’t impact their experience at all. Second, they won’t know which choices you had! Only YOU see the different options you have. Your guests will never think, “They should have chosen the the sky blue linens instead.”
(The main things your guests will care about is: seeing you and your partner enjoying your big day, getting fed good food at a reasonable hour, and having a good time.)
If you’ve already fallen into decision fatigue – here are three practical things you can do to get out of it:
1. Take a break.
Sometimes, it helps to get some distance from the decision, and come back to look at it with fresh eyes. So take a break for a day or two AT LEAST. There have been plenty of studies that show that your best ideas come when you’re not even trying. So who knows – you might even make a decision during your break!
2. Don’t ask for too many opinions.
Sometimes, it can be helpful to get a second opinion on something – especially if you don’t care one way or the other, or if you need a tie-breaker.
Other times, asking for opinions is not so helpful – sometimes it can be counterproductive. See, the more people you ask, the more opinions you’ll get – and guess what? That’s more information to consider! You just gave yourself more things to review, more work to do, therefore, prolonging the decision-making process.
Don’t ask for too many opinions. Carefully consider the information you’ve already gathered, don’t add more complexity to the mix. Keep it simple, k?
3. Let someone else decide.
This is my favorite thing! There are some things that you just don’t care about – so let someone else decide! For example, if you’re like me and you don’t give a shit about linen colors – just let your caterer pick a color for you.
Imagine how you’ll feel AFTER you make a decision
The beauty is people actually feel better about their decisions AFTER they decide! It’s a real psychological phenomenon called choice-supportive bias. Choice-supportive bias is when we tend to feel more confident in our decision immediately after we’ve selected an option.
This means, that you become even MORE committed to a decision after you make it. Isn’t that weird?
So rest assured – no matter what decision you make, your brain will find a way to be happy with it after you make it – no matter what it is 🙂 It’s a psychological fact … that’s just how the brain works!
Be confident! Don’t second-guess yourself – you got this!
If you’re still reading this wondering which decision to make … flip a coin. Remember, either way – you’re going to be satisfied with your decision because of the choice-supportive bias 🙂
But even more importantly, the point of your wedding is that you’re getting married! That’s the big picture – the details don’t matter as much as the big picture.