Unable to commit to an action

Indecision is the difficulty of committing to action once a preference is known. It is possible to have a choice in mind, but have difficulty with its implementation.

We can remain non-judgmental of preferences, as they are nearly always valid, but also that it is appropriate to critically examine actions and their consequences. From an interpersonal/emotional angle, criticism of preferences is almost always invalidating, while tactful criticism of behavior is rarely taken as an attack on one’s person.



Resolving Indecision - Albert Ellis Institute


Decisions vs. Choices

It is best to think of choices as preferences that stem from subjective personal tastes. A decision, on the other hand, is a commitment to action that occurs after one becomes aware of their choice.

Any disconnect between what someone wants (choices) and what they are doing (decisions) causes a state of discomfort that is resolved only when behaviors, preferences, or both change. Stated simply, people who suffer from indecision are probably not committing to a course of action that is in line with their preferences, or are unable to commit to their preferences for any number of reasons.


Resolving Indecision

So how do we resolve indecision and reduce negative emotions?

  1. Acknowledge your preferences without forcing yourself to commit to an action.
  2. Make a list of the possible decisions (courses of action) available to you that will give you a good shot at obtaining what you have chosen.
  3. Recognize that doing what you are already doing and doing nothing are both decisions with real consequences, and add these potential decisions to your list.
  4. Identify and critically evaluate the outcomes that may result from the decisions you have identified.


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