Sunday, March 6, 2011

Teens: Long-term consequences of avoiding decision-making

By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

Many teens (and adults) find it extremely scary to make the big life-changing (or life-directing) decisions. They are afraid of picking the wrong choice, disappointing their parents, embarrassing themselves, making mistakes, taking wrong action, and so on. With so much pressure, it almost appears easier to shy away from making decisions and letting life play out on its own.

Decision-making, however, cannot be avoided. In fact, the older you get the more responsibility you will have; this includes more opportunities to make a variety of decisions. While, some decisions are easier and some are harder, it’s up to you to take charge of your life and choose what you think is best for you. Knowing you have the power to shape your life anyway you want is extremely empowering and means you can be whatever you dream of being.

Not making decisions leads to...

Because making decisions can be difficult and requires time and effort, many teens choose to dodge this responsibility. While this method may appear to work for a while, you’ll soon notice the consequences catching up to you. When you notice you’re not getting the results you want in an increasing amount of areas in life, life will no longer seem fun, but hard and tedious.

Here are 5 major consequences of avoiding decision-making:

Feeling disempowered or feeling you’re being controlled: You have enormous power in your life. The power you hold is reflected in your ability to choose anything you want. When you choose to avoid decision-making, you’re willingly giving up control over your life. Also, if you’re not willing to make your own decisions, others will be more than happy to choose for you. Unfortunately, others often choose what they think would work for them, assuming the same solution will work for you. Be careful when you allow others to make your decisions, you’ll hardly ever get what you want.

Low self-esteem: Believing you don’t have the ability to make the right decisions for yourself is extremely diminishing and degrading. In addition, not getting the results you want (which often happens when you don’t make your decisions) may lead you to think you don’t deserve anything better than what you’re getting.

Low self-trust: Self-trust is a learned skill and is important for creativity, independence, and success. If you don’t trust yourself to make decisions, you’ll never trust yourself in other areas of life either. Not making decisions may lead you to not trust yourself to deal with life’s challenges, to handle new experiences, or to meet new people.

Unhappiness: It’s up to you to create the kind of life you want for yourself. Don’t give up your happiness by being afraid to make decisions. Happiness and fulfillment do not come from making the right decisions, but from learning from the decisions you’ve made.

Bad Habit Formation: When you continually avoid making decisions, you’ll eventually form the habit to avoid decision-making altogether. Once this habit is formed, you’ll move through life without making very many decisions unless you choose to change this habit. Unfortunately, one habit often leads to other bad habits such as making excuses, avoiding problem solving, complaining, settling for mediocrity, and giving up.

Have more questions about the decisions in your life? Contact Teen Life Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic, and find out how you can strengthen your decision-making skills.

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