There are many big decisions in life, but when it’s the routine ones that cause stress (like which doughnut should I eat?), it’s time to ease the choosing process. Decision making and anxiety go hand in hand for over-thinkers like me. But! I’ve found some helpful tips that I’m happy to share.

Paralyzed by the Starbuck’s menu? Then read on!



Decision Making and Anxiety - woman in grocery store examines the many choices for boxed cereal - Shutterstock

Your options have never been greater. Today, the selection of boxed cereals, electronic devices, hair products, bedding and makeup (to name just a few!) is mind boggling. Any wonder your mind feels boggled then?

In decades and centuries past, simple daily choices were limited. If you were lucky enough to eat out, there were only several options on the menu. You ate what was in season, and picked your shampoo from the small local drugstore. Things weren’t changing all the time, and there weren’t a gazillion brands. There was one phone company for your area, and nobody had to choose a cellphone carrier.



Surprise! You’re supposed to be excited about all these choices, right? Greater variety means more competitive pricing and better quality products. Isn’t it exhilarating? I mean, you really can pick the best of the best of the best (after putting in those hours of research, of course).

This gift of variety often ends in confusion. The whole process of selection is overwhelming. Even after you’ve paid, how often do you wonder if the other item would have been better?

Rather than making people happier, this vast array of options frequently produces decision anxiety. But you’re going to beat that.



Following are four tips I’ve tried and found successful in easing decision anxiety. I believe they will help you too.



Who to marry versus which brand of toilet paper?

The contrast in decision importance is pretty clear. But sometimes you just need that little reminder — a shift in perspective.

Do you spend more and get Aveda’s most amazing Leave-In Conditioner, or do you cheap out and grab one at Walmart? Pros and cons. Honestly, I’ve ruminated on this one a lot. I have long hair. I cut and color it myself (no salon expenses), and it’s dry and super curly. I used the cheaper brands for years, and I’m finally back with Aveda.

And how much does this matter? Not a whole lot, though it’s worth considering. Hopefully this decision is a done deal and won’t come up for review anytime soon. ?

Seriously though, what size drink to get at Starbuck’s? That shouldn’t be a weight on your shoulders. Or even what kind of drink!

Sure, you might consider how much money remains on your Starbucks card, or whether you’re trying to lose weight, but it’s really not a big deal. Don’t overthink. And don’t let guilt rob you of enjoying it — whichever you choose.



I like the number two, so I am sticking with it.

Two choices! Whether it’s toilet paper, conditioner, menu items or Starbuck’s beverages, pick two that look good.

You don’t need to examine the whole selection. What you don’t know you can’t regret. ? If it sounds good, put it on the “two” list. Once you’ve narrowed the choices, picking should be much easier.

Better yet, pick one and stick with it. Occasionally, that’s been my approach. No matter the time of year, no matter the time of day, if I find myself at Starbuck’s, I’ll be having a Grande DeCaf Peppermint Mocha with an Extra Pump of Mocha. Sure, it can seem a little boring, but I’m saving my decision making brain power for more important things.



If your decision involves a companion, why not let them pick? That is, if you don’t mind either way.

Personally, I’ve found this quite effective. I was raised vegetarian, but once married, I embraced an omnivorous diet. (This pleased my husband too ?). When I was a teenager, vegetarianism was just catching on. Restaurants would have one, maybe two meatless items. With such a small selection, ordering was easy.

But once meat was on the menu, choosing became much more complicated. I’m not a picky eater, and since we usually share, I started asking hubby to order for us. He’d offer two selections and then let me pick.

What a relief! To this day, unless there’s something just calling my name, this is how we order (after almost twenty years, I think it’s working). ?❤️



Even if your choice winds up bombing, don’t regret it. We aren’t talking about moral decisions here, but simple matters of taste.

One movie or the other.

The chocolate cream-filled doughnut or the classic cake doughnut.

Both have benefits. Is one actually better? You’ll never know, unless you try all of them! And really, is it worth the stomach ache?

Embrace your selection and enjoy it. You’re not looking for perfection, are you? It’s a setup for unrelenting anxiety.

Good enough will do just fine. Gratitude and contentment can make the most disappointing outcomes worthwhile.

Plus, an amusing story might just be worth more than the price of a bad movie ticket or flavorless entree.



When it comes to life’s small pleasures, or those ordinary everyday necessities, choice abounds. So why not make it easy for yourself? Forgo the anxiety, and settle for good enough — you may just get perfection thrown in when you aren’t looking for it. And if decision overload presses in, ponder these points of deliberation:

  1. Consider the Decision’s Importance
  2. Limit Your Choices
  3. Defer to Someone Else
  4. Make No Room for Regret



I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments! Please leave them below, and I will always respond. — Ali ?


  1. I love your ‘down to earth’ advice, but I am particularly taken with ‘—embrace your choice and enjoy it—‘. And on a personal note, I fully approve of your ‘Grande Decaf Peppermint Mocha’ selection. (Insert smiley face here.).

    1. Dear Han! Merry Christmas! And thank you for your faithful following of this blog. As I learned from another source, it seems that today you ALSO enjoyed a Grande Decaf Peppermint Mocha. Such good taste, you have. 😉 I trust you embraced that choice and thoroughly enjoyed it.

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