Ep. 25: Clearing Out Decision Clutter

Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | RSS

In case nobody ever told you: life is about making choices. 

The ability to choose is an incredible power that we humans have, but it takes some serious skill to be able to use it wisely. 

Research shows that the average person makes roughly 35,000 remotely conscious choices per day. Assuming that most people spend around seven hours a day sleeping, and therefore choice-free (depending on the type of dreamer you are), that means we make about 2,000 decisions per hour…or one decision every two seconds.

Decisions free up our energy; they make us live a more conscious life.

But here’s the thing: as your level of responsibility in life increases, so does the range of choices you’re faced with. 

Each choice carries certain consequences – both good and bad. All these decisions wear us out and zap our energy, leading to decision fatigue. 

Much in the same way that consumer debt (or clutter from all the things we don’t let go of) can leave us feeling spent, we often feel tired, stressed, and anxious when we have a bunch of decisions looming over us.

We form this ongoing to-do list in the back of our minds of stuff we need to “clean up” but are trying to ignore (like the pile of clothes on the floor or that stack of college books we think we’ll read again).

But when you make a decision in your life, it moves you forward. Saying “I’m going to do this thing,” or even “I’m not going to do this thing,” moves you in a new direction either way.

What happens when we don’t make decisions, when we put them off and procrastinate?

When you’re living in this state of “I’m going to think about it” or “I don’t know” or “Not yet” or “Maybe” or “I’m confused”, you have an unfinished decision hanging in the back of your mind, sneakily draining your energy and robbing you of forward momentum.

When we make a decision, we can then harness our energy and focus it on the actions we need to take in order to create the result of that decision.

Making a move, changing jobs, leaving a toxic relationship.

But when we think about making all those decisions, we are afraid we’ll screw up.

We choose instead to stay uncomfortable in the way we are because at least we know what it IS – no risk; maybe it’s shitty, but at least we know what kind of shitty.

Here’s the hard medicine, though: not making the decision because you’re afraid it’s the wrong one is like failing ahead of time.

When you don’t make the decision, you don’t have to risk being uncomfortable.

Instead, you perpetuate a kind of holding pattern: the idea that you’re doing something by waiting to decide, when really all you’re doing is procrastinating.

So, I want you to think about what your own decision clutter is costing you. 

You need to ask yourself: 

:: What do I want to use my brain energy FOR? 

:: If I have a limited amount of energy, what do I want to spend it on?

:: What is the decision I am making, and why am I making it? 

You have to make a decision in order to find out what you want. Because the suffering comes when we question our decisions, and when we don’t know what we want.

So many of us aren’t deciding to live the biggest version of our lives because we’re putting ourselves on hold with our own indecision. Today, I challenge you: decide to want what is, or decide to change. 

Either way, remember this: you are able to have an amazing life. You can be happy. Whatever decision you make is the right decision for that moment

When you really believe that, then which choices will you make? 

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Why I am a big proponent of making decisions ahead of time
  • What happens when we don’t make decisions, when we put them off and procrastinate
  • Why most people spend their lives on autopilot – living by letting life happen to them, instead of intentionally deciding what they want and going after it
  • What “re-deciding” is and why it can help you create the life you want, or take more ownership of the one you have
  • Why our internalized belief systems about making the ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ decisions keep us stuck in fear rather than seeking what will really serve us
  • An exercise on how to pinpoint how much brain energy is being taken up by waffling back and forth between your decisions
  • Why, if you have a hard time making decisions, you probably also have a lot of clutter somewhere – because getting rid of clutter means you need to make decisions about what to keep, and what to let go of


// Click here to check out a Rebel Buddhist podcast on how to make decisions

// If you’re new here, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.