Have you ever asked yourself “what do I really want?” and come up completely blank?

Image of a A mature man in his 50's scratching his head while making a decision.You’ve probably been there at one time or another. It’s easy to get stuck when no obvious options stand out. Decision making becomes very hard and the choices before you may not be the best ones.

Not being clear about what you want, and failing to make decisions in a timely manner can have negative repercussions. If you have more time, you can develop more elegant solutions, but when time is short, you’re often limited to just a few options, none of which may be very enticing.

Keep these ideas in mind when you’re unsure of what you want:

1. Know your values. If you are in-tune with your values you’ll have a much easier time making decisions. It’s much more challenging to make a choice when you’re unclear and lack a stable view of yourself and what’s important to you.

2. Have goals. When you know exactly where you’re headed, most of the options can be eliminated quickly. Does a particular possibility bring you closer to reaching your goal? The more your decisions are based around your goals, the more likely you are to accomplish them. Keep your goals fresh in your mind.

3. Collect the information you require. Wise decisions require good information. Most of us either fail to gather enough information or we’re forever stuck on this step.

• Knowing yourself and your goals can dramatically reduce the amount of time needed to navigate your information-gathering efforts.

4. Examine your fear of failure. It’s common to shun actions that may result in failure. Ensure that you’re not basing your decisions too much on the likelihood of success.

• Avoid allowing a little uncertainty to prevent you from fully living your life.

5. Keep the long-term in mind. Many individuals are shortsighted. Prepare a foundation for your future. You may choose the easier option today with the intention of straightening things out down the road, however, it’s generally harder to change course once you’ve gained momentum.

6. Consider the risks. Managing risk isn’t just for investments. All decisions carry some element of risk. Consider what’s at stake before making a final decision.

7. Set a deadline. We’re all used to deadlines, whether they relate to a project at work or choosing a vacation destination. Give yourself a reasonable deadline and stick to it.

8. Choose. If you’re still stuck after applying all the other suggestions, just choose something. All the options are likely to produce a similar outcome. Pick one and begin taking action. Failing to choose is choosing to fail.

• No progress can be made without a clear and committed decision. Even flipping a coin is infinitely more effective than failing to decide. Be confident and make a decision!

When you fail to decide what you want, you’re ultimately stuck with the simplest option available. If you don’t decide your life, outside forces will decide it for you. Avoid putting yourself in this situation.

Suppose you need to find a new apartment to rent. With a 3-month deadline, you have far more options than you do with a 7-day deadline. If you wait too long to decide what you want, you lose flexibility and your options are greatly restricted.

Make your decisions intelligently and quickly. Your life will be more rewarding and less stressful.