3 Keys to Being More Determined

We all spend the day making decisions. Whether they're simple or complex, important or banal, this process can be overwhelming. What are the keys to being more determined?
3 Keys to Being More Determined
Sergio De Dios González

Written and verified by the psychologist Sergio De Dios González.

Last update: 28 July, 2022

It’s true that some people like to make decisions based on doubt. For some reason, they feel submerged in great anxiety that keeps them from thinking clearly. But this isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. The keys to being more determined are related to tactics to neutralize the ever-so-common tendency to doubt and overthink.

Now, it’s completely healthy to weigh up different options, especially when you have to solve an issue with important implications. However, there comes a point where you may cross the limit. All of a sudden, you’re unable to make a healthy assessment of things and, instead, you end up ruminating nonstop.

In some people, the constant doubt is more noticeable. Many times, this exercise of thinking things over and over again before acting leads to inactivity. In the blink of an eye, you realize that life itself made the decision for you. You best believe that the consequences of this aren’t pleasant. Is it possible to get out of this terrible vicious cycle? What are the keys to being more determined? Keep reading to find out!

1. Avoid basing your decisions on the end result

The first key to being more determined is related to a change of focus. It’s quite common for an individual to focus on the possible end results when evaluating the options they have available. This way, they completely forget to think about the process to get to that result.

Thus, the problem is poorly stated. First of all, because the person’s judgment is basically wrong. In other words, they can’t anticipate their own reality, no matter how much they’d like to. It’s important to understand that the consequences of your actions are subjected to many more factors than your own will.

Therefore, in order to be more determined, the first thing you need to do is admit is that you can’t be 100 percent in control of any situation. Each choice is a gamble, not a certainty. That being said, the most important thing is to focus on the evidence you have now and accept the uncertainty.

A woman thinking.

2. Limit your options, one of the keys to being more determined

Another good strategy to help you be more determined is to limit your options. It’s convenient to delimit some parameters when making a decision. If you don’t set any limits, a continuous and overwhelming brainstorm of ideas and emotions may take place and, undoubtedly, this can paralyze you.

Firstly, limiting your options means setting a deadline on them. If you leave the conclusion of the process open, you may end up postponing it forever, until reality decides for you. Take a look at this simple example. You don’t know whether you should buy a blue jacket or a green one. One day, you head to the store and see that the green one is no longer available, so you go for the blue one. This is why setting time limits is essential.

Secondly, bear in mind that the decision-making process is mainly a process of discarding options. Thus, it isn’t about adding more and more options but about discarding them. If you find that one of the alternatives is weak, don’t give it more thought. Simply rule it out.

A man whose goal is being more determined thinking about his decisions.

3. Detach yourself from the situation

In these cases, one of the most paralyzing factors is the high emotional burden that accompanies the decision-making process. Many times, without noticing it, we allow fear or excitement to take over. Therefore, if you don’t think you can remain objective to make a decision, it may not be the best time to do so.

Obviously, decisions don’t only involve cognitive aspects but also emotional ones. Being more determined isn’t about waiting until you don’t experience any feelings (you’d basically be left waiting forever). Instead, you should learn to manage very intense emotional states when resolving a problem. If you don’t, you may see the situation in a blurred and distorted way.

That being said, the most appropriate thing is to enter a state of relaxation before facing the issue. A good technique is to pretend that someone else is asking you for advice regarding that event. Write it down in a letter, address it to yourself, and respond to it.

Finally, it’s important to set aside the idea that there’s a perfect decision. In fact, what often perpetuates doubt is the search for an alternative in which everyone wins. But that’s very unlikely, as there are wins and losses in every single decision. Every decision implies a resignation, to a greater or lesser extent. Thus, in order to make your decision-making process more optimal, you must accept that uncertainty will always be a part of it.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Braidot, N. (2012). Sácale partido a tu cerebro: todo lo que necesitas saber para mejorar tu memoria, tomar decisiones y aprovechar todo tu potencial. Ediciones Granica.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.