Feeling overwhelmed with options? You're not alone!

Last week I came up against a road block that every now and then swoops in, and throws me off my game - indecision.

The cause?

Too many options.

Back in 2000, psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper published a remarkable study that explained this phenomenon. They set up two displays for a brand of jam - one with 6 flavors, and another with 24 jam varieties. While the table with 24 jam flavors got much more attention at first, customers were 1/10 less likely to buy, and reported being less satisfied with their jam than those who only had 6 flavors to choose from. Not the results marketing experts were expecting…

Turns out that having too many options can be just as bad as not having enough. When stuck between a rock and a hard place, a third possibility is a great thing. But when deciding between an infinite number of selections, having so many options often leads to you, the customer, feeling overwhelmed and giving up. Or they do buy X, and then are less satisfied because they think they would have been happier with Y. This applies to just about any product. How many hours have you spent doing research or amazon reviews before making a big purchase online? How often do try and read food or product labels, and feel so confused, you kinda give up?  I know I’ve spent way too many hours deciding between certain products and checking the Environmental Working Group's site to make sense of those labels. Between my personal preferences and desire to support companies that benefit people and the planet, it’s way too easy for me to get lost in a rabbit hole in the name of “getting the best/most sustainable ___.”

That’s why the most recent addition to my site, has been some recommended products and reading. For help narrowing down your options for certain essentials to healthy living, like clean water and food, check out the recommended products. Or if you want a good book to read, I’ve listed ones that have taught me the most in my recommended reading page. Hope you find them helpful.

So next time option overwhelm strikes you, take a deep breath and relax - you’re not the only one! Then, think about your specific intention. For example, when deciding on a water filter, I wanted something that could hold at least 2 gallons of water, so I didn’t have to refill it multiple times a day, and didn’t require a new filter every few months to reduce my waste. Knowing what I did and didn’t want meant that the instant I saw it at a friend’s house, I recognized, “hey, this is exactly the size I wanted.” I trusted this friend’s judgement, and after a little bit of research I was sold! It felt so easy to vet one item, instead of choosing one from the plethora of possibilities.

If you don’t know or have a specific intention, trust your gut, and choose what resonates with you most. If neither of those work, ask someone you trust their suggestions to point you in the right direction. Whatever you do, DO IT! Don’t keep freaking out and thinking, “aaaahhhhhhhh! I can’t decide.” Relax, settle into your body and ask yourself, “what do I really want?”

In fact, we can test this out right now, with this blog. What do you really want to read about next week, or in a future blog post? Do you have questions you’ve always wanted to ask a Life Coach, but never have? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love & Integrity,