fear of better options

How to Overcome Fear of Better Options for Indecisive Young Adults

Most of us today have heard of FOMO or Fear of Missing Out. It is that anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere. Today’s young adults are more achievement-oriented and with pressure from social media on making sure they don’t miss out, a bigger problem has emerged: Fear of Better Options (FOBO). Many young adults are overwhelmed by the amount of choices they are presented with, from decisions like where to go for dinner to career options. The more choices they are presented with, the more they feel stuck when it comes to making decisions. 

For bigger decisions, their anxiety around making the right choice combined with Fear of Better Options makes it harder to decide. This can affect people even when it comes to the smallest choices, such as what to have for lunch or what to wear. The fear of making a decision can also lead to blurred thinking, a lack of clarity, an increased dependence on others to choose for them, even lead to an overall lost sense of direction and control.

How FOBO Can Control Your Life

Anxiety associated with Fear of better options prevents you from feeling satisfied with whatever choice you did make. Even if the pros outweigh the cons. Even if you made a spreadsheet or a Venn diagram or any other visual representation to narrow down your choices. Even you phoned a friend and an audience member to hear their opinion. Even if you spent days researching alternatives and a few more days rehearsing how to announce your decisions. You will continue to hold onto “What if I made the wrong choice?” and “What if I did this instead?” 

According to Barry Schwartz, the author of “The Paradox of Choice,” While the abundance of choice is a result of incredible privilege-not everyone has the freedom to select where they work or love, or how to spend their time or money-it can still be overwhelming. I’m reasonably confident we’re operating with far, far, more options in most parts of our lives than we need and that serve us.”

The more you worry about “what if,” the less confident you feel about your decision and the less you are able to enjoy it. However; the less time you spend agonizing over decisions, the more you can appreciate their results. 

Ways to Overcome the Fear

We can acknowledge that we all feel a bit of fear around making the “wrong” choice. No one wants to fail or disappoint themselves or others. But once you acknowledge that fear, you can then take steps to overcome that fear.

Be realistic. There will always be other options, if not better options. Sometimes the better options you’re beating yourself up for missing out on weren’t options you were prepared to handle at the time you had to make the decision. What may have been a better option would have turned out worse if you weren’t ready to take advantage of it. And if you started associating the option as a concept to reconsider with the negative experience you had, you may rule it out as a future option altogether.  

Think ahead. When you are realistic about the options available to you, you have a clearer idea of how to set short-term goals that will help you get there. Setting short-term goals helps you see the bigger picture, but it also helps you decide if the option you’re leaning toward will set you up for future success or instant gratification.

Don’t expect yourself to make decisions alone. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make decisions for yourself, but don’t disregard other people’s input. Whether you choose to ask for help or listen to other people’s opinions, other people can help you figure out what options may be best for you. Find a support system that understands your goals and needs. These are the people who can help you take a step back and assess how to make a decision that will best benefit you. 

Forgive yourself if things don’t work out the way you planned. Focusing on unrealistic options creates unrealistically high expectations. If you find that you’ve spread yourself too thin, don’t feel like you are living up to your potential, or regret the decisions that you made, you are not the first person to feel that way. Each choice is a learning opportunity. When a decision does not go the way you hoped, instead of dwelling on the disappointment, learn what you can from the experience and then move forward knowing that you will have the chance to make a different choice next time. 

Keep backup plans. Admitting that something hasn’t worked out does not mean that you are hopeless. Being scared of other options presents you with the opportunity to carefully explore them and decide what may be “better” for you at the moment. There is no one path towards your goal, and sometimes you may need to choose another option. Flexibility can be a helpful tool to reaching success. 

One of the biggest challenges around making a decision is accepting the fact that change often comes along with a decision. That inability to embrace change can result in young adults feeling stuck. It may feel safer to stay in your comfort zone, but you cannot experience growth without change. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable is something you can practice with every decision you make. Be realistic about what the real risks or consequences of your decision might be. Chances are that many of these choices do not have an actual risk that matches your perceived feelings about that risk. 

Building self-confidence in a transitional living program

Young adults who constantly worry about making the “right” decision may also suffer from low self-esteem and lack of confidence. They may not believe that they have the skills needed to make the best choices for themselves. Young adults who have not been given opportunities to practice decision-making are especially susceptible to these feelings. Some young women may decide to attend a residential treatment program to work on the skills they need to become more confident in their abilities. They may also benefit from a therapeutic environment, working with a therapist who can help them identify underlying issues and create a treatment plan and path toward their future. 

At Journey Home Young Adult, treatment plans are customized to meet the needs and advance the goals of our residents to help them lead happier, more productive lives. With all of these services, we focus on our Five Core Principles to guide our whole-person approach to growth and development. These provide the foundation for the rest of the work while at Journey Home Young Adult. The Five Core Principles include specific skills and goals for each student to strive toward, with bi-weekly treatment team meetings to assess progress and provide feedback. Our relationship-based programming offers teens that are leaving treatment the chance to launch into young adulthood with confidence, community, and support.

Balance and independence are two of the biggest areas for growth at Journey Home Young Adult, both by design and named by our students. Young people come to our transitional living program hoping to gain the practical skills they need to lead a well-balanced, fulfilling and self-sufficient life. While all the goals of our students are unique to them, this one, in particular, looks different for every student. This is where our small size truly shines: every treatment plan is individualized to each young woman, ensuring that we help them chart their own course to a happy and successful future. This comprehensive approach provides the structure, support, and mentoring for teens to move on from Journey Home Young Adult as empowered young women, ready to successfully launch into their lives.

Journey Home Young Adult Can Help

Journey Home Young Adult is a transitional living program for young adults ages 18-23. This program addresses emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders that teens may face. Common presenting problems include depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, body image issues, ADHD and other learning issues, academic struggles, and low self-esteem. Journey Home creates an environment conducive to healing where teens can learn healthy coping skills while becoming more well-equipped to launch into adulthood. 

Our location in Salt Lake City, Utah offers an ideal setting for our transitional living program for young women. Salt Lake City is safe, easy to navigate, and has a welcoming and friendly vibe! This vibrant city offers a wide variety of educational opportunities: both undergraduate and graduate courses of study at multiple universities. With a large young professional scene, Salt Lake City also gives young adults the chance to broaden their social circles in fun and enriching ways. Students leave this program feeling empowered, happy, and healthy. 

For more information please call us at 801-444-0794.

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