You’ve heard of Fear of Missing Out? 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.
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
- 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.
- Forgive yourself if things don’t work out the way you planned. Focusing on unrealistic options create 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.
- 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.
Journey Home Young Adult Can Help
Journey Home Young Adult is a transitional living program for teens 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. Students leave this program feeling empowered, happy, and healthy.
Contact us at 801-444-0794.