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The Art Of Trimming Your Choices

Options are good, but not when there’s too many of them. Learn how to narrow your choices to a manageable degree.
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No matter what you're looking for--a cell phone plan or just dessert--the possibilities are endless. "Weighing the pros and cons of each alternative takes a lot of energy," says Barry Schwartz, PhD, author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. "The fear of deciding on the wrong thing can be paralyzing." Here, steps for making it easier:

Lower your standards. "People who spend lots of time searching for the best option often don't stay satisfied for long," says Schwartz. "They worry that they missed out on something even better." If you stop looking once you find something that's acceptable, "it makes choosing much more manageable," explains Schwartz.

Simplify things.
Having to decide between several fabulous options--like which sunny spot to take a vacation--can be especially difficult because they all seem really cool. "Do some research and note the benefits of each alternative," says Schwartz. "If they all look equally great, there's no point in torturing yourself. Essentially, they're all the right decision."

Pick with enthusiasm. Once you make a decision, be excited about it! "A positive attitude usually translates into satisfaction with your choice," says Schwartz. "If doubts do creep in, just remind yourself that few decisions are permanent. You can always try something different next time."