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Decisions, decisions, decisions.

January 24, 2012

Our lives are filled with endless decision-making. Verizon or AT&T? Kindle or Nook? Movie or play? Thai or Italian? City or country? In preparing to move into my new apartment, I’ve had to choose from 20 hardwood floor stains, 53 shades of green paint alone, and dozens of pillow top or memory foam mattresses. And I haven’t even started looking at blinds, glasses, dishes, flatware, kitchen cabinets or knobs for the cabinets. I’m starting to wonder if having lots of choices is really better or is it just, well, too many?

While everyone has their own reason for the decisions they make – what to wear, what to eat, which way to get to work – sometimes it’s nice not to have to make any. On a recent trip to Trader Joe’s on West 72nd Street I walked in only to walk right out when I saw the checkout line snaking back 75 people deep.

“That line is nuts,” I said to another woman also leaving empty handed.

Nodding, she said, “I usually put up with the lines, because the store has limited choices and it makes it easier to decide what to buy.” That got me thinking. Do fewer choices mean more happiness? Maybe she was on to something.

I read an article by a man who had a hard time making decisions and spent one week making them all by flipping a coin. I tried it for a day, but instead used a Coin Flip app on my Android.

Breakfast – heads yogurt or tails hard-boiled egg. Coin Flip. Heads.
Outfit – heads black pants or tails khakis. Coin Flip. Tails.
Commute to work – heads express train or tails local. Coin Flip. Tails.
Lunch – heads soup or tails salad. Coin Flip. Heads.

By the end of the day I realized those little decisions I made by simply flipping a coin had not been that big a deal, but what’s more, I had saved my energy, which I can now use for more important decisions…like choosing kitchen knobs.


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  1. Very funny. BTW, I vote stainless steel on the kitchen knobs.

  2. I agree completely. We’re trying to decide paint colors for theaddition and it’s totally nuts. In my next life I want to be the person hired to think up the names for the colors….so far we have dellwood sand and temporal spirit; the bath is silver bells.

  3. Love this! I can really feel overwhelmed by too many choices…better to have limited options sometimes…

  4. funny funny but so true. i made a big decision today on a new reverse mortgage. my lawyer said dont do it but every month i will owe more and more. so i did and i feel good abt it. my big decision after buying the house was deciding on the wall paper for the dining room. after lugging huge books and books from the paint store, earl and i finally agreed on the color and pattern. that was in 1981. earl loved it till the day he died in 1995 and i look at it as if it was brand new. have fun decorating your new home, love, jeanne

  5. marcia boland-wells permalink

    Another great aticle & another one that reminds me of my Dad. Whenever there was a disagreement at our house my father would ALWAYS “flip a coin” Ask your Dad about it he will surely remember.

    I am sure you will pick out great stuff, when you find something you like, look no further, it will only confuse you. That’s the way I used to pick out wallpaper (now that’s dating myself)!

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