Number of informed decisions we make per day revealed in new research

·Contributor, Yahoo Life UK
·4-min read
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Making decisions is something we do constantly - and new research has put a number to the amount of conscious choices we make on a daily basis. (Getty Images)

It can be difficult to make decisions - and there are lot of them for us to make on a daily basis as we go through life. From small choices we don't even realise we're making to more substantial ones such as what to eat and what to wear, we're constantly making selections in our brains.

But just how many decisions you think we make?

New research, commissioned by psychology-based app Noom, found that adults make an average of 122 informed choices every day – but that doesn’t mean the decision is final. A staggering 87% of those polled admitted to changing their mind.

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Of the 2,000 adults surveyed, numbers found that we spend an average of three hours a day deciding what to have to eat, what time to go to bed and what to wear and watch.

Deciding what to eat and what TV show or film to watch were found to be the most difficult decisions to make (both tied at 37%), followed closely by what to wear (29%) and whether to buy something new (27%).

We also change our minds twice per decision. Some 11% are even more indecisive and confessed to changing their mind five or more times.

Nearly 30% of people struggle to decide what to wear. (Getty Images)
Nearly 30% of people struggle to decide what to wear. (Getty Images)

“Decisions can be hard to make, and even once we’ve made them, sometimes they can be hard to follow through on,” said Andreas Michaelides, chief of psychology at Noom.

“It takes a variety of factors like motivation, support, and proximity to existing habits to help build new, unconscious habits. But once you’ve established something as an ordinary habit, it becomes much easier to maintain."

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When it comes to deciding who to ask for help, 44% look for people with similar past experiences, whist 41% respectively look for trustworthiness or wisdom to aid them, 30% turn to their parents and 24% rely on friends for support.

And when it comes to deciding who to ask for help, 44% look for people with similar past experiences, whist 41% respectively look for trustworthiness or wisdom.

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Nearly two-thirds of people (63%) admitted that some decisions are easier to stick to than others.

In comparison to major life decisions like buying a house, 24% of us confessed to spending more time deliberating smaller, everyday choices.

Internal and external factors such as feeling tired (35%) or stressed (34%) and the weather (32%) can all also play a huge role on our health and diet decisions.

And when it comes to exercise, a staggering 66% of people agreed that they struggle to decide whether or not to exercise that day.

A quarter of those surveyed admit they always or often make decisions they regret.

66% of people struggle to decide whether or not to exercise that day. (Getty Images)
66% of people struggle to decide whether or not to exercise that day. (Getty Images)

Choosing unhealthy food choices (31%), not exercising (26%) and not prioritising self-care (28%) topped the list.

And over 40% also admitted to being guilty of making impulsive decisions.

“Whilst it is not uncommon to regret some decisions – we found that nearly one in 10 Brits are not confident in the decisions they make,” Michaelides observed.

“Science has shown that regret and guilt can sometimes be unhelpful emotions, making us feel bad for our decisions and about ourselves, which can then lead to us making more regretful decisions – becoming a vicious cycle.”

Michaelides added the importance of letting go. “Learning how to let these feelings go so you can focus on the goals you want to achieve is critical to making lasting behaviour changes.”

Previous research into decision making

Noom's research looks at the informed choices we make on a daily basis and doesn't factor in the teeny tiny choices we make without even realising it. So, the 122 figure is considerably largely - in the thousands, previous research estimates - when you include our subconscious decisions. `

Various internet sources have deduced that overall we make an eye-popping 35,000 choices per day. Of this number, 227 choices daily are made on just food alone according to researchers at Cornell University (Wansink and Sobal, 2007).