How to stop overthinking things

A couple weeks ago we talked about why you probably like to overthink things and not make decisions. But how rude would it be to just leave you hanging without any information about how to actually stop overthinking? RUDE.

We’re going to give you three quick (but not easy) steps to help you stop overthinking and get unstuck:

  1. Get curious about your thoughts

  2. Commit to your goal

  3. Trust yourself

In case you don’t want to go back and read our previous post, here’s a quick review: Your brain hates making decisions. Because it’s like a well-meaning but overprotective mama. And also, it thinks there’s such a thing as a “wrong” and “right” decision so it tries to predict the future.

And while it’s trying to predict the future? It tells you to stay where you are. It says you need MORE INFORMATION before you can make a decision. This is why you end up overthinking things.

YOUR BRAIN LIKES TO KEEP YOU STUCK

A lot of times, it's easier for your brain to say, "Hey, you know what? Let's just stay right where we are because this place right here, even if it's uncomfortable, is nice and safe, and you're not going to die."

But you think you want a change. Because there’s a big, exciting goal out there and you want to achieve it. But your brain is like WE NEEDS US SOME MORE INFORMATION.

  • So you read some self-help books. But you still need more information.

  • Then you listen to podcasts. But you need more information.

  • Maybe you attend some free webinars, watch YouTube videos, read blog posts (like this one!), and take classes. But you still don’t think you know enough to move forward.

And then you wake up in a few years and you’re going to the same old job and living in the same old house and dreaming the same old dreams and your goal is still sitting there, covered in dust and NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

And yes, you’re nice and safe and you didn’t die but also NOTHING HAS CHANGED.

Which, if you’re cool with that, we’re cool with that. In which case, you might want to stop reading.

But if you’re ready for ch-ch-changes, let’s keep going.

step one: get curious

All right, so step one in getting unstuck is to get curious about your thinking. You’re going to get all up in there, like Rachel Lynde in Anne of Green Gables (I get that this is a very specific cultural reference but it’s one of my favorite books and I’m watching the 80s movie with my girls so sorry, not sorry).

At this point, it’s important to withhold judgment (not very Rachel Lynde-like). This is important. And it will probably be hard at first. Because if you get all Judge Judy on your thoughts it can lead to feeling like you’re failing at something. And that can shut this whole thing down.

You’re not trying to change anything. You’re just noticing your thoughts.

When you think about making a decision or taking action, what does your brain come up with?

This will give you lots of information about what’s happening behind the curtain and what’s keeping you stuck.

Then you can start really diving into those thoughts and asking questions like:

  • Is this thought helpful?

  • Is this thought moving me forward?

  • Is this thought keeping me stuck?

step two: commit to your goal

You have to understand that you only grow and change if you’re actually making decisions. You have to understand that getting confused, saying, "I don't know," spinning out into this overthinking just keeps us where you are.

Confidence comes last. If you wait until you feel confident, you’re going to wait foreverrrrr.

Commitment comes first. You have to start out by being really committed to your end goal. Figure out where it is that you want to be, and then really drum up that commitment.

This is where you start choosing new thoughts. Like maybe: "I will do what it takes.” “Failing is a normal part of the process and I won’t let it stop me.” or “My goal is tired of waiting for me.”

Once you have that commitment, then you can start taking steps toward your goal.

It’s going to be scary. You’re going to feel like the poop emoji, but with less smiling. So you have to have courage and do it anyway. Which takes us to our last step.


step three: trust yourself

You’re going to be okay. You will make adjustments. You’ve done hard things in the past and here you are. Trust yourself to handle failure. You are a badass.

I really love this metaphor of standing outside a movie theater in that hall where the all the movies are. There's this movie you really want to see. And you've got your popcorn. You've got your tickets. You're ready to go.

But you're standing out in the hallway, afraid to go in, because you don't know where you're going to sit.

It might sound silly. But let’s be real real here - Are you doing this in your life?

Because this is exactly what our brains do. They tell us, "We don't know what's going to happen. You're going to walk in there. It could be dark. You might sit in a wrong spot. Some really tall guy might sit right in front of you. You won't be able to see the movie, and you're going to miss out. You're going to be really miserable."

Meanwhile, you're standing out in the hallway not seeing the movie, missing out, and feeling miserable.

We have to trust that it's okay to walk through that door, find a seat, and sit down.

And if some really tall guy sits right in front of you and you can't see the movie, you just move over a few seats. You'll be okay.

go get em tiger

All right, so we talked about what's keeping you stuck. Your brain is just trying to protect you, but you can make some hacks.

You can make some changes here to move you forward so that you're not stuck in analysis paralysis.

You can be the person who’s out there, moving toward your goals, making adjustments, and accomplishing all kinds of stuff.

No more being stuck. No more analysis paralysis. It's time for growth. It's time for change. It's time to achieve new things.

And no, reading this blog is not enough. Go take some action dammit. And call us if you need help. You’ve got this.