Do you find yourself spending too much time pondering? I mean, really, this could be about anything, health, family, finances, relationships, career, and not having enough time to get all the things done. You might be an overthinker. Overthinking is common, especially when making decisions. “There is nothing in this world that can trouble you as much as your own thoughts.” – Unknown
Overthinkers have a hard time getting out of their heads and into their lives. Truth is, overthinking has a way of wasting time, lowering your confidence, and increasing stress. Did you know that most successful people make decisions quickly and stick with them? Whereas the less successful take too long to decide and quickly change their mind afterward.
You might think that you’re being responsible and cautious by taking your time to decide, but you’re shooting yourself in the foot. You can absolutely overthink, over-research, over-question, and over-plan your way out right out of a blessing. Think about Martha in the bible; she missed out on spending time with Jesus. Overthinking is a blessing blocker. Could it be that overthinking is actually masked fear? There’s no evidence to suggest that worrying excessively about a decision results in a better outcome.
Here are a few tips to help you get out of your head and into your life:
- List who doesn’t like a list. List the advantages and disadvantages. Write them down, and there’s no checking them twice this time. There’s something special about taking pen to paper when making decisions. By the time you’re done, you’ll have a better idea of the right direction to take.
- Invite your core values to the discussion. Values provide direction, help give meaning to life and life priorities, and influence decision-making. So, it makes perfect sense to include them in the process. Decisions are more quickly and easily made when you know your core values. Here’s the deal when you consider a choice, test it against your core values.
- Remember that you can always change your mind. There are few if any, decisions you must stick with until your funeral. Ok! Just knowing that you can change your mind later can give you the comfort needed to decide. It’s impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy anyway, so give yourself some grace.
- Avoid paralysis by analysis. Overanalyzing doesn’t lead to better results. It leads to frustration, inactivity, and confusion. I’m an Army girl who spent most of my career at Fort Campbell(Air Assault). I’ve always been super impressed by the Night Stalkers and the Green Berets. These soldiers were the Special Forces of the Post. I learned that they have a rule, you only need to be 70% certain to act. You might not be in the military, but the same general concept applies. Truth be told, the window of opportunity closes before the last 30% of the information can be gathered.
- Filter through short-term and long-term. I love this. Sometimes an option exists that satisfies both criteria. Cool. Ask yourself if you’ll be happy with your decision in 15 minutes and in 15 years. Any decision that meets both requirements is a great decision.
- Stay busy. Overthinkers often have too much free time on their hands. Busy people make decisions quickly because they don’t have the luxury of pondering over every decision. Be more active in general. You’ll find it easier to make decisions in a timely fashion. Exercise is one way to stay busy, clear your mind, and minimize stress. Listen, you don’t have the energy to overthink when your body is tired.
- Use your experience to your advantage. Can I just say this, if you’re anything like me, you’ve made plenty of poor choices over the years. Ain’t no shame in my game, but it would be a shame to allow those poor choices to go to waste. Consider whether you’ve been in a similar situation in the past. How might you gain some great insight?
- Use a timer to make decisions. Let’s be honest; most decisions don’t require weeks, or even days, to make. A couple of hours is more than sufficient most of the time. Use a timer and put some focus on the issue. Focus is the key. When you hear the alarm, it’s time to decide. A timer is an effective way to narrow your focus.
- A good decision now beats a great decision later. What are you waiting for? Success is more about making decent decisions and working hard than it is about making awesome decisions. Indecision is a toxic form of perfectionism just saying. Avoid overestimating the value of perfection and underestimating the value of activity.
Avoid overanalyzing every little decision. You’re limiting your results in life if you spend too much time making decisions, and you’re limiting God. You don’t make better decisions by overthinking them. You just waste time. Use that time to execute your decisions. You’ll be more successful.