How to Stop Overthinking and Start Doing

It is hard to take chances and put yourself out there. Sometimes, making the choice to move forward with a big decision can be debilitating, resulting in over-analysis, cold feet, and possibly ruining a great opportunity. While taking time to think is always a good thing, doing too much thinking can actually keep you from achieving your goals and following your dreams.

Making any decision without at least a mental pro and con list and some deep deliberation is often scary, but thinking too much can cause you to stand in your own way. These five steps can help you stop overthinking and start doing.

Be Aware of Your Limitations

When you’re facing a metaphorical crossroads, whether in your personal or professional life, it’s not uncommon to take time to think your decisions through. However, while a little bit of looking before you leap is completely normal, too much looking can lead to seeing things that aren’t there.

Instead of assuming that your analysis of a situation will always yield an absolute truth, acknowledge the fact that all the thinking in the world won’t necessarily lead to a better or more well-reasoned outcome. There’s no way to see the future, and trying to work through every potential situation or turn of events won’t provide real insights.

When thinking a situation through, be aware of your own limitations. Understand that in many ways, taking a chance requires analysis but also depends on your faith in yourself and your goals. By knowing that further thought doesn’t mean better results, you can better position yourself for good choices in the future.

Set Time Limits

If you’re the kind of person who will spend weeks working through a particular set of circumstances, you may be letting the world go by while you’re stuck deep in thought. In some cases, you might even lose out on opportunities by spending too much time thinking rather than doing.

There’s nothing wrong with taking time to properly assess a situation, but giving yourself unlimited time to think things over may put you in a holding pattern.. To avoid the consequences of overthinking, set time limits on how long you’re allowed to deliberate before a final decision is required. How long you give yourself may vary from one situation to another — you may not want to spend the same amount of time deliberating starting a new company versus making a large purchase, for example — but give yourself limits and stick to them. When your allotted time runs out, you need to make a choice with no further excuses, no matter your justification for continuing to waver.

Go With Your Gut

Instinct is a powerful thing, and ignoring it can easily send you down the wrong path. While once believed to be essentially a roll of the dice in the mind, scientific research now indicates that intuition is worth trusting.

Your intuition processes a vast amount of information — including social cues, visual information, and past experience — and processes it quickly. It can be scary to follow your intuition because it is hard to trust something you can’t describe.  However, studies show that your gut feeling often knows what to do before your rational brain has processed it, and have found that a person’s intuition gets better with practice.

Balancing instinct with knowledge is often the best way to get ahead. One survey of traders in the U.K. found that those with the highest incomes were most likely to blend intuition with experience and information — not those who relied solely on data.

Stay Positive

Anyone can focus on the negative, but you aren’t just anyone.  Choose to stay positive. While it’s important to understand the risks of any situation, dwelling too heavily on potential negatives can keep you from recognizing the many good things around you.

It is normal to be worried about the risk involved in starting your own business.  Don’t forget why you got started, and don’t forget to celebrate your small victories.  You are doing something you are passionate about, and that in itself is something to be excited about. And while every business has setbacks, seeing the big picture of where your dreams can take you can keep you going when times get tough.

Positive thinking can also have impacts on health, including a longer life expectancy, and it can have a beneficial effect on your mindset, too. When you remain positive about opportunities, you’re more likely to see success in them because you’re poised and ready to enjoy the spoils of your victories. Always stay alert for signs of challenges and shortcomings, but be careful not to let your negative overthinking dwell too long.

Stop Expecting Perfection

Life isn’t like it is in the movies. In reality, life is messy, sloppy, and comes with plenty of ups and downs. There’s no such thing as perfection. When starting your own business, it can be scary to roll out your plans unless it’s clear that everything is by the book with no potential for risks and only opportunities for rewards.

When thinking a decision through, it’s important to remember that perfection is a myth. It’s never going to be the perfect time to start a new career or launch a new business. It’s not worth procrastinating and dragging your feet because you think a better situation will eventually appear. Taking massive action is everything. You will have opportunities to fix problems as they arise and learn from your mistakes. Don’t expect to have everything figured out from day one.

No one would say that planning and thinking things through is a bad thing.  However, when it comes to being your own boss, you eventually need to stop overthinking and start doing.  Your dreams do you no good stuck in your head as dreams. In order to make your dreams a reality, you need to take the leap of faith and just start doing.

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