Do you ever find yourself overthinking some things and not taking action? That used to be me more than I wanted to admit. Whether we call it perfectionism or simply procrastination, overthinking stops us from achieving what we’re capable of. If you want a little less thinking and more action, do these six things:
Admit you have a problem
A friend of mine was bragging that he was a perfectionist and that he did better work because of it. He is in denial that he is talking about doing things more than he is doing them. It takes solid self-worth and self-esteem to say, “I have a problem overthinking things.”
Be empathetic with yourself
Admitting we have a problem doesn’t mean we have to criticize ourselves for it. It’s human to have a problem. The question isn’t, “Do I have a problem?” The question is, “Can I be gracious with myself as I solve it?” Self-criticism fosters perfectionism and overthinking—self-love and empathy gives you a safety net and promotes action and achievement.
Take action first, improve it later
The most “successful” people succeed because they jump into action right away. They don’t have it all figured out, not by a long shot. They get ahead because they’re not afraid to make mistakes or even fail—they’re afraid to not give it a shot. They take a shot and if it doesn’t work they ask, “How can I do this better?”
Alan’s “One-Percent Rule”
Starting today, commit to living by the one percent rule. If you want to write a book, get another job, improve a relationship, get healthier or be happier, ask yourself, “What is one small step I can take toward my goal?” Consider that to be one-percent of what’s required to achieve your goal—and act on it.
Keep overthinking, just take action along the way.
You might not be ready to give up all of your overthinking. That’s okay. You can still make things happen while you’re in the thinking and planning stage. My one-percent rule is, “Take action now and you’ll have better information than if you think and plan without taking action.”
The key is to identify and take that first small step–and you can do that long before you have all your ducks in a row. You don’t have to stop thinking and planning—just make sure you’re taking action at the same time. This way you won’t be trying to force yourself to stop overthinking–but taking action will help with that.
Celebrate, celebrate, then celebrate some more
I ask my clients all the time, “How are you going to celebrate that?” when they tell me about their progress or achievement. It takes them a while to get that thinking embedded into their subconscious mind but when they do, they find they’re thinking less and taking action more. Why is that?
We’ve been taught to delay our gratification so much we don’t know how to celebrate our achievements. Celebrate even the small things. When you reward the actions you take, those rewards encourage more action and you’ll find yourself doing more and thinking less.
The insights in this article are, in part, the opinion of the writer.