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Last Updated on December 24, 2018

10 Simple Ways To Stop Overthinking

10 Simple Ways To Stop Overthinking

Analysis paralysis.

It’s when you do a whole lot of thinking … but you never take action.

Let’s look at New Year’s Eve resolutions as an example. Every year, millions of people say they’re going to make big changes in their lives. And yet only 12 percent of folks stick to their resolution.

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Why?

It’s not that they don’t want to change. But when you don’t set a plan in place for getting off your butt and taking the steps necessary to making your goal happen, then failure is often the result.

Here are 10 easy ways to stop overthinking and start doing.

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Set short time limits for decisions.

One of the easiest ways to stop overthinking is to give yourself “decision making deadlines.” It’s okay to take some time to think through tough decisions. But most decisions shouldn’t require a lot of your time. Here’s what I do: set a reminder on my phone when I need to make a decision quickly and am spending too much time thinking about it.

Become a person of action.

The first step is often the hardest. But it’s the most important. If you want to change something in your life, you need to take action now. It sounds simple but most of us just don’t do it. Want to lose weight? What have you done today to make that happen? Want to quit your job and work for yourself? What action have you taken today to achieve that goal? Take baby steps … starting this moment.

Let go.

One of the most important lessons to help you stop overthinking is this: you can’t control everything. There will always be circumstances beyond your control. So embrace your fears, and face them head-on. Don’t be afraid to stumble. Because you’ll learn valuable life lessons with each failure that will only serve to help you grow.

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Write down your action plan and track your progress every day.

This is by far the most effective strategy I’ve used to stop overthinking and become a man of action. It’s very simple too. Pick up a cheap daily planner (or find one online). At the beginning of each week, write down the things you want to accomplish that week. Then, every day record what actions you’re taking to get there. Every day one of the first things I do is list out the things I’m going to do to achieve my goals. And when I check those things off my list, I know I’m closer than I was the day before.

Burn some calories.

Exercise is an amazingly therapeutic way to free your mind of negative thoughts and help you keep a healthier body and a healthier mind. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore either. Find an activity you love to do, then start doing it every day … even if it’s for five minutes. Once exercise becomes a habit that’s part of your every day life, you’ll notice that you start to become a better decision maker (and you’ll look and feel better too).

Meditate.

Meditation is a scientifically backed method to help you relax and free your mind. Even taking a few minutes every day and focusing on just breathing slowly and deeply can have a profound impact on your life. It’s one of the best ways to help you put things into perspective and stop overthinking.

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Read something inspiring.

Sometimes too much reading can be counter-intuitive. But reading inspiring words (like you’ll find on Lifehack) can help you develop a more positive, motivated mindset. Don’t just read and do nothing though. The key is to take that positive energy and turn it into some type of action that gets you closer to where you want to be.

Do something spontaneous.

Spontaneity is a fantastic way to break you out of a funk and help clear your head. Many of us don’t think we have a lot of opportunities to be spontaneous because of work and family constraints. However, being spontaneous can be something as simple as trying a new food; going to a new class at the gym; or watching a new TV show. The point is, you want to place yourself out of your comfort zone so you can experience different ways of thinking … which can in turn prevent overthinking.

Talk to a mentor.

A lot of times when you’re stuck, an outsider’s opinion can help you overcome your tendency to overthink and overanalyze. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. Talk to someone you respect and tell them about your challenges. You’ll find that most people are happy to help, and appreciate the fact that you respect them enough to ask them for help.

Make a commitment.

Dr. Robert Cialdini says in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

    , “Once a stand is taken, there’s a natural tendency to behave in ways that are stubbornly consistent with the stand.” Commitment is a psychological principle that is one of the best ways to help you stop overthinking. It’s this simple: state out loud what you commit to doing, and frame it as something specific you will do. For example, “I commit to losing 10 pounds and getting in the best shape of my life.” Then go and tell everyone you know, which will keep you more motivated and accountable to taking action.

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    Scott Christ

    Scott Christ is a writer, entrepreneur, and founder of Pure Food Company.

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    Last Updated on June 19, 2019

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

    Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

    It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

    1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

    It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

    Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

    When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

    2. Trust the Muse

    Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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    When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

    “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

    The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

    If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

    The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

    Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

    3. Remember to Be Authentic

    Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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    How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

    For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

    One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

    Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

    Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

    4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

    I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

    One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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    Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

    A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

    Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

    5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

    It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

    We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

    If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

    You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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    6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

    As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

    The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

    Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

    Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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