There was a time in my life when I had this heavy feeling of regret every night before going to bed because I didn’t even start the things that I wanted to be done.
I mean, I’m thinking about getting it done, all the damn time. Yet, I’m far from the actual execution!
That’s a recurring problem if you ask me!
Overthinking mixed with procrastination is very lethal. It used to get the best of me and there was nothing I could do to overcome it. The next morning I could feel my (incomplete) to-do list that is staring right back at me.
Ughhhh, the guilt of “Not starting and getting things done while others are crushing their goals” used to consume me.
And that guilt often builds up to haunt you the next day. Making it more difficult to start.
Most of the time, the “thing” that needs to be done isn’t that hard, it’s just the brain that overestimates that, “there are sooooo many things to handle”.
And as a result, people tend to freeze and find something else to do. Like watching Netflix instead.
Tell me something,
Have you ever had a light-bulb moment about starting something out of sheer motivation? A new business idea, a workout plan, a diet plan, or something else?
I have them almost everyday..
But the more I thought about actually pursuing the idea, my brain begins to talk me out of it by saying stuff like,
- “I think it is way more challenging than I thought”
- “This business already have too much competition”
- “I currently don’t have that much time to commit to this”
- “I don’t have the right resources to start”
- And eventually, “Is this even worth it?”
Here’s the thing about overthinking, putting too much thought even in the smallest of your decisions will result in second-guessing yourself. Every single time.
And eventually, your idea will be what it was before…JUST an idea!
Analysis paralysis is real y’all!
Overthinking is of a self-imposed roadblock, that we like to slap on everything that makes us uncomfortable. It might not be that tough of a situation than what our brain often makes it.
Most of the things that we’re trying to avoid aren’t even that difficult, it is just difficult to start, no one wants to get up from their comfortable couch to grind their head with, say, taxes.
Even on the stuff that we have already started, it’s hard to find the motivation to continue. Even if you somehow find the motivation to do it today, it is exhausted by tomorrow. What needs to be done at that point?
The reason why we can’t bring ourselves to start something?
Our brain is a master predictor, it can predict if doing something will make you uncomfortable or tired or both at the same time before even doing it.
One of the primary jobs of the brain is to keep you safe and keep you away from things that might potentially make you uncomfortable, something that’ll drag you out of your comfort.
So when it comes to starting anything which is not in your area of expertise and comfort zone, your brain will come up with a bunch of reasons (that might seem reasonable at that time) why you should NOT move forward with this and stay right where you are.
And this might trigger a wave of dismissing thoughts around the idea if you try to do otherwise.
And the more you indulge in this type of thinking, the more complicated the situation gets and you eventually give up to the irrelevant list of cons your mind just made up.
For example, I thought of starting a YouTube channel a few years back (like every college kid does), but I didn’t because I gave myself some BS reasons why I wouldn’t make it, like:
- I don’t have a good camera to record on
- I don’t have a decent editing gear
- There’s too much competition already
- That I would make a fool of myself and so on…
Thinking about it now, I feel like I gave that idea too much thought and those excuses were my brain’s way of talking me out of it because producing videos might be a potential threat to my comfort.
Because it is obvious that building a YouTube channel from the ground up is no joke, you need to put an ample amount of effort and time to make that happen.
And of course, that is quite uncomfortable.
What do you need to do to overcome this?
Whether you’re on the fence, deciding whether to start/pursue something or not or have already started but you get stuck every time motivation runs out, there are quite a few things you can implement that are practical and easy to follow.
If you want to start something:
Starting right now, after you’re done with this article, go and write (in bold) the thing you want to start on a paper, iPad, laptop, anywhere.
Below that, list out all the things you need to do in order to accomplish it. Now write down all the steps that needed to be done in a checklist manner (with an empty box after each step).
Do you see what you’ve created? That right there is a practical roadmap to how you’re going to smash your goal.
Start by #1 (Right this moment, don’t wait for tomorrow, this won’t give your brain time to overthink) on the list and one by one, knock the rest like dominos.
If you’ve already started but failing to continue:
First and foremost, you need to forgive yourself for not continuing/doing what you should have. “I know I should’ve been going to the gym, and I didn’t do it and that’s completely chill, that OKAY, that’s completely fine!”
Guilt will only take you down, so drop down the useless weight of guilt and move on already. Now make a list of thing (small and big) that needs to be done in a proper checklist.
Make the checklist as neat and clean and legit and real as possible because this implies that you’re serious this time. (checklists does wonders when it comes to completing an enormous task)
Now shut your brain, and just smash this checklist.
From now on, every time you have a conflicting thought about whether to get things done or to do something else, stop weighing your option and just start with the work within 5 seconds, or your brain will talk you out of it.
The Right Time to Start Was Yesterday!
You missed the best opportunity you could’ve gotten, but as I said, that completely fine and don’t let that shake your confidence because the next best thing happens to be TODAY!
So, karate-chop your guilt, make the best of today and don’t give any time to your brain to come up with yet another set of excuses. Just start it.
Because there is one thing I can tell you for sure, The regret of “Not starting at all” is more painful than being in the middle of exhausting (yet meaningful) work.