Have you ever been stuck in a rut? You know you need to decide, yet you continue to remain in a state of inaction. This is known as analysis paralysis. It is a situation where a group or person is unable to move forward because of overthinking and over-analysis.
So, you ask, do I just go with my gut?
No. There are ways to work with this and move forward.
Here are 7 steps to take if you ever feel paralyzed.
Understand that this is temporary and take deep breaths. Studies have shown that deep breathing can change our emotional states. So, if you were in a highly tense, emotional state, take a few deep breaths and allow yourself to detach from the situation and to look at it from all angles.
2Set aside time to evaluate your emotions
There are many types of emotions and it is important to consider how you’re feeling when making important decisions.
Disruptive emotions such as anger, jealousy, envy, and so on will cloud your judgment and will hamper your decision-making process. If you are angry, you may make decisions subconsciously based on your ability to hurt.
If you are jealous, you may make decisions to spite others. Even though you might be gratified in the short term, if the decision you made was not thought out based on your needs, it will lead to dissatisfaction and resentment in the long run.
Even positive emotions such as love and friendship may lead you to make decisions that don’t serve your best interest. A friend of mine decided to choose her main course in college just because her best friend was taking the same course without ever analyzing or considering her needs and desires.
Decisions like this will not lead to long-term satisfaction and happiness.
3Make sure to know the alternatives
At some points in life, we all feel as if there is only one door open to us. But there is an alternative to every situation in life. Make sure to research and understand that if plan A does not work there will be a plan B. This will reduce your anxiety and help you move forward with more confidence as you realize that there is a safety net.
Remember that there are big and small decisions involved in every major choice you make in life. Decide between the small choices first and see if those point you in a direction for making the big decisions. If not, realize that making small decisions, such as which dress to wear and what to eat, somehow help you to develop your personality. This, in turn, will make it easier for you to make the big decisions.
For example, you are torn between making a career change and remaining in the same company. Look back on your life and examine how you make small decisions in your day-to-day. Do you choose to exercise and eat healthy 6 days a week?
If you do, it shows you are disciplined, and whichever path you choose you know you have what it takes to be successful. Do you value commitment in your relationships? Do you make time for your loved ones? Do you sleep on time?
These are extremely small decisions, yet they comprise your habits and choices that make you who you are. So, if you choose wisely even with the small things in life, it also means you have more confidence when it comes to doing the big things. You know you are dependable and will go the extra mile to achieve your goals.
5Understand your triggers of inaction
So, you have researched, and you know just about everything that you need to know on the subject, but you just cannot act. If this happens, go into a quiet room and take a notepad with you. Sit down and think about why you cannot take that first step.
Write it down. Maybe you feel you cannot finish the task, or you feel you may be judged by your peers or your parents. Maybe you have a fear of missing out that you cannot decide between two or three options.
Next, list the worst thing that could happen next to each fear and what good came out of it. For example, you could not finish the task:
Worst thing: You feel unreliable, others may make fun at you, or in more severe cases you could lose money or not make enough to live.
Good thing: You learned and grew. Now you know how to deal with setbacks the next time something happens again. You have new experiences to share and learn from.
Evaluate the two sides. Do you think the risk is worth taking or does it ask too much of you? Now that you have a realistic idea it will help you make a better choice and make sure you know what you are getting into.
Maybe you want to try your hand at an unconventional way to earn money. Knowing the worst part would probably mean poverty and bankruptcy will help you make an informed decision. It would also make sure you have money stored aside for emergencies and would make you set aside a time limit, say 3 years to make your idea work.
6Have healthy conversations with those involved
Make sure you have a support system. That can be your friends, your family, or your significant other. Have a proper communication system in place and be sure to keep them in touch with what you are working on.
7Understand that it is your decision
Realize that after all, it is your decision, and therefore it is your responsibility to accept the consequences. Weigh the risks and decide if you want to move forward or not.
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8Author: Nirmal Sneha
Nirmal Sneha is a freelance writer and an aspiring med student who writes about tech, business, and self-development.