If you struggle with Analysis Paralysis, this is an article I'm going to need you to take straight to heart...
For those that don't know, Analysis Paralysis is "the inability to make a decision due to overthinking a problem" (Investopedia). It can be extremely debilitating and often stops any forward progress on the dreams/goals of those that struggle with it.
Trust me, I'm no stranger to Analysis Paralysis...
When I first got to college, I was in a chronic state of Analysis Paralysis for the first time in my life. All I did was what I could do mechanically as those tasks were set out for me- things like going to class, getting groceries, and cleaning my place. When I wasn't doing one of those things, you could probably find me on my couch with a bag of Salt & Vinegar Kettle Cooked Chips watching my latest binge-worthy series (I believe it was The 100 at the time...).
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with doing just what you have to. But this inability to put myself out there in my new environment greatly hindered what I was in Gainesville for- the college experience. Instead of talking to people in my classes, signing up for new things, and simply going out, I thoroughly isolated myself every chance I got and remained where I was in terms of my progress because I overthought everything.
I wish I could say I quickly got better and kicked my Analysis Paralysis out the door, but that'd be a lie. It's something I still struggle with today (almost 6 years later)!
However, the major difference between Kimberly circa 2017 & Kimberly circa 2023 is that today I know how to identify when Analysis Paralysis is hindering my progress and how best to honor it while still continuing down the path I want to travel- which is why we're here today: so you can push through your fears faster than I did.
Unfortunately, I can't gift you with a proven step-by-step process that'll work every time you experience fears that hinder your progress towards your goals because it's literally impossible- fear comes up in different ways. Therefore, the way we handle those fears has to flow with the changes.
However, I can give you the strategies I've consistently implemented when faced with a bout of fear over something I wish to pursue, which have helped me do the damn thing anyways:
Let me let you in on a little secret: The first step of acknowledging & overcoming any mental state is awareness. It may seem simple as you're just bringing something to your attention, but when it comes to ourselves, it's often hard for us to notice certain patterns.
Let's go back to my college freshman experience. During that time, I wasn't aware that what I was doing was getting caught in Analysis Paralysis- it just happened & was my life. Truthfully, I didn't mind it all that much! I was in the comfort bubble I created for myself, which was wayyyy easier than getting uncomfortable & putting myself out there.
Now, had I realized the isolating impacts this experience was going to have on my college experience and reminded myself of my goals, I may've been more inclined to put the chips down and get out there! This is exactly why awareness of what's going on in your head and the impact your actions have is critical to achieving your dreams.
I know- it seems counterintuitive to be introspective when you're already experiencing a mental overload, but trust me on this one. Being intentional about your introspection can be the key that sets your free from the mental cage your mind is locked in.
Now that you have an awareness of your habits/thought patterns, I want you to ask yourself a few quick questions to paint a clearer picture of what's happening for yourself:
Do I enjoy what I'm experiencing?
Is my experience something that brings me instant gratification, long-term gratification, or both?
Do my thoughts/actions align with the person I'm trying to become?
If not, what can I do to take strides towards my desired identity?
If you're not sure who your desired identity is or how to connect with yourself on this level, start here!
In Question 4, you built the roadmap to your desired identity. From there, it's time to take action! Don't worry- this doesn't mean you simply go from dormant to rockstar in an instant. It's all about taking baby steps!
To illustrate, I've been wanting to expand Kimberly Brooke Wellness into a new ~audio~ medium (more on that soon!), but have been terrified by the process of getting myself out there that way & all the decisions involved (hello Analysis Paralysis! 👋🏻).
I've dragged my feet on this dream for over six months until I finally listened to what I've learned about fear & overwhelm and wrote down what I need to do to get started. I brainstormed everything I could think of & put these action items on my ~never ending~ to-do list. Slowly but surely, I've been chipping away at it, which has brought me closer & closer to achieving this dream!
While I'm not there yet, which my perfectionist self is kicking me for, I'm much closer than before and, most importantly, am able to take action on this goal instead of allowing it to stay an elusive dream.
So, if you're ready to start taking action regardless of the fear & resistance coming to the surface, I first recommend a brain dump of alllll the little things you'll need to do to get there. From there, pick as many activities as you're comfortable with for the day (it's okay if it's just one!) and slowly but surely start bringing those dreams to reality ✨
The final piece I can offer you is acknowledging your feelings as you work towards your dreams. Just because you're taking baby steps doesn't mean that the mental brakes will never pop up. Honestly, they still pop up as I write these articles for you and I've been doing that for a year now!
When that happens, you have two options: acknowledge & move through or quit. Trust me, quitting & giving in to the temptation of retreating back into your comfort zone is always going to be the easiest, most comfortable option. But, as we've seen time & time again, quitters never prospers. So, though it's the harder option by far, I implore you to keep choosing to acknowledge & move through your feelings.
This can look like...
Taking a break & coming back to your work
Journaling through the emotions you're feeling
Adjusting your schedule/routine for the day
... All of the above
There are always going to be times filled with fear & overwhelm, especially when it comes to busting out of your comfort zone. However, I guarantee you that you're stronger than those negative feelings no matter how much time it takes for you to overcome them.
The ultimate goal is to keep believing in yourself- always. Once you're able to do that, you can do anything you set your mind to regardless of how fearful you are throughout the process ✨