Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

Don't Overthink It: Make Easier Decisions, Stop Second-Guessing, and Bring More Joy to Your Life

by Anne Bogel

Ever had trouble making a decision and ended up getting stressed out over it? This book is a guide for people who tend to overthink and complicate things. It will help you identify the root causes of why you overthink and can offer strategies to overcome it. .

By amending the way you think, you can fundamentally change the way you experience life itself. 

Summary Notes

Building the foundation for your success

“When we assume we can’t, it’s guaranteed we won’t.”

Overthinking often affects one’s confidence and decisiveness. Having a positive thought process is crucial as it impacts your overall mental state. If you have a healthy and positive thought process you will be able to make decisions more confidently in a shorter amount of time. You will also be able to make decisions that are in line with your values to spur you on even more in an ongoing positive cycle.

You will also learn how to manage your time and tasks as when left untreated, they will hinder your progress. This will allow you to make better and more informed decisions.

Work The Process

“Perfection isn’t possible, but change totally is.”

It is your thoughts that portray the way you behave. Changing your thoughts will be the first step to stop overthinking. Although it is not easy and it takes time, extracting yourself from this thought cycle is a crucial one. 

If you can stop reinforcing these negative thought cycles, they will gradually weaken and create the opportunity for you to replace your thought cycles with more positive ones.

Actions to take

Watch what you’re doing

“Certainty is missing the point entirely.”

When you overthink, you will succumb to analysis paralysis. Although its effects can last  for a long time, the good news is that analysis paralysis can be easily spotted and nipped in the bud. 

The most likely reasons for analysis paralysis are intellectual curiosity, perfectionism and information overload. However, there are ways to realize if you suffer from analysis paralysis. For example, if you tend to procrastinate making decisions in hopes that a better option arrives, you likely suffer from analysis paralysis. 

To put it in more broad terms, the signs of analysis paralysis are seeking more information when you already have a sufficient amount, repeatedly reviewing the same information, being afraid of making the wrong decisions and second-guessing a decision that you have already made.

There is no perfect solution to a problem. If you keep looking for one, your overthinking will manifest as doubt, worry and stagnation. In reality, there is more than one good solution to a problem.

Actions to take

Decide What Matters

“Whatever awaits them on the other end must be really worth it.”

You are already making multiple decisions every day. However, sometimes, our decisions lead to regret. The main reason for these feelings of regret are often not because of the outcomes of our decisions. In fact, we feel this way when we actually knew what the correct decision was, but we ended up choosing a different one.

Some regretful decisions come at the expense of our time and money. However, when we base our decisions on our values, we rarely make a decision that we end up regretting. This will also speed up our decision-making process and save a ton of mental energy. After all, we now know where to focus our time and energy.

Even if your decision does not have the best outcome or if it costs you a bit of money, at least you will be at peace with yourself. When we do not act in line with our values, we feel unsettled. Plus, simply making a decision means that you’ve managed to get the ball rolling - a much better option than being stuck in the same place!

Actions to take

Take Time To Make Time

“Routine makes everything in your life better and this is absolutely the most overlooked and underestimated form of self-care.” -Sarah Bessey.

We are faced with a multitude of decisions each and every day. We are also faced with making many of the same decisions every day, such as what we should eat and which clothes we should wear. 

We can make our life easier by preparing for these situations in advance. This mainly involves developing a standardized routine that we can follow automatically, so that we don’t have to waste time making the same decisions on our daily repetitive decisions. A standardized routine accounts for all that occurs on a regular basis such as waking up in the morning, eating breakfast, taking a shower, etc.

Not only will this save you a lot of time, it will also allow you to focus on other, more important decisions. Following a routine helps conserve mental energy and enables you to maintain a clear headspace.

Actions to take

Speed Up To Move On

“Do something, do good if you can; but at any rate, something.”

Making decisions based on your values is a crucial step in stopping the negative cycle of overthinking. Now, you may be thinking, “How do I do that and what exactly are my values anyway?” 

When you make decisions based on your values, you won’t always get the outcome you expected. However, identifying your values is truly the first step in making quick and effective decisions. After all, you don’t want to remain stuck at the same place for ages! For example: if you have moral values and are helping others and you are hired by a MNC who are only profiting from you, you would choose a different company.

Plus, even if you make the wrong decision, at least you have a chance to learn from it. It’s important to push yourself and keep making decisions faster so that you don’t stay at the same place. Give yourself the chance to achieve your goals by taking action.

Actions to take

Tend Your Garden

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”- William Shakespeare

Your mind is like a garden. You need to tend and nourish it carefully for it to flourish. It’s therefore important to cultivate a positive mindset and methods which you can use to overcome your negative thought cycles. 

Cultivating more positive thoughts will allow you to be more positive overall. There are certain thought processes which you can apply to overcome your negative thoughts, so that they do not get in the way of your daily activities.

Actions to take

Get Someone Else To Do It

“We think that we have to learn how to give, but we forget about accepting things, which can be much harder than giving.”- Alexander McCall Smith

In some situations, we might need external help. This help can come from our families or friends. We might be hesitant to ask for help as most people shoulder all their burdens by themselves. 

However, it is okay to delegate some of your tasks to others who are willing to help you. You don’t have to do everything yourself - in fact, some members of your team may be better at certain tasks than you! It is also good to identify the sort of tasks that need to be, or can be, delegated. Ultimately, you will still gain some benefits even from delegated tasks.

Actions to take

When Things Go Sideways

“Why not seize the pleasure at once? How often is happiness destroyed by preparation, foolish preparation!” - Jane Austen

At times it is hard to always be optimistic about things, especially when you’re in a bad situation. However, in every situation, there is always a silver lining. Look for it, as it will keep you hopeful and help you get through any situation. 

Remember that in every situation, there will always be something to learn. Maybe you formed a new bond with someone, or learned from your mistakes and figured out an alternative strategy that is also more efficient. 

When you focus on the brighter side of things, you fill your brain with more positivity. You then allow yourself to experience more happiness, no matter how stressful your situation. Keeping a positive mind is thus extremely important for happiness to shine through even on the cloudiest of days.

Actions to take

Rituals to Rely On

“..A ritual was a way to hold time—not freezing it, rather the opposite, warming it through the touch of your imagination.”- Erica Bauermeiste

To gain further mental strength and headspace in your life, take your daily routines and convert them into rituals. The difference between a routine and a ritual is your attitude behind the action, which then influences the outcomes. 

Routines are actions that just need to be done, and then, you’ll automatically feel better. Routines and Rituals differ between individuals - for example, someone might consider cleaning the house to be a chore i.e., a routine. However, someone else may see it as a therapeutic activity, i.e., a ritual. 

A good rule of thumb to identify your routines and rituals is to assess how you feel after completing the task. Do you feel a sense of achievement and satisfaction? If so, it’s more of a ritual. Do you feel annoyed and tired? If so, it’s more of a routine. Convert your routines to rituals if you can - the sense of achievement after completing them will give you an energy boost for the day.

Actions to take

Let’s Spurge

“I change myself, I change the world.” - Gloria Anzaldúa

In life, it is easy to get distracted from your goals and general work. However, there is only a limited amount of time in one day. More often than not, people tend to neglect themselves in order to achieve what they want, as they feel like they are running out of time. 

There is no actual need to compromise on your happiness to achieve success. In fact, you can be happy while doing the things that you want to do! You should never neglect yourself as it will lead to long-lasting, potentially permanent, side effects and it will keep you from feeling happiness. Self-care is much more important than you think!

Actions to take

Don’t just read. Act.
Read comprehensive summaries and discover carefully compiled action lists for active learning