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How to Deal With Hesitation and Overthinking

Updated on December 4, 2014

Too Much Thinking and Not Enough Action?

Do you feel like you hesitate a lot in your life? Do you like you think too much about things you want to do in your life without doing them? This hub is about why we hesitate and fall into inaction. It's also about why hesitation and inhibition isn't necessarily a bad thing and what you can do when you feel hesitant or inhibited.

Taking Action is Living

We need to pause and think on occasion in life. Sometimes we need to read up a little or weigh out our options. But we need to reach a decision sooner rather than later. We feel more alive when we're taking action, not thinking, reading, or philosophizing.

It doesn't matter if we don't end up making the best decisions. Life is more enjoyable if we just live and make mistakes along the way. No regrets. No hesitation. No fear. No worry. Don't put your life on hold.



We often forget the reasons why we refuse to take action. Maybe we're just tired and our body is telling us to take a break. Maybe we forgot that we hadn't slept the night. Maybe we have too many things running through our minds so we can never settle on any thought long enough to get it done. Have you figured out what's keeping you inhibited? If so, vote below.

Barriers to Action that Keep us Inhibited


What is Keeping You From Acting on Your Goals or Intentions?

See results

Step 1: Answer the Question "What Do You Have to Lose?"

What is keeping you hesitating? What are you afraid to lose? What benefit is there to thinking over taking action?

What do you have to lose if you take action?

If your answer is nothing, then what is causing your heavy-head or lack of motivation. Is it something someone said? Is it something that just happened? Did something discouraging happen? Maybe you have a good reason for feeling the way you do.

If not, then consider what you have to lose. You might lose money. You might lose time. You might lose physical and mental energy. Illness may have you feeling tired and heavy.

You may be indecisive. You may have too many ideas in your head or none at all. You may feel overwhelmed with too much too think about. Or lack a sense of what it is that you really want and what it is that will make you happy.

You might be afraid of failing. Why would you be afraid of failing? Because you're afraid that it will break your self-esteem. Or failing will make you feel less capable. Or you're afraid that it will prove something bad that you thought all along.

You might feel anxious or worry. You worry what people will think of you. You worry that you're wasting your time. You might imagine all kinds of negative scenarios when you think of what will happen when you take the steps to achieve your goal.

You might lack confidence in yourself or believe that you just can't do it. You believe that you're not good enough, skilled enough, or capable enough. You might think there's nothing special about you that will allow you to succeed.

Step 2: Overcome Hopelessness and Lack of Motivation

Hopelessness and lack of motivation are huge barriers to action and progress

What's most important is to first overcome any feelings of lack of lack of motivation or hopelessness. How do you do that? Finding some sort of hope or alternatives to your life. "But that's impossible," you say. Yes, it is, or at least it seems so. That's why you're struggling with lack of motivation or feelings of hopelessness. Do anything and everything you can to find more options. Explore your world, read, google search, do whatever you can till that dead weight lifts off of you. If there's something you can try that you don't want to do, don't feel like doing, or think has a slim chance of helping, do it anyway. It's better than doing nothing.

Step 3: Consider Solutions to Your Barriers

Do you fear failure? If so, go back and ask yourself again, "What do I have to lose?" Failure is part of the process of learning. Once you've failed, you will know how not to do things and it will give you insight on how to do things. Sometimes, making the wrong move is better than making no move at all. So if you feel disabled by thinking too much, or doing too little, just do something and pat yourself on the back for doing it, even if you fail.

Do you lack confidence or believe that you will be unsuccessful? Well, there are ways around that. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can't do. Also, realize that a huge part of success isn't about what you're capable of but about how you do it. Figuring out how to go about things the right way can make all the difference.

Indecisive, unfocused, overwhelmed, or feeling like you have too much going on? You might need to set some time aside. Don't try to do too many things at once or think about too many things at once. You might need to take a break from everything that you're doing for a few hours to help you brainstorm. Or you might want to read a self-help book on the topic. The more you try to handle at once, the more overwhelmed and stressed you will feel.

Don't know what you want or what will make you happy? Again, you may need to take a break from thinking about everything else in your life for a few hours. Or, you might want to work through a self-help book for the purpose of self-exploration.

Lacking ideas or don't know how to do what you want to do? Then it's time to get out. Read, try new things, or simply set aside some time for brainstorming. Or talk to people who are doing something similar to what you want to do. Keep exploring.

Worried about time or money? Worried about what people will think of you? Ask yourself how much you have to lose, then ask yourself how much you have to gain. Compare your answer to the two questions. Ask yourself if it's simply negative thinking that's holding you back.

If you're feeling tired, worn out, or suffer from an illness, be easy on yourself. Don't be hard on yourself and don't feel guilty about not achieving your goals! If you try to do things when you're not ready for it, you may find that everything is difficult if not impossible. Nonetheless, when you're taking a break from life, spend your time brainstorming or experiencing and learning new things. You may be surprised what solutions you'll come up with.

Poll: What Gets You Motivated?

What helps you get up and moving when you're in a funk?

See results

Step 4: Deal with Lack of Ideas, Burnout, and Obstacles

As you make more progress toward doing what you want to do or at least thinking about what you want to do, you may inevitably deal with failures, mistakes, burnout, and lack of ideas.

If you feel like you're burnt out, you need to step back and take a break or the your feelings will get worse. Give yourself an allotted amount of time to stop doing what you're doing and stop thinking about it. After your break, gradually ease yourself back into doing it. Take one step at a time. This will be easier than jumping back in at full force.

If you lack ideas or feel like you're reached a barrier to your goal, you once again need to take a step back. Stop doing what you're doing. Try doing something different or heading in another direction. Or take some time off from your project. Or read more, learn more, or see something new. Eventually the solution will come to you.

Failure and mistakes will keep coming at you. Don't let them stop you. They are simply a sign to you that you need to be trying something different or that you are doing something wrong. Just know that they are part of the process.

Winners Do Quit! - Know When to Quit

Sometimes it is good to quit! If we didn't quit things, we'd may find ourselves overwhelmed with tasks we have to do because we refuse to quit any of them. Or we may find ourselves focusing on doing something that is getting us nowhere because we refuse to quit. Here is some further reading if you're trying to figure out when it's wise to quit and when it's wise to keep going.

It's Okay To Make Mistakes! - Sometimes it's better to take action and make mistakes than to take no action at all.

Even failure and mistakes can be good for you.
Even failure and mistakes can be good for you. | Source

Books to Push You Past Negative Barriers

Check out these books if you're dealing with anxiety or worry, a lack of sense of self, a lack of self esteem, negative thinking, or lack of emotional expression or emotional awareness, lack of confidence, or stress, pain, or illness. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, below, is a great book for dealing with inhibitions related to anxiety and fear.

Books on self-esteem, such as the one below, can help you deal with depression and low self confidence.

Books on self-esteem, such as the one below, can help you deal with depression and low self confidence.

Man's Search for Meaning and Purpose

"....Frankl...believes that man's deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. Frankl's logotherapy, therefore, is much more compatible with Western religions than Freudian psychotherapy." - review

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