Episode 389: How To Stop Overthinking And Boost Your Confidence

The question of how to stop overthinking is one that all perfectionists face. So in this episode, I’m sharing the real reasons we overthink and practical tips to help you stop doing it – even with the big decisions.

This is some of my best advice on how to stop overthinking, learned from years of my own struggles. By the end of the episode, you’ll know about why you seem to overthink everything, and how to stop it and boost your self-confidence.

Find the full episode transcript and show notes at samlaurabrown.com/episode389.

In This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • The real reasons you can’t stop overthinking
  • Why perfectionists overthink everything
  • Why creating more will help you to overthink less
  • How to stop overthinking a big decision
  • Practical tips to help you stop overthinking

Featured In The Episode:

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Hi, and welcome to another episode of The Perfectionism Project, a podcast full of perfectionism advice for entrepreneurs. My name is Sam Laura Brown, I help entrepreneurs release that perfectionism handbrake so they can get out of that way, and build a fulfilling and profitable business. I’m the founder of the Power Planning Course and Perfectionist Getting Shit Done, which is otherwise known as PGSD. And for even more perfectionism advice to help you with your business, you can follow me on Instagram @perfectionismproject.

Sam Laura Brown

Today I’m going to be sharing some of my advice on how to stop overthinking. If you’re a perfectionist, if you can relate to what I talk about on this podcast, there is a very good chance that overthinking is part of your life. And also there is a very, very good chance that overthinking is holding you back. It’s stopping you from reaching your potential. It’s stopping you from having connected relationships. It’s stopping you from making an impact. Now, that’s why I really want to do what I can to help you stop overthinking.

So let’s talk about overthinking. Why do we overthink? How much does it cost you notice how do we stop it? So when it comes to overthinking, as I’ve kind of mentioned, we tend not to discriminate we overthink things in the past the present the future, we overthink everything we can and it’s really expensive to do that. It’s really costly. And sometimes we don’t even notice how much it costs us because it can feel very responsible to be overthinking. But it really does cost us so much. So a few of those things. One is mental health and peace of mind. It really causes our peace of mind. When we are overthinking our mind is not a fun place to be.

We are often and I would say almost always overthinking negative things. We don’t overthink positive things and overthink thoughts that create positive emotion. We are often overthinking in a way that creates anxiety in a way that creates stress, and other feelings like that. And it really costs us peace of mind. It also costs us time. When we are overthinking, we are not acting. I want you to think about overthinking as being a form of indecision and procrastination, just dressed up differently.

So we’re overthinking we’re not taking action. Because if you haven’t decided what you’re going to do, and you’re trying to consider all the possibilities and get exactly the right answer. You’re not doing anything. And that’s costing you time in terms of the time that you’re spending thinking and you could be putting that mental energy into something else. There’s also the time that it’s costing you that you’re not taking action. So if you think about something you’ve been overthinking, maybe it’s a project or something you’ve been wanting to do.

And you’ve been overthinking maybe it’s a business, for example, a lot of us center everything with this, what should I call it today, what blogs or YouTube channels or podcasts and all these different options, we go into overthinking, it’s costing that time of if you had just started before you felt ready, and before you had all the answers, you could have had a very successful business by now. Or if you weren’t overthinking that book you want to write you probably could have already had it published by now. And you’d be on to the next one.

But instead, we’re overthinking because we’re trying to get it perfect from the get go so that we don’t make any mistakes, so that we’re not rejected so that we don’t have to feel shame. But it costs us time, it costs us momentum. Because when we’re not taking action, of course, we’re not creating momentum and forward movement. It also costs us growth, and we’re not taking action and putting ourselves out there. We aren’t able to grow and evolve, we’re not giving ourselves any obstacles and challenges to overcome.

I know that we really just often try to think things through I’m just thinking about, I’m still deciding, can feel so smart and responsible to do that. But it costs us growth. Because when we’re not putting ourselves out there and giving things a go, we’re not able to actually learn instead of trying to just think your way to the correct answer. I like to think of it as instead trying to act your way to the right answer. So this has changed my life. Even especially in my businesses where I can see the most when I was always trying to think think think to get to the right answer, quote, unquote, right answer.

I wasn’t getting anything done at all, because there was always something more to be thinking about in second guessing. But when I started taking action before I felt ready, and as soon as I had ideas, that’s when I was able to start creating such a big impact and helping people and also creating a successful business. So when I had the idea to start my YouTube channel, I started it that day, when I had the idea to start the podcast, I started it within 24 hours and that was after overthinking the podcast for a year and then it popped back up in my head of I should actually just start a podcast.

Everyone’s telling me my YouTube videos as I just watching or listening to them like their podcast episode. I was like, I should start a podcast. I’m gonna start right away. I was so glad that I took that leap. Also our group coaching program perfectionist getting shit done. I had the idea for that and I knew that that it was something that my people needed. And so I started creating it that day I announced it that day, hey, this is what I’m creating join the waitlist. I did not feel ready. I didn’t know exactly what it would look like.

But because I started then now, almost a year later, it has grown and evolved. And for our founding members, they know what it looked like when it started, and what it looks like today and how it’s wildly different. And that’s just within a year, I’m so excited to see where it goes in the years to come. But if I had been thinking about how to set it up, and what format to have everything in and how to work things, I probably still wouldn’t have started it yet. But instead of overthinking, I took that leap, which requires courage.

Because whenever we need to do something courageous, that means we feel scared, we feel the fear and we do it anyway. So to get out of overthinking, that’s part of it, we have to begin being courageous, and to not expect to feel ready all the time. And to not think of that as something that’s actually necessary. We can grow so much. And I know I certainly have by taking action at the first opportunity and figuring things out through action, rather than through thinking. Of course I do so prior to journaling, I do a lot of thinking. We all think all day every day.

But overthinking is when you think like you give undue mental energy to something that you could be putting into something else. It also costs us relationships and connection. A lot of us experience overthinking when it comes to relationships were either overthinking something we said or something that someone else said something that someone else did. And we’re not even overthinking the actual thing. We’re overthinking our interpretation of it and what it means and overthinking what we should do in response to that different thing.

Like, we spend a lot of time in our heads when it comes to relationships, because relationships, I think are one of the greatest teachers they bring up so much for us. It brings up that primitive fear of being out of the tribe. And so we’re always trying to stay connected and then trying to figure out how do we do that? And how do we honor ourselves at the same time and all these different things. But overthinking does not serve us when it comes to relationships. overthinking also costs us confidence.

We tend to not hear how someone who’s confident really spends a lot of time overthinking things. Overthinking does not create a sense of confidence because overthinking is second guessing it’s been indecisive. It’s the opposite of that. And we’re overthinking we are not feeling confident, and it does not create confidence. We might think, Oh, well, if I overthink something enough, then I’ll feel confident to act. But if you look at your past, and the things you’ve over thought, you probably never got to that place of confidence, because you’re in that habit of overthinking.

So once you’ve made a decision, you probably instantly began second guessing it. So overthinking is expensive. So why do we do it? There are quite a few reasons. The first is habit. If we are in a habit of overthinking, if our brain feels comfortable doing that, it’s going to continue doing it. So part of this is understanding it’s just habitual, our brain is just having the kind of thoughts that it knows to have, it always wants to be efficient. It wants to conserve energy and case, it needs to use that energy to keep you alive in case something happens.

So it wants to have the thoughts that are the easiest to think that you’ve already got those neural pathways established. And a lot of the things like when you’re overthinking, you probably have a lot of very similar thoughts, the same ones, and you just have those. Why did I say that? You have those thoughts again, and again, your brain has been efficient, it’s a mental habits, means your brains working properly good news, your brain is doing what it’s designed to do.

So we don’t want to beat ourselves up about that. It’s like, the bad habit doesn’t help to label habits as good or bad. But thinking that way doesn’t serve us. And so what we want to do instead is just, of course, have compassion with ourselves with our brain. Thank you so much for being a working brain. And then introduce other kinds of thoughts and do the work to create those new beliefs and make it more efficient with repetition for our brain to think those other kinds of thoughts we want to have.

One that’s been really helpful for me, is I’ll just do that now. I noticed myself laid something like really simple around the house, I might look at my desk and see a mug with cold tea in it. And often, that’d be something I’d leave like in the past. I’d leave that there like as an excuse to feel overwhelmed so that I could feel overwhelmed and not have to do anything and have all of these little unmade decisions in my life. So I always had an excuse not to be doing the scary things and not to be putting myself out there.

And it can sound kind of weird, like how does leaving a mug on your desk stop you from putting yourself out there. But it just those unmade decisions. Often we use that to give ourselves an opportunity to indulge in overwhelm, and pity. And those feelings are not feeling that create action and help us to put ourselves out there. But now what I have trained myself to do, and it’s so cool now, like I’ve trained myself enough to do this, that my brain just thinks that thought without me having to be intentional.

When I walk past that mug, or something that needs to be done. I think I’ll do that later. Then my brain goes, oh, I’ll just do that now. And I do it now. And it’s so cool to notice just how that was a thought that never entered my mind in the past. Or if I thought I’ll do that now that I went on. No, I weren’t actually I’ll do that later. But now I’ve just trained my brain. We all have trainable brains. That’s what we’re all doing here. train our brain to have the kind of thought we want to have. It’s so cool when it happens.

The other reason we overthink or one of the many reasons is, as I just mentioned, it’s a protection mechanism. It serves us in so many ways, and were wired to move towards pleasure and away from pain. And so for a lot of us, even though it’s painful, to overthink, it’s more painful not to overthink because of what not overthinking could mean for us. So when we’re overthinking, it means we don’t have to put ourselves out there. Because we haven’t made the decision yet.

We don’t know what we’re gonna do or when we’re overthinking a relationship means we don’t have to risk that rejection. Because we’re just thinking and determining what to do. It protects us from being vulnerable, feeling vulnerable from feeling exposed, and from potentially feeling shame. And the reason that perfectionist overthink, perfectionism is just a strategy for avoiding shame, and doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with us. That is how we’re wired. Like, why would we want to feel? Shame as Brene Brown defines it. Shame is a fear of disconnection.

And we are wired to be connected for survival. So of course, as humans, all humans, we don’t like feeling shame. It’s not fun to feel. There have been studies that have shown it’s physically painful to experience shame. And so really overthinking things is a way that we try to protect ourselves from shame with equal if I overthink this enough, I can make the perfect decision for overthink this enough, I can figure out exactly what to say to that person or how to respond so that you continue to love me and I’m not rejected. We just overthink.

Because we think that if we do, it’ll help us to avoid shame, which is more painful than the momentum, the peace of mind, the time is costing us, the growth. In our mind, we’ve got it that it’s more painful to feel that shame. So what we really need to do here is flip it. So it’s more painful to be wasting that time that growth, that connection, and to reframe it, so we can actually recognize it. Overthinking doesn’t actually help us to avoid shame because we’re not overthinking a lot of times we’re shaming ourselves during that whole process.

So it is not actually an effective strategy in avoiding shame. Perfectionists feel a lot of shame. Humans feel a lot of shame. We are wired to have that feeling. It’s in our emotional vocab to feel shame. So what we want to be working on instead of trying to avoid shame, though, we will of course still have that instinct is to get into the growth mindset where we don’t actually interpret things in a way that is shameful.

And we also want to be practicing developing shame, resilience, which is something Brene Brown talks about. If you’re in PGSD and get out of your own way. There is a lesson on how to develop shame resilient. It’s such an important thing to do. Because we are going to feel shame. There is no such thing as shame resistant. Shame is going to be part of our life. But overthinking is one of the ways that we try to avoid shame. It doesn’t work. That’s why I recommend stopping it. That’s why I do the work on myself to stop overthinking.

Another reason we overthink that’s related to that is it feels smart and responsible to overthink. A lot of us have grown up around other people who overthink. I’d say most people overthink, it’s kind of rare to find someone who just is decisive and takes action and doesn’t ruminate. So we have to get told that it’s it’s really smart and responsible actually, to overthink to second guess to make sure your i’s are dotted and your T’s are crossed.

But we don’t need to overthink in order to make sure that we actually are doing things in a way that is productive and helpful. And often it costs us so much as I’ve mentioned, to be overthinking that it’s actually irresponsible to overthink. So we need to mentally reframe, overthinking from thinking that’s responsible and smart, the smart thing to do to avoid being irresponsible to be overthinking because of how much it is costing us. And when it comes to perfectionism.

For a lot of us, it’s about protecting this identity that we have that we’re a smart, intelligent person. So if you have got overthinking connected with being smart and being intelligent, and that it’s a smart thing to do to really think everything through to the last last minute little detail, you’re going to really hold on to overthinking so you can keep thinking of yourself as smart. So what we want to do instead is remove that connection. And of course, we don’t even want to be valuing ourselves for our intelligence.

Because that puts us in a fixed mindset. We want to be someone who’s courageous, who’s a learner who’s willing to be a beginner who’s showing up who’s putting themselves out there. That’s what we want to value ourselves for. I’m not being smart, which is what we are taught to value ourselves for. If you are making that connection, that is really going to stop you from stopping overthinking. It also helps us to avoid feeling like life is too good. I talked about this a little bit when I went into and I’ve talked about different episodes at different times.

But when I talked about how you can be secretly addicted to chaos, because chaos, whether that’s running late all the time, like chaos can help us avoid life feeling too good, which feels vulnerable, and then we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It also keeps life feeling like it’s in our control. Because we’re used to overthinking and we’re used to struggling. For a lot of us, even though we’re trying so hard to get out of our struggles. It feels very vulnerable to think about a life where we are not struggling with anything.

Because of what that means about our relationships, will we be able to relate to anyone? And also like shit, if I had all my struggles sorted? What would I even be spending my time doing? Like, what would my day look like? It’s so comfortable for us to struggle. And so when we’re overthinking, it keeps us in that struggle, which we’re familiar with, and serves us in a lot of ways because of what it helps us to avoid. But it also just stops like it’s that upper limit kind of thing that might be going on where you might find yourself going into overthinking because life suddenly starts to feel too good to be true.

And your brains like holy shit, if life feels too good to be true, like something’s gonna go wrong, like someone’s gonna die in a car crash, someone’s gonna get sick, I’m gonna get sick, like your brain will freak out. It’s that upper limit problem that’s going on. And so we can overthink as a way to stop ourselves from encountering that upper limit problem. Like when we get there, and we’re pushing up against that upper limit we’ve created for ourselves.

We overthink we go into overwhelm and indecision. So life doesn’t actually feel too good. And it feels within our control and it doesn’t feel like anything’s going to go horribly wrong. So there’s a lot of reasons we overthink in the challenge. We’re going to be really diving into looking at all these different reasons, some other reasons as well and helping you to uncover why you actually overthink and how it’s showing up in your life and how to really stop it for you because it shows up in so many different ways.

And a lot of us overthink in similar ways. But we also do it in our own little ways that we have. And so it’s really going to help you make that connection of hey, this is why I actually overthink and understanding that because a lot of times we just cut right to the here’s my tips on stopping overthinking. And that doesn’t work unless you actually can have some compassion for yourself and recognize how much overthinking is serving you.

It’s just like with procrastination, all of those procrastination advices out that doesn’t work. Because we don’t actually have compassion and understand why we even procrastinate. It’s not because we’re lazy. I’m not gonna go into the whole procrastination thing. In this episode, though it’s definitely related to overthinking overthinking is a form of procrastination. We need to have compassion for ourselves to understand that’s how brainwashing, it’s doing its job to protect us from death, perceived death, perceived pain.

It’s protecting us from all of those things. But we have to understand that we can’t just cut right to the tips, though they’re definitely important. And we also have to do identity stuff as well, which I’m going to be mentioning. But if you think of yourself as an overthinker or as a procrastinator, doesn’t matter how many tips you have, you are not going to be able to stop it because you want to be right about who you are. So let’s talk about some tips to stop overthinking. Hopefully a few of these will help.

So the first is to be kind to yourself, and just be like, Oh, hey, like when you catch yourself overthinking instead of I’m overthinking, I can’t believe I’m over it. And then we like overthink that overthinking doesn’t help to do that. I want to be compassionate. And I know if you’re in the perfectionist mindset right now, compassion, not one of your forte. It’s not something you know, very compassionate with yourself, you might have a lot of compassion for others, but yourself? No. So we want to change that. And to change that we have to practice that.

So really being conscious of when you catch overthinking to be like oh, hey, I see you. It’s okay and recognize your brains doing his job. Thank you for doing its job. And then you can begin doing other things. But also just being aware of it and noticing it before trying to immediately change it. Because a lot of us once we get this awareness around, we’re overthinking and how much it’s costing us. And that actually isn’t helping us avoid all these different things we have to stop right now.

We put so much pressure on ourselves. We don’t give ourselves that compassion in that time to just observe ourselves and be like, Oh, this is really interesting. These are the things I tend to overthink the most. And these are the thoughts I have when I’m overthinking this is why stream of consciousness journaling. So powerful. I’m such a big believer in it. Because if you do that practice, you will start to notice what you overthink, and have that awareness around. And even if you do nothing to change it, it’s just having that awareness makes the biggest difference.

Because initially you will have awareness after the fact, then, with practice, you will be able to have awareness while you’re in it, which will empower you to be able to redirect your mind. And then eventually, with even more practice, you will be able to catch it ahead of time and avoid it completely. But we can’t just expect to jump to that end stage where we are able to anticipate it every time and to avoid it. We have to just have that compassion notice it after the fact. Hmm, that’s really interesting. I, you know, it took me eight hours to record a three minute YouTube video.

That’s interesting. I must have been overthinking that and being what, what was I thinking? I was thinking like, no one’s gonna watch this. I was thinking that this is going to be so embarrassed. And you can just notice how you are overthinking so the next time. Maybe you’re recording a YouTube video. You’re like, Okay, I know my brain is going to do that same thing like stop expecting your brain to not overthink just because you don’t want to overthink anymore, it’s still gonna go there. It’s that habitual pattern.

So expect that voice to come up of who’s going to like an overthinking. Oh, wait, maybe I should put my hair like this. Actually, maybe this lady is better, or what should the title be? And like trying to get everything just right. Like, eventually, when you have practice that self awareness after the fact when you’re doing the YouTube video, you can catch yourself and redirect your mind, then eventually, you won’t even have to deal with that at all.

Because before you go into your, okay, I know my brain is going to want to do these different things. And I’m just not going to let it overthink. And you can get to that place where like this is just going to be good enough. I’m just going to get it done. You can show up and he’d get it done it without overthinking so powerful to have that experience. And the more you do that, the more you’ll want to do that. So it creates this really positive snowball effect. But when you had to just oh, hey, I see you. This is interesting. This is fascinating as if like, you’re a scientist, and you’re your own subject.

There’s a subject there and you’re like, Oh, this is like look at all those thoughts going on in her mind and what must she be thinking and that’s so interesting like with this fascination, a scientist has not judgment that’s how you want to really be thinking about it. We have to be willing to feel uncomfortable as fuck vulnerable exposed. Overthinking is protecting us from feeling those feelings and our perception that if we stop overthinking will feel more of those feelings. And so you have to know that stopping overthinking while it’s very a positive thing to do. It’s going to feel negative because you’re going to be left with all of the emotions that you have been working so damn hard to avoid.

So you really have to practice as well feeling your feelings, letting it be okay that you feel uncomfortable instead of trying to change your circumstances. So you can feel better to just practice like getting comfortable being uncomfortable. I know it’s something that people say all the time. But it’s really about learning how to sit with and feel those negative emotions instead of reacting to them, because we can feel a lot of negative emotions. And then have thoughts that create empowering emotions and take action from those empowering emotions.

We don’t have to take action, from the negative emotions that we’re having, like fear. Fear is one of the biggest ones doubt, we don’t have to take action from that. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be there. So you have to be willing for those feelings to be there. Again, stopping overthinking is a positive thing. But it’s going to leave you with negative feelings that you have been avoiding.

And this is why I’m so excited. We’re doing the challenge. Because when those feelings come up, you won’t feel alone, you’ll have the support there to help you. Sign also can help if you are overthinking a decision, or really if you’re overthinking anything, give yourself a time limit. So, for example, if you’re overthinking something that you said to someone else and beating yourself up about it, because you’re probably not. Wow, that was a really amazing thing, too.

I’m just so good. Like, you’re probably not overthinking when it comes to that. You’re like, Why did I say that? I’m such an idiot, whatever it is, give yourself a time limit to do that. So okay, I’m just gonna let myself think all the things about it for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, don’t make it days and days. But just give yourself that chance to do it. And then decide that after that, you’re going to move on and redirect your brain.

So your brain also want to go there. But okay, we’ve thought about that already. We’ve thought about all the possibilities. Let’s think about this other thing instead. But when it comes to particularly overthinking a decision, should I start a business? Should I move city, should I whatever it is that you are overthinking and procrasti-researching about? What I want you to do is give yourself a time limit to decide what decision you’re going to make to make that decision.

And then when you do that, you want to make sure that you give yourself a period of time where you’re not going to allow yourself to second guess that decision to call that decision into question. Instead, you’re going to make that decision and follow through with it. So you might be overthinking a lot right now what’s gonna happen, and I don’t know what to do in this situation, let, uh, just make a decision, okay, I’m going to make the best decision I can with what I know now, which is this, and I’m going to stick to that decision.

Like, I’m not going to reconsider this, and make this decision again, for a week, a month, three months a year doesn’t matter. It’s whatever is relevant to that decision. But often we make decisions that we’ve been overthinking. Like, we finally get ourselves there. And then as soon as we make it, we go, oh, but actually should I should note, like, we go right back, because it feels so uncomfortable to make a decision because we love indulging in that overwhelm and that overthinking, so we just go back into it.

So we want to give ourselves that time period where we’re not going to reconsider it. And when our brain wants to, we’re just gonna say, Hey, we’ve actually decided we’re not going to consider this again until the 30th of June. So just put that aside, and you can trust future self has got this. So that’s something that I do quite a lot. It has really helped me to get myself out of overwhelm and overthinking when I have been indulging in that and second guessing.

Also, if you are creating. If you are trying to put yourself out there to create something, maybe it’s YouTube, Instagram, blog post, is a project for work. Maybe it’s an assignment, any kind of creation, I found it to be extremely effective to give myself a timeline, a deadline for how long it will take. And I don’t create these deadlines and get other people to hold me accountable to them. I’m really a believer in being your own accountability, buddy. And learning to have your own back. So it’s not about saying to someone else, hey, here’s my deadline, can you hold me accountable?

Because a lot of us did well at school because it was on us, giving us that external deadline. But in real life, you have to learn how to keep your own deadline. So I like to give myself a time limit for how long something can take. And to usually make it a bit shorter than I want it to be set up. If you’re like, hey, I have a 15 minute YouTube video I’m gonna create, I’m gonna give myself eight hours like, No, you want to give yourself 15 minutes or 30 minutes, max, you don’t want to give yourself a huge amount of time.

It’s that Parkinson’s Law, if you have a lot of time that you’re going to expand the task to fill the time available. So it’s part of the reason when I was doing my YouTube videos, which has kind of now turned into podcasts, but when I was doing that I did one every day because I couldn’t overthink when I was creating that amount of content. I could not overthink, I didn’t have the luxury of overthinking.

Because I didn’t have that time available. I had to record all of those efforts. Like there just was no time in that or overthink. And so I just got it done. And because I got it done and put myself out there, I got better and better and better. Instead of if I was just trying to perfect one video for weeks or months PS sidenote, if you’ve got an unpublished YouTube video, publish it anyway going on. But give yourself a time limit to create. Or what I like to do to stop myself from overthinking is to actually create a larger quantity of content.

I think I might have mentioned this in my recent episode on how to create consistent content if I didn’t, that was an oversight, because it’s a huge thing that helps me so part of the reason I do two podcast episodes a week is because it helps me to stop overthinking a knowing that if this episodes shit, there’s an episode coming in three or four days. So it’s going to quickly be old news. Like that’s been really helpful. And also, if I’m doing two episodes a week, I can’t spend a huge amount of time given everything else I need to do as well to run the business. I don’t have a huge amount of time, so I just have to get it done.

I can’t spend a whole day doing a podcast episode. It just doesn’t make any sense to do that. And back in the day when I was blogging and when I was trying to create more and stop overthinking myself because I was so in like, trust me, I have over thought as much as you have that I gave myself this basically 30 Day Challenge, okay, I’m gonna publish something on my blog every single day for 30 days. And I made myself do that and I didn’t have the time to overthink.

It’s also the same I found the best way for me to be consistent on Instagram is when I have that higher quota. I know it’s so counterintuitive why I’m not being consistent with seven post a day. So I should try and reduce it, oh not seven post a day, seven post a week. So maybe I should try and reduce it to three so I can be consistent but I’ve found actually really helps to create more. And then I’m like, Oh, well, A, this will be old news soon because something else is coming quickly after it and B, like, I just have to get this done right now.

I’ve also found it helpful to kind of do this as well when it comes to fitness. I haven’t mentioned this story probably for quite a while. But when I was doing Bikram yoga, I was really into Bikram for a couple of years. And when I was trying to get into it, I was trying to do three classes per week. And what would happen Monday, I’ll do it tomorrow, Tuesday, I’ll do it tomorrow, you know the drill until I guess a weekend. Oh it’s a weekend, Oh, I’ll just quit. It looks like that for quite a few attempts.

And then I went actually I’m gonna go six days a week, which is like the opposite of what I would think to do. But I just had this idea, I’m going to try and go six days a week. So when I changed to six days a week, it changed the question from, like, what day will I go till when will I go today. And I only had one day off. So I wanted to save that up. Like as a wildcard in case something came up during the week, and I couldn’t go so I made that commitment to myself, I’m gonna go six days a week for a month again, like I really liked testing things, actually.

And I think I did that for three months. Because I was like, It’s gonna take time to get into a groove with yoga, I’m gonna do that. And then I’m this I love that I’m telling this story. Because it’s like, where I’ve applied all of these different things, I decided, I’m going to do yoga six times a week, and it was a 20 minute drive that like it was a big commitment, Bikram is 90 minute class. You know it’s six times a week, I’m just gonna make it happen no matter what. I’m gonna do it for three months.

And I’m not gonna decide whether or not to continue with yoga until that three months is up. So that’s what I was talking about before, when you’re delaying the decision, instead of going after every class, should I keep going? Is it working? Am I getting fitter? Am I getting more flexible, I decided three months. And then at the end of the three months, I will judge whether or not I want to continue.

And of course, three months, going six times a week, I made a lot of progress, I finally got into that place where I wasn’t trying to think about what to do. And I could feel like the meditative benefits of doing yoga, and I absolutely loved it at that point. So it was a no brainer to keep going. But if in the second week, when I’m not feeling motivated, when everything’s fucking hard, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what the postures are like, of course, I’m gonna be like, Ah, I don’t even know if I should continue with this anyway.

So I recommend as well for creators, if you are starting a business or any kind of creative project, that you decide to commit to it for a minimum period, if you start a podcast maker, you’re gonna do 10 to 25 episodes before you judge whether or not to continue. Same with starting a YouTube channel. Because there are so many things out there, like blogs, Instagram accounts, things like that, that have three episodes, three posts. And if that’s you, you can always pick it back up. So don’t judge yourself for that.

But I love to have this minimum commitment thing I talked about this way back in one of my episodes on what to expect when you start a creative project. And probably also my episode on how to start. But I found one of the most effective ways to start something is to commit for a minimum time period of okay, I’m gonna give this a shot for three months, if it’s a business or something like that, I recommend six months minimum, because it takes a while to get into a groove and figure things out. I’m gonna give it six months, and I’m not going to allow myself to remake that decision. Until then.

So when my brains like, Oh, should I keep going? You go, Hey, we’ve already decided I’m going to make that decision on X date. And then you can redirect your brain effectively instead of going, Okay, let’s think about that now, because I haven’t actually decided what I’m going to do. So decide commit, and then give yourself in the future like actually decide on the date. Don’t leave it loose, or in the summer. No, we want to date, put that date in your calendar, set a reminder on your phone, that that’s the day that you’re allowed to reconsider.

And then just show up and give it your best shot in the interim. So that’s been incredibly helpful. I want to also mention identity work. But you want to stop thinking of yourself as an over thinker, or as someone who is indecisive, someone who second guesses himself because do you think of yourself that way? You will just keep being that way so you can be right about who you are. We always want to act in accordance with who we believe we are.

So we want to create the identity the self image that when we’re the kind of person who overthinks were decisive, we get shit done. And we’re okay if something isn’t perfect, like we want to be in that growth mindset but also just not be thinking of ourselves as an over thinker because if you keep thinking yourself as someone who overthinks you will keep being in that way, and you’ll just always have to manage your desire to overthink.

If you’re not an over thinker, there’s no desire there to actually manage. It’s like if someone’s a smoker, they’re always thinking, should I smoke? Or should I should I shouldn’t I? If you are not a smoker, you don’t have to even, there’s no chatter there. Like I’m not a smoker, my brains aren’t saying, Should I smoke today? Should I should I shouldn’t I? There’s no chatter if someone’s put a box of cigarettes right next to me, there’s no mental chatter.

Because I don’t identify as being the kind of person who would do that. So I don’t do that. Because of that identity. We can change our identity. So powerful to do that. I was actually just listening to a podcast episode, it was on the second life podcast, one of my favorites, definitely a great one to check out if you are working in Korea wanting to transition or make a career leap or start a business or losings. It’s one of my faves. So I was listening to I think it was Justina Blakeney, she is an interior designer does different things like that. But she just said in it.

And it really just struck me especially as stopping overthinking is so top of mind for me right now, given the challenge and creating the content, everything like that. She just said, I’m just not a ruminator. Like, she was just saying, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t ruminate. I’m not someone who overthinks I’m someone who just does it right away. And I know that the worst that can happen is they don’t like it. And then we change it. And I know, it was so great, what she was saying like she’s such an example of being in a growth mindset that whole time was like, yes, yes, yes.

Just the way she’s showed up in her life, but she was just saying, I’m not a ruminator. Like, I’m just not a ruminator. So she’s not having to manage all of these overthinking kind of thoughts. Because when they like if they came up, she’d be like, Oh, but I’m not the kind of person who would overthink that. So let’s just make a decision and move on. She doesn’t have to like grapple with it, because she’s just not the kind of person who ruminates who overthinks. And it was just so good her saying, you know, I just let well enough, be well enough, I put it out there.

And someone doesn’t like it, then we can go from there. But overthinking she was saying it doesn’t actually make people like things more like if she was working on a project for someone I think she was referring to when she web design and stuff like that. If she was overthinking it didn’t actually make it any more likely that someone was gonna like it. So why bother overthinking and she was so in this mindset of just getting shit done, that she said she’d have to delay sending things to people because otherwise it would look like it was just too quick, a turnaround.

So she would get it done that first day, and then send it to them a week later. So it was kind of in line with what they expected. Instead of just being like, Oh, hi, I just got this logo done in 10 minutes. So that was just so fascinating. I will link up that episode in the show notes if you’re wanting to listen to it such a great example of a growth mindset and being willing to make mistakes and put yourself out there and try things and not making it mean anything about yourself. So that was really helpful. So I’m not a ruminator that’s the identity you want to create.

That’s what we’re going to be doing in the stop overthinking challenge. So I hope this has helped to give you some ideas and perspective on what overthinking is why you do it, how to stop doing it and if you are overthinking something and it has been holding you back and you are sick of the fact that you know you have potential and yet you’re not getting anywhere close to it. You keep getting in your own way. I hope you are having a beautiful day. I will talk to you soon. Bye.


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Author: Sam Brown