Analysis Paralysis When Redefining After 50Oct 18, 2021
Analysis paralysis. That state of mind when we have to think and re-think every possibility in a decision. "If I do this versus that, then what are ALL of the things that might happen?"
We spend way too much time considering all of the possibilities.
We fear making the wrong decision and eventually become "paralyzed" and end up taking no action.
How many of us are guilty of this at various stages of our lives? I'm going to guess every one of us.
And, I'm seeing many of the women in my community experiencing this as they are looking to redefine after 50. As they are considering things they'd like to do as they move forward.
"DANGER" OF ANALYSIS PARALYSIS WHEN CONSIDERING CHANGES AFTER 50
LET'S START WITH THE PHYSICAL
Yes! There are actual physical effects that occur as a result of analysis paralysis. Vicki Botnick, a counselor in California, talks about how overthinking increases anxiety which, in turn, can lead to things like stomach problems, high blood pressure, and panic attacks. This is unsafe at any age, but becomes more of an issue as we age.
AND THEN THE EMOTIONAL
Overthinking, as mentioned above, increases anxiety. You start to "what if" yourself to death as you consider all of the possibilities. And, typically when we "what if" ourselves it's not as we consider positive outcomes. Quite the opposite. We conjure up every possible catastrophe we can! Most of which don't have a chance of happening.
This increases our anxiety even further. It becomes a vicious and never ending cycle.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE PRACTICAL
And that is time. We aren't 30 years old anymore. And although statistically we have a good chance of living a lot more years, we are at a point in our lives where we need to do it now! Whatever "it" might represent for you!
We are not too old to do anything that we set our minds to. What we ARE too old to do is to wake up day after day reacting to whatever the day throws at us. We are too old to end each day wondering where the day went and not having spent part of it doing something that brings us joy and passion.
ANALYSIS PARALYSIS CAN DISGUISE ITSELF
In the form of "researching" and "planning."
Both of these are necessary as we are considering what we want to do after 50. However, there can come a point where both of these necessary steps can make us feel very busy and as if we are making progress towards our goal. And, in reality, they have become a form of procrastination.
This is where we need to stop looking at every possible detail, consider the big picture, and take some sort of action.
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME ANALYSIS PARALYSIS
TRUST OUR GUT AND GO FOR IT
As I look back on my life, most of the major decisions that I made, I trusted my gut and did it. The consequences for not doing it in all cases were greater than any possible consequences that would happen by doing it. This applied to decisions from dropping out of college as a freshman student to get married and have my baby to house buying decisions to my decision to begin writing.
Most of my decisions ended beautifully. Some didn't end as well. But, they all got me here to where I am today.
As I considered various decisions, the fear of not doing the thing outweighed the fear of doing it. In the case of starting to write and make the first move away from my current career that I love towards a new career helping the women in my community, the fear of not living a life that was fulfilled far outweighed my fear of change.
MAKE A BUCKET LIST, PICK SOMETHING FROM IT AND DO IT
Seems cliche. But, what a bucket list does is it provides you with a list of action items. Things that you can actually do. Now. And taking action is a huge antidote to analysis paralysis.
Find a quiet place, set a timer for at least 30 minutes and write down every single thing that comes into your mind as you consider a bucket list. Big, small, and everything in between. Anything and everything - trips you'd like to take both near and far, trying new restaurants, activities you'd like to try, groups you'd like to join - write it all down.
Then, pick something that you can do right away, put it on your calendar and DO IT! Take an action.
BE COMFORTABLE WITH UNCERTAINTY
No real growth happens without some level of anxiety. Fear of change is universal.
As you move forward and take action, ask yourself, "What's the best that can happen?" Visualize it. And go for it.
Counseling should be a consideration if:
- You find yourself unable to take any action step, no matter how small
- Your overthinking or worrying is preventing you from doing something that makes you really excited and happy to think about
These scenarios are impacting your quality of life as you move forward after 50.
And we don't have time for that! None of us do, regardless of our age!