Success happens one decision at a time.
Stop the cycle and overcome analysis paralysis. Choose and move forward.
Rob and I took six months – 182 days – to choose our first new couch. (“Chesterfield” if you’re in Canada.) We analyzed everything about each couch we saw. We went back to stores to look at the same couch many more than a few times, I’m embarrassed to say.
In the end, our choice was good. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good… enough. The downside? We missed out on having a new couch for more months than was necessary. We bought our second new couch, a loveseat, in an afternoon.
Most times the decisions you need to make aren’t the last nail in your coffin. If you find yourself going ’round and ’round (and ’round again) … STOP! You’ve got analysis paralysis.
Perfect isn’t necessary. (Except in brain surgery, I guess. <grin>)
Go for good and move on.
Make the decision!
If you’re finding it hard to move out of the cycle of analysis paralysis, here are 10 thoughts to spark some movement.
Overcome Analysis Paralysis
10 things to remind yourself for an antidote to analysis paralysis:
- Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not the mistake that impedes long-term progress, rather, it’s not moving past a mistake that’s the real killer of dreams. If you make a mistake, you can pick yourself up and keep on going. Read this on getting back up again.
- You know the outcome you want. If your decision sends you off-course, you’ll know. And you’ll be able to make a different decision to get yourself back on-course.
- You can eliminate the bad options for a shorter list. Make a list. Cross off the options that probably won’t work – be brutal. With a shorter list, it’ll be easier to decide. Studies have shown that consumers make a decision much more quickly when given fewer options.
- Is what you believe… true? Are you trying to make a decision based on emotion or fact? Our emotions can lead us in circles. Include a trusted advisor in your process to help you identify the truth. (And to point out where your emotions are leading you astray.)
- You can add an accountability partner or process to make the decision easier. Read more here on 8 ways to hold yourself accountable.
- Opinions don’t need to impact your self-worth. You’ve read the Eleanor Roosevelt quote, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”, haven’t you? It’s true. I once responded to a criticism of a decision by saying, “Fortunately, my sense of self-worth isn’t dependent on your opinion.” (I’m not usually so candid – I shocked myself.) However, this statement improved our relationship so much that this person is now just a little bit friendly when we meet. Astonishing.
- Deadlines are your friend. Set a deadline to make your decision. Keep it.
- Fear is your enemy. -> False Evidence Appearing Real -> Fear lies to you. See #4.
- You can pray about this. So often we forget to pray about these decisions… Release your concerns to the God who created everything, and knows everything. He cares about even the tiny stuff. (Perhaps because it’s all tiny to Him?)
- All big things are done in small steps. If the decision seems too big, then chunk it down. Choose the right size decision for this point in time. Go with it.
I imagine this will not be the last decision you make in life. You’ll feel empowered when you finally decide.
Deciding feels good. You can DO this!
“The way to do a great deal is to keep on doing a little.
The way to do nothing at all is to be continually resolving that you will do everything.”
~ Charles H. Spurgeon
The truth in this quote pokes at a tender spot.
In one area.
Just a little – over time – makes a huge difference.
How about you?
In what one area have you moved past “deciding to do” and are actually doing?
A field of daffodils.
If you were to search for “field of daffodils” you’d quickly find at least two instances where women planted bulbs, a few at a time, till there were acres covered in more than a million blooms. Visitors marvel at the sight of these magnificent gardens in East Texas and California.
Doing a little to do a great deal.
What little thing will you do… today, tomorrow, the next day, and the 365 days after that… which will add up to a great deal?
What you will do matters… all you need is to do it.
Why is this a 5-minute Friday Positive Prompt? Because you now have the weekend to give this concept a little thought. Leave a comment once you’ve begun your “little” – I’d love to encourage you to keep on going till it’s a great deal!
PS – The lady who inspired me to begin this PositiveThanksLiving site has been posting positive items on her Facebook page for more than two years. She inspired me a great deal! (And as the 53rd prompt here since the end of March, it’s just a little, but hopefully, it’ll become a great deal.)
What you’re doing today will have an impact on tomorrow… Be wise with your minutes and hours…
Light tomorrow with today.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning quote
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer of poetry and prose, born in England in 1806 and died at 51 in Italy. For most of her life, she struggled with severe health issues, and yet she challenged slavery and child labor laws, learned Hebrew to read the Bible, and became one of the most popular writers of her time period. She disobeyed her father and was disinherited when she married her love, Robert Browning, who was also a writer. You’ve probably heard/read at least one of her poems, including, “How do I love Thee, Let Me Count the Ways”
I came across an interesting study where a researcher had people walk in unfamiliar territory and they went in circles when they couldn’t see the sun. The circling was even worse when they were blindfolded. The researchers were trying to collect empirical data to support the age-old idea that when humans get lost they walk in circles.
Here’s a piece of the beginning of the study so you know to what I’m referring:
Common belief has it that people who get lost in unfamiliar terrain often end up walking in circles. Although uncorroborated by empirical data, this belief has widely permeated popular culture. Here, we tested the ability of humans to walk on a straight course through unfamiliar terrain in two different environments: a large forest area and the Sahara desert. Walking trajectories of several hours were captured via global positioning system, showing that participants repeatedly walked in circles when they could not see the sun. Conversely, when the sun was visible, participants sometimes veered from a straight course but did not walk in circles.
We tested various explanations for this walking behavior by assessing the ability of people to maintain a fixed course while blindfolded. Under these conditions, participants walked in often surprisingly small circles (diameter < 20 m), though rarely in a systematic direction. These results rule out a general explanation in terms of biomechanical asymmetries or other general biase. Instead, they suggest that veering from a straight course is the result of accumulating noise in the sensorimotor system, which, without an external directional reference to recalibrate the subjective straight ahead, may cause people to walk in circles.
~ read the entire study HERE
Now, as fascinating as this research is, let’s take the idea into a more abstract thought… and go farther.
Or rather, further. “Farther” is for physical distance and “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance. (Sorry-not-sorry for the word-nerd-ism.)
What is your fixed point?
A goal might be a fixed point…
- if your goal is to be a doctor, there’s a direct path to get there. It might take a long time, but you can discover which schools to attend, courses to take, and what practicum is needed.
- if you want a thriving marriage, you focus on your spouse and learn each other’s nuances. You read, attend marriage workshops, and perhaps even look for a couple to mentor you.
- and it works for small goals too – if you want a vegetable garden, you need to prepare the soil, plant seeds of the specific vegetables you want to eventually harvest, water the seeds and wait.
This isn’t hard.
Too often we drift. We wonder why we are feeling like we’re going in circles in life. There doesn’t seem like there’s any progress.
If this is the case, I’m going to suggest we don’t have a fixed point – a goal. Or a particular goal is too big – it needs to be broken into smaller goals.
Are you clear on your goal? Or goals…
1- Have you written your goal down?
A written plan is important for any goal. Perhaps you’ve used the SMART method to determine your goal? (S = specific | M = measurable | A = achievable | R = relevant | T = time limited) — Click HERE for a worksheet to do this exercise.
2 – Do you have accountability partners for your goal?
Many people can handle reaching a goal on their own. However, having accountability partners makes the goal much easier to achieve. And then you have someone or many to celebrate with when you achieve it! Perhaps “accountability” is an uncomfortable word. What about a “mastermind group”?
3 – Are you reading and learning about your goal?
Most individuals can’t know everything about a topic. We all need input from other sources to solve a problem along the way or make better choices when we’re reaching for a goal.
4 – Mentors help you visualize the goal.
Do you have mentors who have already been where you want to go? Even if they don’t know you, it’s possible to have people you can learn from just by understanding their decisions and the path they’ve followed.
5 – Do you have milestones to mark your way to the goal?
Have you broken your goal down into various milestones? Sometimes a goal is huge, and you need smaller successes along the way to remain motivated.
If you’re going in circles…
Try one of these actions to find your fixed point.
What goals are you trying to reach? Make sure your path is straight…
Optimists know it’s OK to say “No.”
Don’t let yourself believe that being a positive person means you need to be a “yes-person”.
Though “yes” is a powerful way to navigate life, there are also times where a well-placed “no” is completely appropriate for an optimist.
Positive people say “no” to:
- being stingy
- impulse buying
- being comfortable in their career
- going it alone
- hating their job
- believing in fate
- staring mindlessly at the TV
- being goal-less
- letting emotions reign over behavior
- eating mindlessly
- and more – this is the article that inspired me!
I have a friend who uses a humorous response when he doesn’t want to participate. He says, “Count me out!” And then he smiles, because he’s not being negative, but rather leaving the space, funds and time for those activities which align with his chosen values.
What are you currently saying “no!” to?
What would make you healthier, wealthier and wiser if you did say “NO!”?
Comfort zones are hazardous to your progress forward!
One of the most powerful statements a coach said to me was, “Your comfort isn’t serving you well.” I must be candid – I was miffed. But because that statement felt like truth and hit so hard, I had to give her point some thought and prayer.
When January 2011 came around, I chose the word UNCOMFORTABLE as my focus for the year. And that year had the most growth I’ve ever experienced because I deliberately sought things which would make me uncomfortable. One of the things I did that year was to complete a 30-day challenge of writing daily on EncourageYourSpouse.com. It was the first time anyone had read what I wrote. I made some online friends in the marriage blogging sphere, and later that year I even met one of them in person. (That was huge for me.)
In which areas are you comfortable? How’s that working for you?
“Are you making choices because they’re good for you – or because they’re comfortable?” ~ asks Deidre Hughey in this video where she gives some points on comfort, saying that Comfort is Lying to You.
Perhaps it’s time to get out of your comfort zone in an area?
Great things happen when you get out of your comfort zone.