Avoid the Overthinking Trap and Make Faster Decisions

Remember the last time you stood in the makeup aisle, just staring at those hundred shades and brands of lipstick, wondering which one to buy?

And then, after a gazillion minutes, you walked out of the store without buying any because you couldn’t decide between two slightly different shades of red?

Welcome to the world of analysis paralysis

You know, it’s that point where you’re so tangled up in all the variables and consequences of a particular decision that you can’t even remember what you were looking for in the first place.

To be fair, there are way too many lip color options now: highly pigmented colors, sheer options, long-wearing options, moisturizing ones, shimmers, high-gloss ones … sheesh. There goes the afternoon.

If the decision isn’t super clear and obvious, it’s easy to just shut down and kick the lipstick tube down the road for another day.

So how do you make decisions (cosmetic and non-cosmetic) without getting trapped in overthinking?

Why Do We Get Stuck?

So, why does this happen? Why do our once-decisive selves now find it daunting to choose a dress for the party, or decide on a vacation spot, or even pick a new hobby?

Well, with age (and hey, a lot of wisdom 😉), comes the understanding of consequences. We’ve seen the highs and lows life can bring, and that experience can sometimes make us overly cautious.

We end up seeking perfection in our choices, and trying to avoid any potential pitfalls.

The Beauty of Tiny Steps

Here’s the deali-o: No decision is ever going to be 100% perfect.

And while considering possible outcomes is always prudent and wise, over-analyzing can stop you in your tracks.


I’ve found that in many cases analysis paralysis sets in because you are trying to solve the whole thing all at one time.

I believe math people call it “solving for x.” A website called “Math is Fun” (it most certainly is not 😀 )  describes it this way:

A Solution is a value we can put in place of a variable (such as x) that makes the equation true.”

So you’re walking around trying to solve big problems by finding one big solution that will just make it a one and done.

And when that big solution doesn’t materialize in your time frame, you start second guessing your ability to solve your own problems.

What if, instead of trying to solve the whole enchilada, you took baby steps?

When you take small, experimental steps, you gather real-time data. It’s no longer about all the things that might happen; it’s about what’s actually happening.

This feedback, whether it turns out to be positive or negative, provides a clearer direction for your next move.

It’s like trying out a fitness class before committing to a membership.

Break Free from the Analysis Paralysis Cycle

So, how can you start taking these steps, especially when your mind is swirling with a million “what ifs”?

  1. Embrace the Power of Now: Instead of pondering and wondering endlessly, give yourself a set amount of time. For example, if you’re deciding on a new hobby, research for two days and then take a trial class by day three. Limiting decision time pushes you into action.
  2. Acknowledge That Mistakes are Okay: Look, we’ve all been there. Worn a disastrous hair color, chosen a less-than-stellar vacation spot. But didn’t we also laugh about it later? Life’s too short for perfection. Embrace the missteps as they come; they often lead to the most delightful stories!
  3. List It Out: When in doubt, write it out. Jot down the pros and cons. But take it to another level: also write down the worst-case scenario for each choice. Most of the time, you’ll realize the worst isn’t that bad, or if it does happen, you have the ability to get through it.
  4. Talk to a Friend: Sometimes, all you need is a chat with somebody else outside your head. They can provide a fresh perspective or simply be the sounding board you need.
  5. Remember, Not Deciding is Also a Decision: And often, it’s a decision that leaves you in a standstill. So, while you’re waiting for the “perfect” moment, you might be missing out on several pretty awesome ones. So just, you know, do it.

Kickstart Your Decision-Making Mojo

Here are some of those baby steps to get you moving when you’re skating through the peanut butter of indecision:

  1. Start Small: Have a minor decision to make? Practice with that. Maybe it’s trying a new recipe or picking out a book. The point? Get used to what it feels like to decide and act quickly.
  2. Set Decision Deadlines: Set aside specific times for reflection and decision-making. Once the deadline is up, make your choice, take a deep breath and roll with it.
  3. Celebrate Your Decisions: Yes, even the not-so-great ones. Every choice is a learning experience. Cherish it!
  4. Journal Your Journey: Documenting your decisions and their outcomes can be enlightening. Over time, you’ll notice patterns, helping you make better-informed choices in the future. Trust me, this is really powerful!
  5. Stay Curious: Adopt a learner’s mindset. Be open to outcomes, whatever they might be. Cliche, I know, but sometimes the journey is more enlightening than the destination.

Each decision, whether big or small, is a stepping stone towards growth, experience, and understanding.

So, the next time you find yourself stuck between two shades of lipstick or a more profound life choice, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and then just take a small leap.

It’s not about the outcome but your commitment to take action, any action, that counts.

You’ve got the wisdom and experience to face whatever comes next. Embrace it!

This post also appears on lorimiller.me.

Navigating life’s ups and downs is easier with support. We’re here for you whenever you’re ready.

Finding Your Footing: Navigating the Complexities of Young Adulthood

The transition from teenage years to adulthood is often romanticized in movies, songs, and literature. Yet, those who are living it know all too well that this period can be as challenging as it is exhilarating.

There’s an underlying pressure to “figure things out” — from choosing career paths and forming meaningful relationships to defining personal identities outside of familial expectations.

So, how does one navigate the unlimited choices and challenges of young adulthood?

The Unique Landscape of Young Adulthood

Today’s young adults face a landscape vastly different from previous generations. The digital age brings unparalleled opportunities and challenges — from the gig economy and remote work to social media’s impact on mental health. Within this backdrop:

  • Identity and Self-Expression: Young adults are continuously redefining their sense of self, often experimenting with different roles, styles, and ideologies.
  • Career Exploration: With the evolution of job markets and the rise of freelancing, there’s both the freedom and pressure to find not just a job, but a meaningful career.
  • Relationship Dynamics: The landscape of relationships — whether it’s platonic, familial, or romantic — undergoes a significant shift as one steps into adulthood.

Anchoring Techniques for Young Adults

In the middle of this whirlwind, here are some strategies to stay grounded:

  • Self-Reflection: Regularly check in with yourself. Understand what drives you, what challenges you, and where your passions lie.
  • Networking: Build relationships within your chosen field. Not only for job opportunities but also to gain mentors and peers who can guide and support you.
  • Continued Learning: The world is rapidly evolving. Committing to lifelong learning, whether formal or informal, can help you adapt and thrive.
  • Seek Counseling: If feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, or low self-worth persist, consider seeking professional help. A counselor can provide tools and perspectives to help navigate these formative years.

Carving Out Your Path

The beauty of young adulthood is that it’s a time of immense potential. Every challenge faced is an opportunity for growth:

  • Define Success On Your Terms: Recognize that success is subjective. What works for one person may not for another. Understand what happiness and fulfillment look like for you.
  • Cultivate Resilience: Mistakes and setbacks are inevitable. Instead of viewing them as failures, see them as learning opportunities.
  • Maintain Work-Life Balance: While ambition is commendable, remember to carve out time for relaxation, hobbies, and loved ones.

Navigating young adulthood is like setting out on an open sea. While the waves and winds might be unpredictable, having a clear sense of direction and the right tools can ensure a fulfilling journey.

At MillerMHS, we understand the unique challenges and opportunities of young adulthood.

Our team of counselors is dedicated to supporting you through this transformative phase, helping you harness your potential and build a future that resonates with your true self.

Ready to embark on this journey of self-discovery and growth? Dive deep into understanding your aspirations, fears, and potential.

Chart a confident course through young adulthood. Schedule a counseling session with us today.

Riding Life’s Roller Coaster – We Got You!

Life transitions – whether they’re anticipated or unexpected, positive or negative – can shake us to our very core.

But remember, they’re also opportunities for personal growth, change, and new beginnings. So, how do we navigate these tumultuous times? Here are some strategies that can help you manage life transitions more effectively:

Acknowledge Your Feelings

It’s completely normal to have mixed emotions during transitions. You might feel fear, anxiety, excitement, or sadness – sometimes all at once! Don’t suppress these feelings; instead, allow yourself to experience them fully. Recognize that these emotions are part of the process of change.

Self-Care is Key

During times of transition, make sure to prioritize self-care. This can involve eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, ensuring you have enough sleep, or taking time out for relaxation and hobbies. Taking care of your physical health can have a positive impact on your emotional well-being.

Lean on Your Support Network

Whether it’s family, friends, a mentor, or a professional counselor, don’t hesitate to lean on your support network. Share your feelings, seek advice, or simply have someone who listens. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness involves staying present and fully engaged in the here and now. It can help manage the uncertainty and anxiety that come with change. This might involve meditative practices, journaling, or simple mindful moments throughout the day.

Embrace Change

Change is inevitable. Embracing change rather than resisting it can make the transition process smoother. Keep an open mind, be flexible, and try to see the opportunities that the change might bring.

Set New Goals

Transitions often provide a good opportunity to set new goals. What do you hope to accomplish in this new phase of life? Having a clear vision for the future can guide your actions and give you a sense of purpose during a transition.

Seek Professional Help

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by a life transition, it can be beneficial to seek the help of a mental health professional. Therapists can provide strategies and tools to help you navigate through the transition.

At Miller Mental Health Services, we are here to support you through your life transitions. Using research-backed methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Solution Focused Therapy, we’ll help you cope with changes and equip you with strategies to effectively manage transitions in the future.

You’re not alone in this journey.

We believe in your strength to navigate life’s twists and turns, and we’re here to help every step of the way. Ready to take the next step? Give us a call and let’s start working together towards a more confident and positive you.

How to deal with uncertainty

It’s safe to say that we currently live in a world where we don’t know what could happen next.

The last year has certainly challenged our perception of what is safe, true and believable.

And I’m not just talking politics or viruses.

We now live in a world that moves so fast we don’t have time to figure out what’s happened before we’re faced with making monumental decisions for the future.

  • You walk in on Friday and find out your department has been reorganized and you may lose your job.
  • You go in for your regular annual checkup and your doctor orders a slew of immediate tests.
  • Your spouse informs you that the relationship is over and they are moving out…today.

Uncertain times - Wile E. CoyoteSome days can feel like those old Road Runner cartoons.

As soon as Wile E. Coyote thought he had defeated the Road Runner and turned to face the camera with a sly grin, a giant rock dropped on his head and pushed him in the ground.

Like Wile E. Coyote, you can squeeze out from under that rock and keep going for another day, albeit dazed and confused.

But how do you handle uncertainty without losing your peace?

First, take a deep breath and hold off on any decisions right now.

We are most vulnerable when events and circumstances are currently still swirling. You may want to react in several different ways, and I’m guessing they’re all pretty reactive.

Or you may get pressure from others to do something or else you might lose something.

If you make a reactive decision now, you may cut yourself off from a healthier decision from having more information.

It’s a terrible feeling to react to something based on strong emotions and find out later that a better answer was just ahead of you.

Slow yourself down and don’t commit to any decision in this moment.

Spend some time gathering data and facts so you can see all of your options. This has the advantage of cooling off your emotions a bit so you can make a decision that is both logical and from your heart.

Second, resist the urge to complain.

This is hard to do anymore because we are surrounded by so many forums that allow us to “speak our truth.” We can even tell total strangers of the evils that have befallen us and how we’ve been cheated.

Complaining, while having a great ventilation effect, mostly serves to maintain the uncertain feelings. Complaining isn’t about telling your story to find meaning and to investigate what you could have done differently in the situation.

Complaining puts you in the martyr seat, the victim of things you can’t control.

How does that put you on a path from uncertainty to peace?

Talk with a trusted friend (or a therapist, just sayin’) and process your uncertain events and challenges. This is what helps you discover your options.

But when it starts to get whiney, use your best self awareness skills to dial it back so your circumstances don’t steal your peace.

Third, take each day as it comes.

We modern westerners are terrible at just dealing with today. Challenges come and our immediate reaction is to play the movie all the way to its dramatic ending.

This is a great recipe for anxiety.

In all of your worry right now about politics, pandemics, or your own family challenges, are you aware that you are breathing without thinking about it at all?

That’s happening right now in this moment, and that’s amazing!

To find some peace in the most uncertain times, you have to focus on what’s literally right in front of you.

In the midst of a currently waging battle, you won’t find a military force thinking about the implications of this battle on future conflicts. That’s a good way to get your butt kicked.

If you spent time gathering information and doing some healthy processing with someone else, then your next task is to focus on those things you can influence right now.

Not tomorrow, not next week or next month. Those timeframes will get here whether you are thinking about them or not.

You get to make that decision to find peace in your uncertainty.

Peace is an active pursuit, not just something that happens to you.

Ask yourself….

  • What can I do today with what I have right now?
  • Who do I need to pull in to ask for help?
  • What do I need to do to remind myself to make a decision for peace?