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.

Embracing the Next Chapter: Setting Goals for Midlife and Beyond

Life is a journey, punctuated by milestones, turning points, and crossroads.

And all this time you thought life was a highway. 🙂

When we reach midlife, it can sometimes feel like we’re teeter-tottering between the stories of our past and the endless possibilities of our future.

One day you feel like your experiences have prepared you for an amazing new chapter, and the next day, you wonder how you even survived this long. It’s empowering and humbling all at the same time.

One of the primary challenges we face during this period is the pull of nostalgia.

I’m sure all previous generations have felt a sense of being the caretakers of times gone by, but I think we Gen X’ers are masterful at it. We truly were the last generation who experienced how life “used to be,”and we are smart enough to know that we can really never go back to that kind of simple life.

But if we’re not careful, we can get tethered to these totally awesome memories, past achievements, and the “used to bes.” While there’s inherent beauty in reminiscing and honoring our journeys, being too anchored to the past can hinder our ability to chart fresh courses.

The Power of Letting Go

Letting go isn’t about erasing memories or discarding the value of our past experiences. It’s about granting ourselves permission to grow, to evolve, and to step confidently into new territories.

By freeing ourselves from the grip of nostalgia, we open up a space where new dreams can germinate.

This season of life, with all its reflection and a search for renewed purpose, provides a golden opportunity to set intentional goals for our next chapters, if we choose to look at it that way.

Here are some strategies to help foster this liberating mindset and get  your next chapter rolling:

  • Reframe the Narrative: Instead of viewing midlife as an endpoint or a look back at what once was, consider it a launchpad. Every experience up to this point has equipped you with wisdom and resilience. These are assets, not anchors.
  • Inventory of Achievements: Write down your past achievements and the dreams you’ve realized. Recognize them, celebrate them, but also realize that your story isn’t over. This exercise can often reveal dormant dreams and aspirations you might have set aside.
  • Visualize Your Future: Use tools like vision boards or journaling to craft a vibrant picture of what you want your next chapter to look like. Allow yourself to dream without limits.

Setting Goals for the Next Chapter

With a renewed mindset, goal-setting becomes not just a task, but an exciting undertaking. Here’s how to approach it:

  • Assess Your Values: The goals that resonate the most are those aligned with our core values. Take some time to list out what truly matters to you now. It might be different from two decades ago, and that’s perfectly okay.
  • Stay Curious: One of the joys of this stage in life is that you can pursue interests and passions purely for the love of it. Always wanted to learn an instrument? Fancy writing a book? Now might be the perfect time.
  • Embrace Flexibility: The goals you set now don’t have to be rigid. The beauty of this phase is the freedom to pivot, adjust, and adapt.
  • Seek Accountability: Share your goals with close friends or family. Better yet, find a group or club that aligns with your new interests. The journey is always richer with company.
  • Focus on the Journey, Not Just the Destination: While it’s exciting to achieve our goals, there’s immeasurable joy and growth to be found in the process. Cherish every step.

Bringing It All Together

In this season of midlife, the world stretches out beyond us with so much promise. By letting go of the weight of nostalgia and boldly setting goals for the next chapter, we create a narrative that’s both fulfilling and exhilarating.

Remember, your past has been a rich tapestry of experiences that have shaped you, but it doesn’t solely define you. You have the pen in hand, ready to script new adventures, tales, and triumphs.

If you ever feel the need for guidance or support as you navigate this transformative period, consider reaching out for a life coaching session with us. Our experienced team is here to empower you, providing tools and strategies to help you soar into your next chapter with confidence and clarity.

Schedule an appointment today and let’s journey together towards your renewed dreams and goals.