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Habits

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

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7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

A few days ago, I talked about analysis paralysis and if it is the reason for inaction. I think a lot of people relate to it because it hits home with many. Most of us get tangled in trying to find the perfect solution to our problems. Understanding what stops us from taking action and the reason behind it is the first step in finding ways to overcome the hurdle we create for ourselves.

So, what exactly is analysis paralysis?

“Analysis Paralysis is when we have too many options, and we get so overwhelmed that we fail to choose an option at all. It is a state of over-analyzing a situation or problem, and as a result, a decision or action is never taken; as a result, paralyzing the outcome.”

I am sure you have been in this state some time in your life for one or the other decision. How do you overcome this? How do you not fall prey to analysis paralysis? Here are some logical ways that work because we target the problem area that pulls us into this state.

1. Prioritize your options

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

When you have a lot of ways to go about something, you will be overwhelmed, and you will be sucked into the decision of which option is the most beneficial. Our goal is to come out of that. Treating all the options as if they are going to have the same impact puts them in the same priority block, and that is what results in analysis paralysis.

What you need to do is detach yourself from the decision. Look at it as if it doesn’t concern you at all. Then categorize each option in different priority levels based on what can help you take immediate action, what is more accessible or needs fewer steps, or even what makes the most sense if you isolate it from other options and if it was your only one.

Although I am telling you to give it some thought while teaching you how to not overthink it – this thinking follows a purpose and once that purpose is fulfilled, you won’t be paying it any more attention. So purposeful thinking is better than just fretting over it as a whole. You will then know what option to go with, and it will still be an informed decision.

2. Write down a mission statement

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Sometimes the vision or the goal gets lost when you are trying to figure out what a great way of doing something is. When you do not have a clear view of your goal, then making decisions can be even more difficult. Defining your goals on a piece of paper and then checking every option you come up with against it is a great way to stay on track and not get tangled in too many thoughts.

Eliminate anything that does not make sense with your end goal. Yes, it can be a better fit to get you to the halfway point of whatever you are aiming to achieve in the short term, but if there is an option that can see you the whole way through, then you need to strike out the enticing halfway option.

3. Eliminate the bad options

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

What are the bad options? The ones that need you to invest more than the other options, may it be money, tools, time, manpower, anything. The ones that might not hold in the long run. Anything that increases stress. Anything that causes a strain on your resources.

Some options, though attractive, might not be the right fit considering your current situation. You can use the priority list and your mission statement to prune out the bad options so that you are left with 3-4 workable options, and the decision becomes easier.

4. Set a deadline to make a decision

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

When you have an open deadline, chances are you are just going to keep overthinking and overanalyzing everything and watch as the opportunity sails past you because you are stuck in analysis paralysis. This is why you need to set a deadline so that you are forced to make a decision. You need to assign yourself just enough time to go over the options but not enough for you to overanalyze everything.

You can set a day or two for small decisions, a week for moderate ones and as long as you think is workable for something really big. Try to keep it concise enough for you to feel the pressure of the deadline but not so short that it stresses you out and you feel rushed.

5. Break big decisions into small parts

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Usually, analysis paralysis is common when the decision has a huge impact. We are wired to choose familiarity and safety over anything challenging that can frighten us, which is also one of the common reasons for hesitation to act. So, instead of choosing one option directly, what you can do is break down the option into all the steps it is going to require.

Once you have all the steps in the options laid out bare next to each other, it becomes easier to eliminate the ones that are going to take a lot of small steps to make them happen. If the small steps are easier but more in number, it can still make more sense. And deciding on the basis of micromanaging can be the key to you finally coming to a decision.

6.  Don’t wait for perfection

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

One of the common factors for inaction is people waiting for that perfect option. You have to realize that perfect decisions don’t always happen. There is a compromise involved, if not in all, then in most of the decisions.

While you wait for your perfect break, someone else will make it with their mediocre decision. A mediocre decision is better than no decision. Sometimes “good enough” is exactly what it needed. It will at least get you started.

7. Trust your guts

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

If an option feels better in your gut than the others then maybe it is the best you can choose. If you have a plethora of options and you somehow keep coming back to the same one, then you need to actively consider it.

Sometimes, our subconscious mind knows exactly what is going to work, but we ignore under the pretense of being well researched and well informed with over-analyzing every aspect of every option.

Most of the times, the need to be 100 percent sure about the solution you are choosing is nothing but fear of acting disguised as wanting to be perfect. Your mind is just giving you reasons to keep putting the decision making off instead of actually making a decision. In a moment like this, it is better to trust your gut and go with it.

Takeaway

Analysis paralysis is unavoidable when you think about it. You are constantly going to be stuck in it when you are in the stage of building your business or making changes in your life. The main thing is knowing what to do when you feel like you don’t know what to choose. These steps will help you realize when you are entering analysis paralysis and how to treat it.

All it boils down to is differentiating the solutions or options based on priority by breaking them into smaller steps and eliminating bad ones or the least feasible ones, and also setting a deadline on your decision-making process so that it does not go on forever.

Habits

Why Too Many Self Help Books are Bad for You

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Self Help

Since you’re reading this article on this blog, you probably have a keen interest in self-betterment. You’re the kind of person who has a constant hunger to grow, develop personality and achieve great things. You probably have a full shelf of self-help books at home, and reach for a new one in airport book stores. 

Let’s take a moment to congratulate yourself on this. Not many people, definitely not the vast majority of people are genuinely interested in self-growth. However, like any good thing in life, there is a flip-side to immersing yourself in self-help content. It can severely impact the way you see yourself, and the world around you; sometimes for the worse.

The Heroes

It’s fairly common to read a self-help book and start valorising the writer. The requisite to write a self-help book or a how-to guide is often being successful first so that you then have the ‘right’ to preach to other people. That’s why many “successful people” write memoirs or how-to guides to spill their secrets and let others know how they made it. 

A byproduct of this is the audience begins to automatically consume everything that the writer tells them as the gospel truth. We don’t doubt the credibility of someone who’s made it big. We don’t ask for much scientific backing when these successful persons tell us their life story: one anecdote is enough. 

Of course, in any field of scientific research, a single anecdote is never considered to be scientific evidence alone. This is simply because one person can never be an unbiased narrator of their own experiences. We can’t weigh their words against those of others; verify their methods with a control group. 

This is not to suggest that all writers of self-help books are getting away with lying or false information just because no one’s cross-checking (although that could be the occasional case). 

The few people who are successful in their fields and occupy positions in the public sphere undoubtedly have more experience than you and me. However, even they cannot hundred per cent explain the reasons for their success. It is generally a number of factors that act together, right connections, right timing, right pre-dispositions combined with the person’s efforts that bring them success. 

For example, if a successful entrepreneur writes about how he built his own business empire, he could give you 10 methods, or tips and tricks that he followed to stay motivated and increase his productivity. What he cannot guarantee is that this will work for everyone. He also cannot guarantee that those 10 exact methods are what caused his success.

There are many self-help books that are abundant with real-life examples, scientific studies, and academic research. These are also, coincidentally the type of books where the author relies less on his own experience as the source of his advice. These are not just more useful books to read, they also are much more informative and entertaining than their monologue counterparts. 

Survivorship Bias

One of the other side effects of surrounding yourself with lots of self-help content is that you become prey to the survivorship bias. This means that you continually consume stories and experiences of many people that have succeeded. Once we start following ‘successes’, we begin to see them everywhere. 

Social media has a hand to play in this as well. Popular social media platforms have algorithms that create echo-chambers where you only see the kind of content that you like. So if you’re only reading about positive and uplifting self-betterment content, chances are you never come across stories about failures. 

This can make you feel that there is an enormous amount of people that are succeeding and doing what you want to do. The spotlight is on the 1%, while ignoring the other 99% in the shadow. 

You might wonder why this is a problem. Isn’t focusing on the positive success stories making it more likely that you will also be successful yourself?

Surprisingly, it’s not. It can be the real reason why it’s so hard to succeed, because you can follow all the hacks, tips and tricks, and methods that you read in self-help books and still have unique challenges to overcome. This is because you’re ignoring the data from the vast masses of people that tried the very same methods and failed. 

You must be thinking: well, I should be focusing on failure stories? That’s depressing!

No, you don’t! For one, they are difficult to find. Simply knowing the information about how often someone succeeds to the level that you want to can be your tool. 

For example, if you want to become a best-selling author, you should know that simply getting published has a 1% success rate while a best-selling author is probably closer to 0.001%.

This is not to discourage you from chasing your dreams, but only to help you bring a dose of reality into your pursuit of success. 

Final Words

Knowing that the advice you read in a self-help book is from a person part of the 1% rather than the 99% can stop you from being frustrated. Many people follow the methods and techniques suggested in these books and then expect instant success. 

So if you’re waking up at 5 AM for three months in a row now, and wondering why you’re not a millionaire yet: the story was never that simple! 

Congratulations to your brand new good habit, and pursuit of self-betterment, but know that there is a long way to go before we discover a complete formula for success

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Habits

The Science Behind Forming Habits that Last

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If you’ve ever tried to form a habit, someone’s probably given you the advice that it takes only 21 days to do so. 

The 21-day rule claims that one must only perform an activity every day, for 21 days, until it automatically becomes a habit and the person no longer has to put in the effort to do the activity.

And, if you’ve ever tried to test out this rule: you likely found that it doesn’t really work. 

Unfortunately, there are many more factors that come into play when considering why some habit formation happens in less time than others. 

I was told by a school teacher that it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days for it to become a lifestyle. During the lockdown, I tried to make it a practice to meditate every day for 10 minutes to meditate. I eagerly awaited the 21-day mark, expecting some kind of magical transformation to take place as soon as I awoke. 

There was nothing different about the 21st day (or the 3 months after that), and I didn’t experience any time-bound results. 

Where the 21-Day Rule Comes from

Interestingly, the 21-Day Rule isn’t so much a rule as it’s a misinterpreted observation. A plastic surgeon Maxwell Maltz wrote a well-acclaimed book about human behavior. 

In his career, he noticed that it always took a minimum of 21 days for one of his patients to mentally adjust to the physical change in their body. He proposed that any sort of mental image adjustment requires a minimum of 21 days from this data. 

Now while this could be useful data for mental image adjustments, habit formation encompasses many more factors than that. 

Here are scientifically-backed factors that influence how strong your newly formed habit is and how long it will last.

How Big or Small it is

If your habit is something challenging to do, it will take a lot of willpower for you to drastically change your everyday routine to accommodate it. 

For example, if you work a 10hour shift and still want to workout at the gym for an hour a day, knowing it sacrifices your recreation time: chances are that this habit will be really difficult to form and sustain.

A small habit like making your bed, washing the dishes before you go to bed at night, or even self-affirmations in the morning: are all habits that can fit into a schedule without you having to sacrifice much. 

Starting with small habits makes it easier since you don’t need a lot of motivation to perform them. 

How Important the Habit is to your Self Image

Some habits we’re trying to form are more important to us than others. If you strongly believe that this habit will help you become the person you’re destined to be, you’re going to attach more value to carrying it out every day!

How Many Days you Skip

We’re often under the impression that all your progress will come crashing down if you skip a day. Thankfully, it’s been proven that even if you miss a day, there are no long-term effects on the habit formation itself. But it’s recommended that you never skip more than one day at a time.

How You Remind Yourself

When reminding yourself to perform the activity you’re trying to convert to a habit, it’s critical to piggyback off other existing habits. That means if you already have a habit of doing yoga and want to get into a habit of meditating, make sure that you meditate right after your yoga practice. One habit helps the other.

How Sustainable Your Pace is

If you’re working on forming a habit that needs to be built up over time, you need to make sure this pace is feasible for your current lifestyle. You know your life best, and if you know you’re going to have a significant life event and get busier soon, don’t have unrealistic expectations from your new habit!

Good luck!

40% of our day-to-day life is made out of habits. Forming a new habit can very realistically transform your entire life. I’m glad you’re on this journey to maximize your potential, and I’m sure you can do it!

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Habits

How Reading can impact your Day to Day Life?

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book read

Reading is a healthy habit, which, if practiced daily, can change your entire life around. Do you want to know why? Through Reading, one can not only gain knowledge but also stay acquainted with the outside as well as the inside world. The best thing about reading daily is to have an isolated place for yourself in your mind, where you can run off to. Most people don’t have the patience or intention to read, and that too, daily. Though this is a habit that takes time to settle in but trust me, once it does, you would never regret it. So, here is a list of reasons why you should read daily?

Why should you read daily?

  • To gain knowledge

Once you start reading daily, and by Reading, it can be anything – you can read few pages of a novel, or a magazine, or newspaper, or even poetry – you would notice within weeks how much your knowledge regarding the outer world has improved. Through Reading, one can have clear information regarding the current affairs, and hence, stay updated.

  • To improve your vocabulary

Through Reading, you can definitely learn new words and hence, improve your vocabulary. Most people make it a habit to learn a new word from the dictionary every day, but if you read daily, you are bound to get new words and make a list of them on a notebook with their meanings, which is definitely going to be helpful for you.

  • To have a make-believe world

The most beautiful consequence of Reading is having one’s own imaginary world, where one can live a life full of magic. This is the extraordinary superpower one acquires while reading. In this busy daily life of ours, we all look for a secluded place where we can feel the essence of peace. Reading can fly you off to the imaginary land of sunflowers, daisies, and cats who can indeed talk.

  • To become more attentive

Most people lack patience nowadays. Being impatient and restless has become a severe problem in today’s world. Here, Reading can help you calm your mind and improve your observation skills. It works like meditation. In no time, you would find your mind focusing on details and becoming more attentive to events, which used to go unnoticed.

  • To reduce stress

Reading is similar to meditation, and hence, it definitely helps to reduce your stress. Books always have a calming effect on one’s mind. It takes you away from daily problems and stressful situations and helps your mind to gain stability. Not only it helps in reducing stress, but it also helps to decrease the anxiety levels of a person. 

Everyone should make reading a daily habit. One should switch off the mobile phones, turn off the television and take some time out to read. It works wonders on one’s day-to-day life and changes one person’s entire personality. Though it can be hard at first, with time, you would cherish the moments alone, reading in a corner while your mind is flying off to Narnia.

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