Last Updated on September 4, 2020
How many times have you come up with a brilliant idea for something only to psych yourself out of doing it? If you’re an overthinker or perfectionist, you probably talk yourself out of doing things on a regular basis.
Maybe you get all up in your head and convince yourself it’s no longer a good idea even though you were super excited about it before. Perhaps you pick apart your ideas and focus on what could go wrong instead of what could go right.
Though it’s important to think things through and weigh the pros and cons, overthinking is often a form of procrastination that leads to inaction. In order to find success, you have to take imperfect action instead of living in your head.
In this post, I’m sharing the common reasons why we talk ourselves out of things, how that can sabotage your success, and ways you can take action instead of letting your ego get in the way.
Why we talk ourselves out of things
One of the biggest reasons you talk yourself out of things is because you think you don’t have the confidence to succeed. The keyword here is *think*. When you start to overanalyze your confidence levels, you pick apart the things about yourself that you’re not confident in. This only convinces you that you shouldn’t take action.
This also happens if you overthink things to death. When you go on tangents in your head until you’ve thought of all of the worst case scenarios, you start to fear the negative outcomes. But really, you’ve just created these negative outcomes in your own head.
Maybe you worry what people will think of you if you don’t succeed. This takes the focus back to the negative outcome again which creates more resistance towards a positive outcome. People are going to think what they think of you regardless. They’ll either judge you because you messed up or they’ll judge you because you never made an effort to change.
When you continue this pattern of talking yourself out of things, you eventually make yourself believe that you’re not good enough to make changes in your life. You reignite that belief every time you decide to avoid or not do something.
You hold yourself back from doing what could truly make a difference, not just in your own life but in the lives of others. Whatever ideas you have could truly make a difference in this world. Instead of focusing so much on yourself and how the outcome will affect you, think about how it could positively affect others.
After all of this overthinking and inaction, you later regret the things you never did and beat yourself up for not giving it a shot. We’ve all heard the phrase, “Better an oops than a what if” and it’s so true. If you are a logical and rational person, you will most likely be able to deal with whatever goes wrong – but you have to believe this about yourself.
How to stop talking yourself out of things
Don’t wait until you’re ready
There is power in planning, but planning often becomes a form of procrastination because you avoid doing the work. We plan because we want to feel prepared and ready, but there is really no such thing as feeling ready.
Instead, you have to build your confidence by doing little things every day that take you out of your comfort zone. Whatever the big thing is that you want to do, break it down into smaller steps and push aside any self-sabotaging thoughts come up. Don’t let perfectionism or the need to be ready give you a reason to procrastinate.
You are so much more likely to accomplish things if you tell others what you’re trying to do. Even just saying your idea out loud to someone can help you recognize if it feels like something worth pursuing.
Whether it’s a friend, coach, or co-worker, share your idea with someone supportive and open-minded, not someone who might crush your idea to smithereens. The last thing you need is another person doubting you if you already doubt yourself. And even if this person never asks you about your idea again, sharing it can give you the push you need to get started on it.
Work on your mindset
Above all else, you need a strong mindset in order to get out of your comfort zone. A strong mindset gives you the confidence to take action and helps you become aware of the moments when you’re sabotaging yourself. Create a mindset routine like this one that helps you cultivate healthy thoughts about yourself and focus on what you want to accomplish.
What’s one thing you can take action on today?
I hope this post has encouraged you to get out of your own head and believe in your own ideas. By doing things before you’re ready, working on your mindset, and holding yourself accountable, you’ll start to see big changes in your life.
Wow, this is just what I needed to hear! Thank you so much for this. I want to start my own professional blog, but the task seems so daunting. This has motivated me to push myself and just do it!
I came across your blog on Pinterest and I have been hooked since the first blog I read.
This is such a timely and affirming post because I struggle with having so many brilliant ideas which end up just staying right there….in my head because I have a crippling fear of failure and wanting to do everything perfectly.
You have shed so much light in this post and I realize that I am holding myself back from realizing my highest potential by fearing to take “imperfect action”, as you have succinctly captured it.
I am definitely an over/under thinker and can talk myself out of the best idea I’ve ever had. Thanks for the tips.
Amazing insight and tips to overcome perfectionism which always make me procrastinate. Thank you
Wonderfully written and very inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing for those of us who can use it. This is a topic that I deal with a lot myself. Self talk and doubt. I actually just wrote a blog about it not too long ago so it’s really great seeing someone else’s perspective on this. Techniques can be very helpful to getting over this battle and hearing about not procrastinating and finding accountability can be very helpful. Thanks again! Keep it up. I look forward to reading more!
Catherine, I really enjoyed this post. Thanks for this. I have to really do better with this topic…..it’s a work in progress.
Catherine, love this blogpost. Thank you for it!
Thank you so much, Ronna!
This article nailed it down perfectly. Oftentimes the underlying factors are quite different than what we first expect. Perfectionist traits, fear of failure are often to be blamed. I guess all us procrastinators needed this boost. Thanks.
Thank you, Kim!
Wow! Thank you for writing this. I often come up with plans that I am so excited about executing. Within a day or sometimes a few hours I have talked myself into believing they were stupid or unrealistic and so I don’t follow through. Your words hold some much truth for me. It’s time to adopt a different mindset. Thanks again!
You’re definitely not alone, Stefanie! Glad this post was helpful for you xo
Great article for a person like me. I’ve always desired to make a living in music but I tend to look at the lack of knowledge base, time, and money needed to make something happen and I just feel overwhelmed and it ends there. But I am, during this pandemic time, spending more time working on my music recording which has been helpful and positive. I keep pressing forward; even though I don’t know what the end result will be. I don’t want to allow myself to be discouraged and give up on it.
I’m glad you’ve been able to spend more time on your music, Gary! Even when you don’t know the end result, at least it’s giving you some positivity.
Needed this today! I’m a new stay at home mom and a champion perfectionist and over thinker :) I went from working FT to being at home with my daughter and have nothing to occupy my busy mind. I want to begin some type of freelance work to focus on but I’m excellent at talking myself out of any ideas I have. Thank you for your posts, they’ve been such a blessing. I think I’ll reread this post every morning as needed! Would love to hear these in podcast form too!
That’s definitely a big change to handle, Cacia! I’m glad this post was helpful, and I hope you do go after the freelancing work :)
Waking up this morning and doubting the plans I had made for myself for the day – I searched “why do I psych myself out after I’ve planned things?” and this post was near the top. Thanks for your succinct, straightforward and yet kind words. For me, I’ve been struggling with implementing the idea of letting perfect get in the way of good. Describing it as “imperfect action” is something I hadn’t yet seen and hit home. So it looks like I WILL jump in the car and travel halfway across the state to go for a 10 mile hike in a place I’ve never been before…. Thanks for the assist!
That makes me so happy to hear, Katie! I’m glad this post found you exactly when you needed it.
seems the whole blog post is my story, thank you Catherine for this wonderful eye-opening blog.