Thursday, July 4, 2013

Achieving Your Goals - Stop Over Thinking!

Guide to Happiness  - HeavyZen
I am not sure if it is a guy thing or just maybe a Jimmy D thing but I find it hard admitting when I am happy. No matter how happy I might be I'm reluctant to admit it.

You see, I talk to myself too much. I don't want to get into a long blog post about the various discussions that I have with myself about the subject. Not only would the post be super long and unbelievably boring but in reality there are way to many reasons why someone won't or can't admit their happiness. It probably would take me a month to even touch on the subject. Personally  it's simple. Every time I start to feel like I am happy I start to analyze or over think things. Factors like timeline, past issues, indiscretions, future possibilities and a billion other reasons come into this multi-level discussion with myself, Within a few seconds I have decided that this is not happiness. After all that I come to the conclusion that this warm feeling that resembles happiness is probably related to how my digestive system is reacting to what I had for a snack. You see, that is how my mind works.

So the issue isn't about not being happy it's about dealing with over thinking and adjusting your thoughts at that moment in time. Which in turn makes your happy! The first thing you might ask is why is this important to someone who is on the path to enlightenment (ie ultimate happiness)? The answer is simple, over thinking is a defense mechanisms that can prohibit you from accepting the next challenge and pushing your limits. It can stop you from growing and if over thinking is practiced for an extended amount of time it will evolve into a habit. Untreated this habit can become debilitating. 
"One of the tensions within happiness -- at least for me -- is the tension between constructive attempts at greater self-knowledge and pointless rumination. Once I started paying more attention to my habits of thinking, I began to do a better job of refraining from over-thinking. When I find myself thinking in circles, I find an area of refuge, say, or I re-read one of my favorite works of children's literature -- my favorite emotional comfort food. Or, if it's nighttime, I go to bed early. Things really do look better after a good night's sleep, and often something that had me agitated the night before seems much less worrisome the next morning." - Gretchen Rubin Psychology Today

So, if any of this sounds like you, then you probably inhabit the cerebral jungle somewhere between casual over-thinker and chronic over-thinker. Here’s a few tips to help you deal with your Over-Thinking-Ness.

1. Stop waiting for perfection (perfect timing, perfect conditions etc.) Being ambitious is great but aiming for perfection is unrealistic, impractical and debilitating. Your goal shouldn't be to obtain perfection but to constantly strive to be better. In down to earth terms it means try your best to focus on improving and accept when you are less then perfect.. Consciously and methodically work towards positive change. If you do this you will be come a happier person and succeed at what ever you are doing.

2. Be more proactive. Stop thinking or planning and do! Accomplish at least one thing each day every day that will get you closer to where you want to be. Even if it scares you. Especially if it scares you! Don’t let fear hijack your potential.

3. Ask yourself the right type of questions; the ones which will put you in a positive, practical, productive and solution-focused space. Acknowledge the problems you are facing but only focus the solution.

4. Stop rationalizing, justifying and explaining what you’re not doing. You need to be upfront and honest with yourself. You can't improve something if you can track it. This means you need to measure your current state. Try to document this as honesty as you can. It’s quite effective and liberating. I would suggest keeping a log. Make sure to make note both your failures and successes  Not only will you be able to track progress but have success data for motivation. 

5. Get out of your thoughts. I read a post that talks about finding that very quiet, relaxing and beautiful space beyond our thoughts. The place where peace, calm, joy and freedom live. Honestly, you don’t know how hard it is to stop thinking until you try. Your mind can be an exhausting place and sometimes you need a a break. Getting into this state doesn't have to be hard, start by losing yourself in some of your favorite music. The goal is to break the pattern of thought and revisit the issue when you have a clearer mind.

How are you dealing with over thinking?