I was speaking with a colleague recently about healthy eating. She joked that she spent 6 months researching the perfect diet, all the while continuing to eat junk.
I can totally relate. Such a great example of analysis paralysis.
“Analysis paralysis occurs when you overthink and underwork.” -Orrin Woodward
When we make the decision to start living healthier, it’s normal (and a good idea) to have a plan.
But be careful here.
Planning and analyzing make us feel like we’re doing something. But we're not doing the actual work needed to reach our goals.
In other words, it can be a form of procrastination.
What to do about it?
Realize that a plan won't work until we do. Figure out your plan while you're taking action.
Want to start exercising more? Think about your exercise plan while doing something active, like going for a walk or jog. Then think about it some more the following day, while exercising again.
Want to start eating healthier? Do something to make your next meal a little healthier, such as:
Adding some veggies
Drinking water instead of soda
Stopping before you are stuffed.
Then do something to make the next meal healthier… and the next.
Learn as you go, and improve over time.
We don’t need a perfect plan. In fact, we’re never going to have things perfectly figured out before we begin.
Taking action reveals what works and what doesn’t. And it illuminates our next steps.
A “Jumping In” Experience of Mine
When I was in college I studied French. In the classroom we analyzed the language a great deal. But this didn’t help my fluency much. I remained horrible at speaking French.
I later participated in a French immersion program, where I lived with a French-speaking family. I was forced to go all-in, despite the fact that my language skills were a mess, and I didn’t feel ready.
The more I spoke with native speakers, the better I got. And I gained more fluency in one month than I had in two years of university study!
The same is true when it comes to our health goals. We’ve gotta jump in!
Want to Become “Fluent” in Healthy Living?
You have a couple choices:
1. You can analyze things to death, from the comfort of your couch… always dreaming but never achieving the lifestyle you envision.
2. You can put yourself on the fast-track to success by jumping in… today! All it takes is a willingness to take messy and imperfect action, and figure things out as you go.
This post was originally published on June 15, 2019.