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What is Analysis Paralysis?

Analysis Paralysis occurs when a person overthinks or overanalyzes a situation and can cause you to become paralyzed (stuck) in what decision to make. This results in no course of action taken, and believe it or not is a decision itself. When you are in a situation and a decision must be made, but you do not make one, you are making the decision not to decide. A lot of times Analysis paralysis occurs in decision-making when the person sees the situation sees it as too complicated and is fearful that regardless of the decision they make, another problem could come about if they make any of the wrong ones. The person may desire a perfect result and fears that the decision they make is inferior to the other options they could have made, resulting in a poor outcome. As you have read in my other articles, life is largely determined on the decisions that you make and analysis paralysis equates to not living life at all, If you are being held back by Analysis paralysis and having trouble making decisions then you’re not living the quality of life that you can be. Here are four ways to overcome being stuck and not being able to decide.

The 4 steps to deal with Analysis Paralysis


  1. Work on your Self confidence– Maybe in the past you have made decisions that have not had a great outcome, as a result you’re not confident in your decision-making abilities at the moment and this has you going through analysis paralysis. Try to set this fear aside to think the past is that past, instead of letting your past decisions hold you back from making choices now. Ask yourself, what have I learned from those decisions, and how can they help me grow as a person moving forward? It is important that you also let yourself know its ok to make mistakes, everyone in life makes decisions that they wish they could take back. As stated earlier, look at it as a time to reflect and learn. Another way to become more confident in your decision-making is to practice daily positive self-talk and or affirmations about decision-making.
  2. Talk with a therapist– Analysis paralysis usually happens as an anxiety response, triggering a cycle of worry, fear and other emotions that can cripple a person in the decision-making process. Sometimes people have trouble overcoming their own overthinking on their own, so talking with a professional can be very helpful. The therapist will be able to help you with identifying the underlying causes or triggers to your trouble with decision-making, help give you steps to take to change the pattern you are stuck in, and work through any anxiety or depression that may be making the situation worse. It is important to seek professional help if your ability to make important decisions are affecting you in school, your quality of life or success in other areas of life. A great resource who has helped me through a lot in life is Reece McNeil who is a self-image coach [email protected] I would highly recommend you contact him to discuss any struggles you may be going through.
  3. Trust your instincts– Not everyone has an easy time trusting their gut instincts, but these feeling can serve you well if you let them do so. These instincts relate less to logic and more to lived experience and emotion. In this case, you are letting your emotions be the steering wheel with the decisions you make. There is a time and place for letting logistics be the driver of your decisions. But when it comes to more personal matters such as should I stay in this relationship that I believe could be toxic, emotions should be the driving force. It is important to stop and think carefully about how you feel before making important choices like this. Your feelings and emotions are unique to you, so have some confidence in what your emotions can tell you about certain situations.
  4. Take a break– Analysis paralysis involves consistent negative thoughts along with spinning the same thoughts over and over. This type of thinking does not lead you to any new insights on the decision at hand. What triggers the paralysis is when you are tired and fatigued along with overwhelmed, but continue to look for possibilities. To help relax you from the dilemmas that are playing out in your head over making decisions, find and enjoyable distraction. Like reading a book, find a project to work on or do something physically active like yoga go for a run or lift weights. The goal of this is to avoid thinking about the decision for a while. When you go back to the choice, you will have a fresh outlook to make a better decision.


There’s nothing wrong with thinking through things before you decide, I actually recommend it to make the best decision possible. If you find that you are stalled by indecision, it would be good to look at why this is happening. But when you really need to decide, challenge yourself to go with your gut and go with what you believe to be the right choice. Remember, you will never always make the choice that results in the outcome you desire. When this is the case, learn from it and move forward, don’t let it result in analysis paralysis.