Do you want to start something new or pursue a goal but are overwhelmed by the thought of it? I know exactly how you feel. Here are the 5 steps I use to beat overwhelm.
I wanted to start a blog. I had all these ideas about what I would write about, share them on Instagram and Pinterest, do coaching, create a course and a youtube channel so I could help everyone. Maybe I could help them be productive, manage their time, manage their finances and achieve their goals and be a great mom? If you couldn’t tell, I can be a bit of a dreamer at times.
So what happened? I was consumed by overwhelmed before I even really started.
As a kid, I struggled with ‘overwhelm paralysis’. I completely shut down and did not move because I was so overwhelmed. I would not start essays or projects for school, or even let myself THINK about the project. My parents struggled to understand why I wouldn’t do my schoolwork. I could easily pass all the tests, but I would not do projects.
Over the years, I realized I freeze when I am overwhelmed, I developed ways to trick my brain in order to accomplish my goals. I am going to show you how you can do it too!
Is Overwhelm Holding you Back?
Look for signs in your life where you are afraid to move forward. You get analysis paralysis.
Another sign you are overwhelmed is you say you don’t have time. If you say you don’t have time, you are seeing your goal as too big of a task. All goals can be broken down into smaller chunks of time. Even if it is running. You can start with running 10 minutes. Core exercise is very important to running as well. I will challenge you to a 5-minute plank if you say you don’t have time.
Okay so think about it, what is that one goal you are struggling with right now that you are too overwhelmed by it to pursue?
5 steps to beat overwhelm:
For these 5 steps, I am going to challenge you to do the work. I know you are probably just scrolling through Instagram or Google and found this article. Before you read further pull out a piece of paper or open a new Notes on your phone, then number it from 1 to 5. Make sure to leave yourself plenty of room for number one.
Do a brain dump when overwhelmed
For this step, set a timer for 5-10 minutes, depending on how big of project or goal it is for you. Write down ALL the dreams, “I could do this”, all the fears you have, all the many steps that you need to do our look up to make this happen. Get it all on paper, or notes.
First focus on the fears and see how reasonable they are. Losing money and time are nothing compared to the potential gains you are losing by not pursuing goals.
Break Down into smaller steps
Okay now that you addressed your fears. Use the next two areas, dreams and steps, to create a plan! For me, I needed to expand my blog to really help people before I could do all the other things. I could make YouTube videos, but when writing my blog, will give me the confidence in what I am saying to later make videos.
And then I created a plan, in bite-sized pieces I could check off. Come up with a list of ideas to write about. Draft a post. Edit the post. See if I can add tailor it for SEO. Create a blog picture. Create a Pinterest picture and so on.
Do this with whatever it is you are afraid to do, write a book? Run a 10K? Start a business?
Find the one that will move you closer
Look at the list and physically circle the one thing that helps make progress. That thing that will not let anything else happen if it is not in place. For me, that is writing a blog post, for you, it might be buying a domain. You cannot have a successful blog if you do not even have your own space. If your goal is running, then you need to put on your shoes and go. The next available 30 minutes. No excuses.
Spend 10 Minutes on that One Task
I use this trick all the time when I get overwhelmed with a project at work and I start to doubt myself. So I tell myself okay I will just start to get the report ready. I will outline it and add in a few things that I know. I will plan to come back to it later.
This does three things to help beat overwhelm. One it shows me that it is not as scary as I thought. (Every time). It makes the project “smaller” because when I come back to it I have less to do. Third, when I do leave the task, I generally know the next steps and I can either go and research or ask the necessary questions to keep the project moving.
Phone a Friend
When I was a kid, I needed my mom to just sit in the room with me while I cleaned my room. She didn’t even need to help me. I just needed the support.
On Instagram just last week I saw a small business owner, cranking out orders late at night and her amazing husband had fallen asleep on the office floor while she worked. She posted “so she would not be alone”. Whether intentional or not that kind of physical presence can really help beat overwhelm and reduce the stress of getting out a lot of orders. You don’t feel like you should be going to bed, or have FOMO that they are watching a movie you have been wanting to see.
My point is if you are struggling to write, have a friend just sit with you at the library or coffee shop. Ask a friend to run with you, and for a bonus, you can get some accountability.
Hopefully, after working through these steps, you have found that you can move forward on your goal or project and are actually working to beat the overwhelm! I want you to plan on 10 minutes a day doing something small towards your goal.
If you start to feel stuck, revisit this page and go through the 5 steps again. As you progress new things will come up that will block you from moving forward.
What are you working towards and what is holding you back from it?
I would love to hear what goal you are pursuing and what is holding you back. Share how you beat overwhelm in the comments below!