“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”Esther Hicks
I couldn’t stop worrying about it.
I knew it was the right thing. I had wanted to move to London since I was 18 years old. It was the perfect place for this aspiring writer to launch her career, make the right connections and fulfil her life purpose.
But what if something went wrong?
London’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. If I didn’t find some writing gigs fast, I’d run out of savings and be out on the streets.
That’s what everyone thought would happen, anyway. Maybe they were right. What if I didn’t have what it takes to make it?
I had no idea where to even begin. I didn’t know anyone in London. I had no friends. No jobs waiting for me. I didn’t even have a place to stay.
Would I find a decent flat that didn’t bleed my finances dry? What if I’d get scammed? You hear so many stories of people paying money for a house only for the “landlord” to disappear into thin air.
Would I make new friends in the city? I’ve always been shy, struggling to make friends even in elementary school. London was a much bigger playground.
Would I be able to navigate the maze that is London? I had lived all my life in a small town where you know all your neighbours by name. No one would know my name in London.
These thoughts kept going round and round in circles in my mind. They gripped my heart with worry, paralysed me with fear. For 15 years.
That’s how long it took me to break the cycle of fear and worry and book the ticket to my new life.
Guess what? None of the bad things I had been worrying about came true.
Don’t get me wrong. Making it here wasn’t easy. Nothing worth doing is. But if I think about all the time I wasted worrying about things that never happened, I just want to kick myself in the butt for not taking the plunge sooner.
This experience taught what a waste of time, energy and resources worrying is. And yet I’d be lying if I said I’ve stopped overthinking.
Like, I’ve had the idea to start this business more than a year ago and I’m taking action only now… But hey, what’s one year compared to 15, right?
Seriously, though. Worrying gets you nowhere. Action does. It’s the only antidote I know.
Here are 5 ways to stop worrying about all the things that could go wrong and start taking action in the direction of your dreams:
1. Make A Decision
I’m the worst at this. I hate making decisions. An example? Before I set up this website, I’ve read 50+ articles on the differences between WordPress and Squarespace, the two main website-building platforms.
They were all saying the same thing, but I was so worried over making the wrong choice, I kept searching for that one elusive article that would clear my mind once and for all.
Days went by and I still had no website…
That’s when I knew I had to make a decision. What’s the worst thing that could have happened? Pick the wrong platform and move to the next?
A bit of a hassle, sure. But it definitely beats not doing anything at all.
Stop wasting time worrying about making the wrong decision. Make a choice and move on. The only failure is not to choose at all.
2. Put It In Your Calendar
It’s not enough to make a decision. You have to act on it, too.
When I finally settled on WordPress, I created an action plan to bring my website to life. I pulled out my calendar and wrote down what task I was gonna do, and what day and time I was gonna do it.
Once it’s in your calendar, there’s no point worrying about it anymore. You’ll get to work and realise it wasn’t as difficult or scary as you thought it would be.
All those things you were worrying about didn’t happen once you got down to work, did they?
And if something did go wrong, let me guess… You’ve found a solution for it, right?
Don’t like using a physical calendar? Click on the image below to download the Weekly Planner. It features a digital calendar + productivity tips to help you make the most of your time.
I know what you’re thinking. One second ago, I told you to take action and now I’m telling you to just sit down and… do nothing?
Kinda. Hear me out.
Meditation may look like a passive activity. It’s anything but. It’s mental exercise. You’re training your mind to stop thinking and worrying so damn much all the time.
The goal of meditation is to still your mind and bring it back to the present moment. It helps you focus on what you need to do in the now, not worrying about all the things that went wrong in the past and may go wrong in the future.
The catch? You have to do it every single day. It’s like practicing for a marathon. You can’t show up on the day and run 10 miles. You need to train daily, so when the day of the race comes, you’re ready.
I use the Insight Timer app. It’s free and features thousands of meditations. Try different styles to see which one suits your best.
They all have one thing in common: they focus on your breath. Sit down, close your eyes and focus on breathing in and out.
Whenever your mind wanders – and it’ll wander a lot – gently bring your attention back to your breath.
If you’re worrying about tackling the tasks on your calendar, take 5 minutes off for a quick meditation. It’ll calm your nerves and get you ready to execute.
Try it if you don’t believe me.
4. Do The Morning Pages
The Morning Pages are a writing exercise made famous by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way.
Every morning, as soon as you wake up, write three pages of stream of consciousness thought. Literally anything that comes to your mind.
That dream you just woke up from. The conversation you had yesterday with your boss. The call you’re nervous about making in the afternoon. If you’re thinking it, jot it down.
The idea is simple: dump all the rubbish that takes space in your brain onto the blank page so you won’t think about it during the day.
Plus, there’s something about seeing all your worries spelled out on paper that makes them lose their hold over you. They become less important.
Over to you, now. Which of these tips will you start using to stop worrying and start doing? Share your thoughts in the comments below.