Thinking helps you determine what you want and the following steps to get there.
It is often the step before taking action towards your next steps.
Going past thinking and into an overthinking mental space, though, may lead you to think of all the things that could go wrong in the pursuit of taking action, or you may think of reasons not to work on taking action at the moment toward the things you want, which causes you to fall into a cycle of inaction.
It is easy to go from thinking to overthinking if you are not mindful. If you fall under the overthinking trap, you may find yourself just thinking about what you want to accomplish but never taking action due to fear or other reasons you think of.
To avoid falling into the overthinking trap and paralyzing yourself from making progress on the things you want to accomplish, try creating habits.
Habits go past thinking and straight to action.
An example of this can be brushing your teeth in the morning. You don't think about it; you just go to the restroom and brush your teeth. Assuming you routinely brush your teeth.
Creating habits helps automate the behavior you want to instill.
It can be waking up and going to the gym on certain days. It can be working at a specific time on your goals—experiment on how you can automate positive behaviors in your life.
Overthinking may lead you to worry about worst-case scenarios or the voice of comfort telling you not to take action today for a list of reasons every day.
Thinking leads to action.
Overthinking leads to inaction.
Habits skip thinking and automate taking action.
Example of Automating Progress On Goals
Working on personal goals related to learning or writing and exercising are things I want to incorporate more consistently in my life.
To automate this, I found that if I work on these goals in the morning before going to work (during the weekdays), I don't really need to think about it and am more consistent.
I wake up and go to the gym or work from my laptop. It also helps that I generally have the highest willpower in the morning since I am more of a morning person.
Having a designated day and time to work on these goals clears the need for me to think about when and what goal I will work on.
Unfortunately, things can come up that can derail you from falling into a routine. Sometimes self-inflicting, in my case, staying up late, is a big one, or some external reason.
If this is a frequent pattern, try to find what you can control to stick to a routine in which you progress toward your goals.
So whether it is going to the gym, learning a new language, writing and publishing content, or some other goal you have, try to automate this into your life so you don't start potentially overthinking and fall into the cycle of inaction.
If you don't have any goals or a framework to help you think of goals, I wrote a blog post here, in which I share a four-bucket approach I learned to create goals in different areas of your life.