Why you overthink starting something

When you make a change in your life such as starting a new hobby, job, project, or routine it can be scary, intimidating, and overwhelming. You may end up putting off something you want to start or get stuck overthinking and never end up actually starting.

One of the difficulties of being human is coming to terms with the fact that there will always be unknown and expected things happen no matter how much we plan and prepare.

What you can do: figure out what is making it hard to start.

Starting something can be vulnerable

Starting something is a leap into the unknown, it is being OK with imperfection, change, and hard decisions.

Before we start something there are a lot of “what-ifs” that make us doubt ourselves. We may ask ourselves:

What if don’t do it right?

What if something comes up that I didn’t plan for?

What if it doesn’t work out?

What if I find out I’m not good at what I want to do?

The reality is any of those things may happen, that’s part of trying something new. When we try something new it is our chance to be vulnerable and attempt something that may not work out. It can be a hard truth to learn that we are not good at something or something is not our true passion. But that truth allows us to better understand ourselves and grow.

Why it is hard to start

There are many reasons why you are having a hard time starting. Below are some of the bigger reasons to help you think through your specific situation. Each reason has an example of the thought process showing what is keeping someone from starting.

You feel you are not prepared

You may feel that you are not physically or mentally prepared. Starting something new means you will be facing new situations and possibly meeting new people. 

We want things to go smoothly so we plan and prepare as much as possible. The reality is there is not a way to be completely prepared. There is also often not a defined moment when you know that you have prepared enough and are ready to start. You can easily get caught up in preparing and never get to the next part, actually starting.


I want to learn how to draw, but there are so many different tools out there I don’t know which one to go with. Also I don’t know what style I want to try and there are so many video tutorials out there. I don’t want to start until I know exactly what I want to do.

You’re scared

Starting something new means being vulnerable and getting out of your comfort zone can be hard. It means continually challenging yourself, dealing with judgement or unacceptance from others, and making mistakes.

We allow other people to have a lot of power over us, but we can take that power back. We can empower ourselves to take risks and try new things. Others have a limited view of our life, but we see the full picture of who we are and who we want to be.


I’m scared that if someone sees my drawings they will make fun of me. I’m worried that I am not good at drawing and I will never be able to be good at drawing. I also don’t want others to see me fail. I don’t want to start because I know I won’t be very good right away.

You don’t know how to start

In the very beginning stages of wanting to try something new there’s a lot we don’t know and that can include how to even begin. You may think what you want to do is too complicated, not something you are capable of, or not something you are ready to do.

You can overthink starting something before you have done the research into how to start. Once you have an idea of what it takes, you can then determine how and if it fits into your life.


Are there certain tools that are better for beginners? Do I just find sometime I like and try to draw it? What if how I start is different than how others start, does that mean I won’t be able to get better?

You don’t know if you have the time or money to start

Before you have even fully looked into what it takes to start something you may have decided that it’s not something you can do right now.

This could be a stalling technique, or fear based, or possibly your brain telling you that you actually don’t have the time or energy to spend on something new.

But, the only way to determine if you can try something new is to look into what it takes and see if it realistically fits into your life. 


I want to try drawing, but I don’t have much money to put into this interest right now. I don’t know how much I will be able to do with the money I have. How much money do supplies cost? Maybe I shouldn’t even try drawing because eventually I’ll need to buy more supplies.

You already have enough (or too much) going on

Your reluctance to start something may stem from the fact that you already have a lot on your plate. You may have found something you really want to take on, but realistically it doesn’t fit into your day/life.

You may overthink starting because it’s not something that you are able to do at this time.


When would I practice drawing? I might be able to make time in the afternoon, but I would need to move other things around. I know I’ll have more time in a few months, should I try and move things around now or just wait?

Ask yourself – What is stopping me from starting?

Use the list above to think about why you are not starting.

If you had to explain to yourself or someone else why you’re not starting something, what would you say?

You don’t have to come up with something right away, but keep that question in the back of your head. Don’t rush it to try and provide yourself with an answer to the question. Take the time to come up with the actual reason you are not starting. The only way to figure out how to start, and if you should start, is by being honest with yourself.

List the ways that you could start

Think of this as a stream of consciousness. Don’t hold your thoughts back because you’re not sure if that’s the best way or even a way to start. Let your brain be free and creative as you think about all the possible ways you could start.

List small step, big steps, easy steps, and hard steps. List the most basic first step to an over-simplified starting place. Just get your brain thinking about all the possible ways to start.

This is a no wrong answers zone, just a place for you to brainstorm without judgement.

Don’t be afraid to write your list down, this doesn’t need to be something you keep around. Once your done writing down places you could start you can get rid of the list, keep all of it, or just keep parts of it. 



To start drawing I could: sign up for a course, watch videos online, research drawing styles, look into the cost of supplies, see what the best beginner supplies would be, pick up a pencil and just draw, hire someone to teach me, try doodling in a notebook, buy new notebook and pens, travel to Italy and sit in a museum for inspiration.

Figure out one thing you can do to start

Once you have primed your brain, bring it down to a more realistic level and think about what you can actually do to start. Maybe you can use your list for reference or maybe you had to get those ideas out before figuring out a true starting point.

Don’t feel that you need to think of a whole plan and multiple steps to take. Focus on just the one first small step you feel you can realistically take. This is your time to come up with a low stakes, low risk starting point. Make it simple, make it easy, make it your first step to starting something new.



I already have paper and pencils in my house that I can use. Before I spend money I should figure out if I want to pursue this hobby. I’m going to look up “beginner drawing tutorial” online and pick one to follow.

It’s OK to not start

As you work towards figuring our where and how to begin, remember that it’s OK to not start.

While it is important to get out of your comfort zone, don’t force yourself to start something you do not have the mental energy or money to start.

You may have researched how to start something and realized it’s just not for you. You may look at your schedule and see you don’t have a place where it fits. You may look at your long or short-term plans and realize it doesn’t fit into them.

You are not letting anyone, even yourself, down by not starting something. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to not push ourselves too far. Be kind to yourself and respect your limits.

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