THOUGHTS

Loophole for fellow overthinkers

5,4,3,2,1…click, bought, done

Agnes
RESONATES
Published in
3 min readMay 2, 2024

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Digital illustration of a girl with a braid making a kissing face
Artwork by the author (Agnes). Find more illustrations on my Instagram!

I don’t know where he got it from, if it’s the next chapter from the book he recommended, if he heard it from a friend or saw it on an Instagram clip. I’d quote the source but I forgot it. Somewhere, my brother read or heard that if you’re struggling to start a chore or task, you should count back.

Apparently, there’s something in how we are wired that makes us respond to the countdown. We are primed to take action, like ready, set, go. It’s a little push, but sometimes that’s all you need.

5,4,3,2,1 I‘ll get out of bed now

5,4,3,2,1 I’m out the door

5,4,3,2,1 into the freezing water

5,4,3,2,1 fake it till you make it, smile and head into the hour-long call

And it works for all sorts of things: a trick, a gimmick.

Sometimes it’s not even that we don’t want to do a thing, it’s just that we overthinkers tend to unlock questions: what ifs, uncomfortable maybes, and pebble-in-shoe-shaped buts that keep us from just doing things. Or make it so that simple tasks somehow stretch over time. That’s when you count. 3,2,1 if you are one of the brave ones, 5,4,3,2,1 if like me, you need the extra seconds of prep time.

Since my brother shared this tidbit, I’ve been applying it. Not too often, not too much. I don’t want to burn it, as if scared I’ll run out. But now and then… 5,4,3,2,1

A couple of weeks ago, I got home after a very long day in a seemingly short month and I was all turned around. I took a beer from the fridge, sat at my desk, and stared out the window, looking for answers in the clouds like a child looking for Waldo.

The trip I’ve been intending to take has been on my to-do list longer than I care to admit. More impulse than conscious thought, I opened a new tab and started playing around with the dates, and then, inevitably, the questions, the what ifs, uncomfortable maybes, and pebble-in-shoe-shaped buts. Is this too long? Click, edit, refresh. Is this too short to do it all? Click, edit, refresh. The numbers bled together and I saw myself closing the tab like all the other times.

And then 5,4,3,2,1, bought the ticket, done.

I sat and sipped my beer and waited for the panic-at-the-desk moment, but it didn’t come. It hadn’t actually been a reckless impulse, it hadn’t been a thoughtless act. I’d already spent so much time distilling what I wanted, it was just that when the moment came to click and lock it down, I always hesitated.

Sometimes we don’t want to do it, because it’s a chore or an activity that holds little to no joy. Sometimes we hesitate because it’s a choice, and we’re maybe scared of making the “wrong” one, of missing something or being too rash. Sometimes we hesitate because it’s a challenge, we think and overthink and doubt if we’re up to the task, forgetting that it’s often easier to edit and adjust than it is to start.

A trick, a gimmick, a push, a prod in the right direction. It’s been working for me. Not too often, not too much. I don’t want to burn it, in case it runs out. Just now and then… for chores and choices and challenges: 5,4,3,2,1

This article is solely for informational purposes and represents the writer’s personal opinion. Please seek professional advice if required.

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Agnes
RESONATES

Slow runner, fast walker. I have dreamed in different languages. I read a lot. Yes, my curls are real.