This is the number one thing you resort to whenever you’re feeling super anxious about how your life will turn out and how inevitable you perceive failure to be. You spend hours trying to craft a bulletproof plan for yourself, yet it becomes counterproductive when you do way more planning than actually finishing the things you’ve written on your so-called masterplan.
2. Frequently going down Internet rabbit holes
But not just any rabbit hole. When you worry so much about the future, you deliberately Google anything that pertains to global catastrophes, things politicians are failing miserably at, the effects of overpopulation, the national debt, hostile foreign relations, economic collapse, and even the darkest of conspiracy theories. You have a borderline obsessive fixation with the most disastrous events that others predict may happen in the near future.
3. Allowing your mind to run around in hypothetical circles
You create hypothetical situations of a horrifying future in your mind, and it becomes a destructive cycle of make believe, which seems so real that it could happen tomorrow. The root of all this cerebral madness is an overwhelming fear of losing everything and never ever being able to build yourself back up again.
4. Putting off your passion project “for tomorrow”
… until half a decade has passed and you haven’t even started it because you worry that you’re not qualified or prolific enough to pursue anything beyond academics or your day job. You’re also holding yourself back because of how “unrealistic” pursuing your passion is and you’re so afraid of failing or looking incompetent compared to other talented people who have succeeded in the field you’re trying to break into. You predict that passion will lead to failure, despite how much you enjoy that activity and know you have potential to be even better at it than you are now.
5. Believing that there’s some ideal person you have to keep up with
You rarely admit this to anyone (if ever), but you have constructed an ideal person in your mind that’s always ahead of you, and your plans involve trying to reach that person’s skyrocketing levels of achievement as well as an inner state of zen that seems too ethereal for this world. You feel resigned and unmotivated whenever you see how you’re still nowhere near this imaginary person as you’d like to be.
6. Staying stuck in the past
When you view the upcoming years with dread, you also think about the worst years of your life, because you somehow still believe that you’re doomed to repeat the same mistakes out of fear that you’ll never step out of your comfort zone or break free from the self-sabotaging ways of your past self.
7. Hate-following people who have what you don’t
Whenever you feel overwhelmed about the future, you resort to a very detrimental coping mechanism that involves scrolling through the social media feeds of people who are way ahead of you and seem to have their shit together, which influences you to believe that their futures must be more secure than yours. While it can be motivational to take bits and pieces of inspiration from others, you take it to the negative extreme by putting yourself down whenever you see how accomplished and happy other people look.
8. Making yourself feel guilty for stopping to slow down and enjoy life
You put a tremendous amount of guilt on yourself during those rare occurrences in which you actually slow down and take a break from all the hustle. Even when you’re recharging, you can’t help but feel guilty for doing things that aren’t directly related to your goals, because you feel like if you slow down, you’ll never be able to “catch up with everyone else,” which isn’t true. There’s absolutely no mandated finish line you need to cross by a certain age, and it’s essential for you to take a break when you feel so burnt out from rushing onto the next big goal without appreciating how much you’ve done already.