October 26, 2020

The Next Right Thing

Mental Health & Wellbeing

My husband and I recently moved to a new home. Given that this is my tenth move in twelve years, you would think I would be a pro. Sure, I’ve gotten way more efficient at packing and can usually visualize where I want things to go, however, it’s still just as overwhelming with each move. Insert a baby into the mix, and there is a whole new set of challenges.

I don’t know about you, but the kitchen is the one room I dread unpacking. I have some amazing friends who know this about me and have unpacked my kitchen for me at several places in the past (get friends like that!). Our most recent move, however, left us unpacking on our own given that we are in the middle of a global pandemic. My parents were here, but one was off wrangling the baby, while the other was getting started on our seemingly endless project list (saints!).


I sat in the kitchen looking at all the boxes and was simply overwhelmed. I would take a few items out and have to walk away because I just didn’t know where to begin. I would try to start only to find myself giving up.

How many times in life have you found yourself in situations like that?
Completely overwhelmed, facing decision paralysis, and questioning everything that led you to this point in the first place.

It sounds silly, but I was paralyzed by figuring out where our dang cups would go.
As much as I wanted to know the final home for all of our kitchen gadgets, I took a deep breath and started putting items on shelves and in drawers. I had to remind myself that I could move things around. Nothing was permanent. I could change my mind.

The reality is, I wouldn’t fully know what would make sense until I started living in our home and using things. I was so focused on wanting to get it right the first time, that I missed making any progress at all.

The Process

Sometimes, that’s true of our decisions, isn’t it? We are so focused on getting it “right” that we miss the process. The process of learning what works and what doesn’t. The process of readjusting. The process of learning more about ourselves. As messy as the process can feel, that’s where the beauty and growth lies.

When we give time and space to reevaluate things, we become more in tune with ourselves and what we need. What works in one season may not work in another. We won’t always know what makes sense until we arrive somewhere we want to be…or somewhere we don’t.

The Next Right Thing

I’m not proposing we all make rash, quick decisions–we absolutely need to use wisdom in thinking through things–What are the pros and cons? What do I really want/need? How will this decision impact myself and others?

I am, however, saying that if you find yourself overwhelmed in making a decision or feeling paralyzed about what to do next, just do the next right thing.

In my case, the next right thing was putting the dishes somewhere.
Figuring out the next right step might involve other people–inviting someone you trust into your decision-making process. When we are overwhelmed, it can be hard to think clearly and rationally, so having an outside perspective can be helpful.


The reality is, there are only a handful of decisions in life that are irreversible. There is freedom to change your mind. There is freedom to start or stop something. There is freedom to choose what’s healthy for you in this season.

Once you make the next right step, you have the opportunity to re-evaluate.

  • Is this still working?
  • Do I want to continue moving in this direction?
  • Do I need to adjust anything?
  • Am I feeling at peace with this decision?
  • Is this healthy for my mind, body, and soul?

Next Steps

Making decisions can feel confusing and, at times, paralyzing. If you need help figuring out the next right step for a situation in your life, reach out to a therapist at Optimum Joy today. We would love to navigate the decision-making process with you.

Written by therapist Natalie Hu

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