Are you someone who thrives on having an established plan, but freaks out trying to actually make said plan? Do you sit down to sort through your thoughts and end up saying "lol nope" and hiding again? Does the future make you want to curl up in a ball with some emo music that describes your inner turmoil playing in the background? Don't worry, friend, I feel your pain.
So I had an idea. Why don't we use something like cognitive restructuring to view these situations in a completely different way?
I'm a psych major so the thought of cognitive restructuring isn't something new to me, but chances are if you've ever taken an intro to psychology class then you've probably heard of it. If you haven't, it's a relatively simple process: Cognitive restructuring is the idea of taking a negative stressor in your life and changing the thought process behind that into something positive. It's something that's used mainly with anxiety and OCD in therapy, and I can't say for sure if it 100% works for those situations, but in a much more simple setting I think it could be useful.
For example, if you're a senior in college and preparing to graduate you could be drowning in stress from all the decisions looming in your not-so-distant-anymore future. Do you go straight into grad school? Do you take time off to work? Do you even want a career in this field? If you go to graduate school, where the heck will you even go? All these things seem really scary and awful, but if you step back and look at the situation differently, you could see a whole new set of positives. The sooner you finish school, the sooner you could be in the career you have a passion for. If you decide to take time off, you could save money to potentially be more prepared for the financial expense that a higher education will cost. With the career, you won't ever know what you really want to do until you try something. If you decide this career isn't what you thought you wanted to do for the rest of your life, that's okay! It doesn't mean the last 4+ years were a waste of your life. There could be more uses for your degree than you ever considered before.
In something like relationships it's easy to be intimidated by all the possible outcomes. What if it doesn't last? What if this could potentially be the person you spend forever with? How do you even know? First step, maybe don't go in with the thought that you have to get married. That's only going to cause more harm than good. Secondly, if you're afraid of the commitment aspect, I'm sorry but that's never going to be something you just get over until you put yourself out there. It's scary and overwhelming, but you'll never know if it's something good until you go for it. Look at it this way; would you rather be with someone you were scared of losing or someone you couldn't care less either way what happened? It's amazing how just one little thought like that can suddenly make everything easier to handle.
Those are just two examples, but there are so many more situations this idea could be used in. If you interview for a job but don't get it, don't look at it as the worst possible outcome. Look at it as at least you got the experience and the opportunity to even try for that chance. If a relationship doesn't work out and the world just completely sucks, maybe that person was intended to be in your life to teach you something at that time but wasn't meant to be a part of your forever. If your body decides to grow an extra bone and you have to suddenly have it removed and are stuck for 4 weeks in a cast (weird stuff happens, man) at least now there's time for all those things you procrastinated on all summer.
Honestly, this is basically just looking at outcomes more logically instead of giving in to the irrational fears. And that's pretty much all there is to it.