Mental obsession is a tricky thing. I had an acting teacher once say, “if you were driving to Chicago you wouldn’t keep saying over and over every few minutes on the drive there ‘I’m going to Chicago.’, ‘I’m on my way to Chicago.’, ‘I am driving to Chicago!!!’.” Yet, my mind sometimes works like that. Whether it be things I haven’t gotten done, or things that I’m reliving from my past, or just tying my shoes these thoughts get caught like a broken record.

Sometimes, I don’t even notice that it’s happening. Once I do notice though, I know only one sure fire way to get out of the mental loop: Doing the next right thing.

Doing the next right thing doesn’t have to be some upstanding moral achievement either, it can be as simple as:

  • taking a shower
  • eating some food
  • washing the dishes
  • doing some jumping jacks
  • making a list
  • calling a friend

Then again, doing the next right thing can also mean taking the reins and really getting shit done. Sometimes, it’s just mustering up the mental will to take the first step. Either way, staying in your head won’t get you anywhere—fast.

So, the next time you find yourself in that obsessive mental loop, close your eyes, take a long deep breath, and ask yourself what the next right thing to do is. Simple.