Everyone seems to do this to a certain extent but there is always a couple of us whom just put off on doing that task. Some people call it laziness while others unite in the greatness that is procrastination by they will do it tomorrow.. But sometimes tomorrow becomes a revolving door of I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve done this on many, many occasions and currently am doing it by not calling my bank to ask a simple question. Maybe its task aversion instead of procrastination…
Surprisingly procrastination could leaf to more distress in the future. I know how disappointing! It leads to stress, health problems and poorer performance. You end up with sleep issues and feelings of greater stressful regret then those who are not putting things off. To make matters worse the self-esteem is hindered with guilt, shame or self-critical thoughts due to putting those tasks off.
But if you struggle with putting things off, avoiding the task than you’re not alone as I have some tips you could try to get back on track:
1. Start Today and never look back.
Stepping out once per a day is getting you out of your comfort zone and is very crucial as you start out. I felt this way when I was trying to be more positive and say yes to things I would normally say no to like having a day in. When you have that urge and you told your friend that you were going to do something today then do it. Don’t wait because then your fear-laden excuses and sheer laziness will kick in and you will not start today. It can be something super small! Like you’re wanting to start waking up earlier or want to start the day right; simply have a glass of water to drink when you awaken. Just sit up and drink it. Or get up on your first alarm that you hear and get moving. This first step was always the hardest for me but here I am.. Not putting off writing a post and making sure I have coffee ready when I wake up where I just have to hit start.
2. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
If you feel that everything has to go the way you imagine and you’re not doing this due to this.. Then stop picturing those moments as your only making it harder on yourself to get going on this journey. Don’t be like me with trying to minimize my clothing and yet still holding on to stuff I can’t sell but I will not wear because I want to get through it all in one go. Just fill up one bag with that stuff and just throw it out. That’s what I do now because if I can realistically fill one bag with crap I know will not sell and I will never use nor wear then its trash. It’s literally trash.
4. Forgive yourself
“I should have started earlier” or “I just can’t seem to keep to my whims” is only going to make things worse and you will just be beating yourself up over the things you are trying to do to better your life. There was a study done called I forgive myself, now I can Study: How self-forgiveness for procrastinating can reduce future procrastination by Wohl, Pychyl & Bennett that says just forgiving yourself for things you procrastinated on in the past will help you begin on that task and help you stop putting it off.
So how do you forgive yourself and get past this procrastination? Well you start by figuring out what started your avoidance be it fear, stress, not having a good understanding of how to progress, lack of accountability, etc. You will want to address these issues by looking at them as obstacles like an exam you need to pass for the present or the future.
This means get a partner. Someone who will hold you accountability for getting what you need to do done and not wait any longer. Like that gym membership you had now for about four (4) months and the only time you went was the day you signed up and the day after that to work out then you never went back. Getting you a workout buddy or partner in crime will help you stay focused and on track. Set up a time to check-in regularly like once a week and let them know how you can help or that we should go to the gym after work because if they are free they will make you do it. A good partner will remind you of those past accomplishments like you lost 10 lbs so far or reasons why you made those changes in the first place. And don’t make this person be your significant other because this could create tension between you two.
6. No more excuses
Excuses.. Oh gee don’t go there. “I need to be in the mood.” “I will wait until I have time.” “I work better under pressure.” “I need X to happen before I can start.” sound familiar doesn’t it? Be honest with yourself and no more excuses will go a long way.
Write down your goals and give yourself a deadline because without a deadline these goals can be put off indefinitely. Now break this goal such as losing 40 lbs in a year into smaller pieces because this big or long time frame for this change the more overwhelming it can be. Break it down into little bite-size steps and you do not have to know every step of the way but just the next steps immediately ahead like getting that membership. Your next steps will be obvious as you grasp little ones on the way like going once a week to the gym to two times a week until you’re at 3 or 4 times a week which is a decent amount. You got this!
Now… rewards.. Set up this reward system to ensure you celebrate the progress and small successes you had along the way like you been going to the gym consistently 2-4 times a week for about 3 months now. Do not let yourself binge that new Netflix show, check your social media, or get lunch until you complete what you’ve scheduled. I think that deserves a huge reward. A cheat day where you eat and drink everything, fun activities with friends but make sure you acknowledge your progress and effort. So instead of using these tasks and distractions to procrastinate, make them contingent on you actually finishing what you schedule yourself to do.