Procrastination is a mechanism which people use to cope with the anxiety or stress involved in starting new tasks or completing old ones.
We often put our health and well-being on the back burner because we know that the lifestyle changes that it is going to take to improve ourselves both physically and mentally are most likely going to be difficult, time-consuming, and the results most likely won’t be immediate. Hell, I’d say that’s why we put most things in our life on the back burner.
We often procrastinate because our lives feel bloated with tasks and commitments and no matter how hard we work, dedication we put in, or commitment we give it won’t matter because there is just TOO MUCH sh*t going on. This inevitably leaves you to do nothing and maintain the status quo. Quietly going through with your normal routine and then asking yourself at the end of the day why you’re not making any progress towards goals or personal growth. This goes for all walks of life. Health, fitness, career, relationships, and adventure.
If you want to start making progress you have to be open to change, willing to just get started, and even risking temporary failure for long-term success.
Procrastination is like a credit card, it’s a lot of fun until you get the bill.
Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off NOW.
Unfortunately that can be our attitude sometimes when it comes to starting something new or finishing something old. Instant gratification and quick fixes rule the world around us. How many 7-minute ABS videos have you seen only to look right next to it to see 6-minute ABS?
Looking to start your own business leads to googling a business in a box and how to get rich quick.
You’re starv’n Marv’n and instead of taking 20 minutes to prepare a real meal you opt for something processed that can be thrown in the microwave for 3 minutes. Then when it’s time to eat the meal it’s engulfed shorter than the time it takes to cook the damn thing. Instead of actually savoring every bite, it’s practically swallowed whole.
You think about starting a fitness program and healthy eating plan but stop with the thinking part and never take action.
But why in the hell to we do this so often?
I recently read a book by Neil Fiore titled The Power of Now. A concept that I highly agree with (mostly because I can see myself doing it) is that we procrastinate in order to protect our self-worth. So basically you never get started because somehow and in some way your performance towards any given goal, task, or activity defines your self-worth.
This really can show up in any aspect of our life. From starting a conversation with someone to waking up a bit early to begin a body weight routine in order to improve our health. The funny thing is that too much procrastination eventually catches up to us. We can see it in our waist-lines, projects building up at work, or even our personal relationships beginning to suffer.
Aside from the psychological aspects of it I think it comes down to three things. Whenever I procrastinate…. like when I try to write some of these posts, ist usually has something to do with these.
1. Being unrealistic with regards to time Forgetting how long it can actually take to complete certain tasks like getting back into shape, building a healthy eating habit, or starting your own business. Going back to that instant gratification thing we expect things to start happening immediately just because we got started. It’s almost like we expect a pat on the back because we finally got our a** moving. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that.
But it goes both ways. I know for me I often tend to think I can get more done in a day then I actually can. Sleep… who needs sleep. I’ve got 24 hours to be productive…. yeah, right! I’ll haphazardly right down everything I want to get done in a day only to look at a “TO-DO” list that turns into a “NEVER GETS DONE” list. This usually is due to me being to vague about what it actually is that needs to get accomplished and having no sense of awareness about all the factors that may take up some time. I may schedule 45 minutes for a workout but I forget it takes me 30 minutes to get there, 10 minutes to warm-up, and 30 minutes to drive home.
2. Saying Yes when you should be saying No We say YES so often. It stems back to that feeling of self-worth. If we are able to do everything and be there for everyone it somehow proves we are a better person. But does it really? It usually just means we’re a person that now has a sh*t ton of YES on their plate. Most of which are things we feel like we have to do as opposed to things that we actually choose to do.
Take this little test over the text couple days. How many times in a conversation with someone or with yourself (or in your head, and no that’s not crazy) do you say “I have to do this?” Or “I must.” These are tell-tale signs we’re trying to do something either we really don’t want to do or maybe are scared to do.
When you’re doing one thing when you’d rather be doing something else you’ll feel resentment. You’re mind and body will then naturally try to avoid feeling this way and look for ways to procrastinate.
3. Perfectionism We often convince ourselves that there is no sense in doing something if it’s not going to be done perfectly. You might get frustrated when you first head to the gym and start learning how to lift weights. Maybe you’re struggling with perfecting your diet and decide to just quite instead.
The funny thing about perfectionists is that their often pessimists and believe they are not capable of achieving perfection in the first place so nothing ever gets started. The first steps when trying to learn something new like dancing can be brutal. It’s embarrassing, you suck, it’s extremely frustrating. Often when I think about trying something new these are the first thoughts that go through my head. In all honesty it’s what kept me from trying a few new things in my life for so long.
So how do you avoid this?: “One of these days I’m going to get help for my procrastination problem.”
and find more of this:
If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.
Remind yourself that setbacks are temporary. Some may last a little longer than others. And hell, some may be more difficult to overcome. But look outside your window. The worlds not coming to an end. Chances are the most important things in your life are still there. Just in case you do look outside and see the Earth splitting and fire coming from the sky chances are you’re not going to make it anyhow so there’s no need to stress out about it :)….. that’s a joke people.
Somedays will be better than others and on those days you will find it very difficult to keep your motivation high. Resistance will try to set in and plopping down on the couch is a much quicker solution than tackling that thing head on. Even if it feels to tough, not enough time, or you’re not in the mood find at least 5 minutes to work towards whatever it is that you want to accomplish. You want to build the habit of progress.
Anticipate success and reward good behavior If you are thinking about starting a project, tackling a goal, or embarking on a new adventure and expecting failure there’s a good chance you’ll never get started or like a 16-year-old learning to drive stick, stall at some point.
I’m not talking about being cocky here but be confident. Expect success, tell yourself you will deserve it for the commitment you are about to make. When I sit down to write sometimes what keeps me going are the comments a post receives or the emails I’ll get. That reward makes sitting down fingers to pad all worth while and often times keeps me from checking Facebook, email, or pretending I forgot something at the store.
If the task at hand is one that takes some time setting up check-point rewards is often a good idea. If you’re trying to add some muscle to your frame or trying to drop a little body fat, both can take a little while to achieve. Try setting up small rewards that celebrate your behavior rather than your results
By that I mean don’t focus so much on whether or not the scale moves up or down or if your bench press goes up. Those are things that are beyond your control. Celebrate the things you are in control of. Like you made it to the gym 5 times this week, you ate veggies ate every meal, or you remembered to take your fish oil every day this week.
Learn to say no It’s funny to think that we would need to learn how to do this but it’s true. Commit to things that are aligned with your values, virtues, and priorities. Play to your strengths because odds are that is how you will be most effective, helpful, and motivated to keep on keep’n on when procrastination rears its ugly mug.
Oh, and that test we took earlier about noticing when we say “I have to” Start saying “I choose to.” Make the goals you are working on things you actually want to do as opposed to things you have to do.
Make goals visual This might work for some and not so much for others but I am highly motivated through visually. When I make my goals visual and easy to see on a daily basis it somehow reinforces how important they are to me. So find a picture and post it. Write it out in big bold letters, look at it, and read it everyday.
Practice f*&#ing up every once in a while And no, you don’t have to purposely eat an entire carrot cake or shred some important documents you may need to turn in. It’s more about accepting that when we try something that is pretty damn hard there is a good chance we are going to f*ck it up at some point. This is magnified if we are trying something new.
Except that things sometimes get out of control. You can’t control what other people say, think, feel, or do. You can’t yell at the scale to see different numbers, and you can’t be raid your chicken breast for not providing you with adequate protein to support muscle gains.
Avoid playing the victim and ask yourself “what can I do right now that is going to help me get closer to success.”
Keep a “Ways I got Out of Doing Important Stuff” journal In the book The Now Habit it talks about keeping a log for a few days to see exactly how you spend your time. I am going to be honest, this is one of the more eye-opening things I have ever done. It helped me realized what I frick’n time waster I was.
I often felt I never had the time for anything. Then I kept a detailed journal of a few “days in the life of Justin” and found out that I was spending a good time doing… well…. nothing.
Write down what you are doing hour by hour. From the time you get up to the time you go to sleep and keep it up for a few days. It is an extremely tough test but well worth it. So if you get up at 5AM, brush your teeth and then find out from 5:15 to 6:00AM you scratched your butt, picked your nose, and counted the raindrops falling outside you might be able to find some time to get that workout in or start that side project.
Long story short or short story long
The majority of us live our lives with a fire cracker in our butts and it’s not until the fuse is lit that we say to ourselves “damn, I better get started.” Procrastination breeds more procrastination because things keep piling up and we feel to overwhelmed with starting because we have convinced ourselves that it’s just too much so why bother.
So if you open your email inbox answer the frick’n emails immediately and don’t let it fester. If you Want to get stronger start hitting the weights or pushing around your body. If you want to drop fat trade swap some of that bread for fresh veggies. Just get started.
Perfection is not needed to get results but getting started is.
What are some ways you all deal with procrastination?
What are some common things you do to procrastinate?