Do you sometimes struggle with reaching your goals? Do you sometimes delay important tasks till the last minute? Or, have you been constantly putting off something that you know you need to start today? This habit has been termed procrastination. Procrastination has been around since time immemorial. If you want to overcome this habit, there are some very simple things that you can do. However, it will require your dedication, commitment and readiness to change. Continue reading to discover four simple steps to overcome procrastination.
Definition of Procrastination
To put it simply, procrastination is the act of postponing or delaying the things that you need to get done. James Clear’s article presented the ancient origin of procrastination. It can be traced back to the Greek Philosophers like Aristotle and Socrates. They characterised it as Akrasia. This is where an individual lacks the self-control to do what is required.
During my formative years, my mother often warned us about procrastination through this wise old saying – ‘never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today’. I’m sure many of you reading this blog post today can remember that saying. Nevertheless, we become adults and we tend to fall into the procrastination trap. There are many reasons that can be attributed for this. I share four common ones below.
Why do we procrastinate?
In my opinion, procrastination is a problem that concerns most, if not all of us, but at varying degrees. It is more of a struggle for some, than others. If we search ourselves we will be able to uncover some of the things that we have been procrastinating about. For example, we procrastinate about beginning an exercise program; starting our business; writing that book; walking the dog; redecorating and the list goes on.
For me personally, I am a goal setter. I enjoying putting that tick when I complete a task. However, there are times that I do procrastinate. For instance, I have started an exercise program, but there are days I put off leaving the house to go jogging. What about you? Can you think of three things right now that you have been procrastinating about?
Listed below are four (4) common reasons why people procrastinate.
- Fear of failure – Sometimes it seems easier to completely avoid doing a task, than to attempt and fail. However, it is important to note that this fear of failure is a belief that you uphold in your mind. This is not based on fact, because you haven’t even attempted the task yet. Such limited beliefs can hinder you from overcoming challenges, learning new things and making progress in your life.
- Focus on pain – we sometimes tend to focus on the pain or difficulty when we are confronted with a new and challenging task. Take for example, my kids are often quick to cry out – ‘it is too hard’ when they are doing something challenging. I stop them immediately from speaking such words, because, they develop into limiting beliefs, which eventually become barriers to success.
- Lack of confidence – a lack of self-confidence and self-doubt are two critical factors which impede us from progressing in life. It can be beneficial to engage in self-talk and exercises to grow your confidence.
- Laziness – the only way you can achieve personal development is by being honest with yourself. If laziness is one of your short-comings, then it is time to deal with it. Stop hiding behind that mask! At this point, it is important to make a distinction between laziness and relaxation. Laziness is not relaxation. Laziness is purely an unwillingness to do anything; whereas, relaxation is taking the time out to rest your mind and body. If you struggle with this, write a commitment statement to change and implement the steps below to overcome procrastination.
How can you overcome procrastination?
Overcoming procrastination demands sheer willpower and determination. I strongly believe that we can do anything that we put our minds to. However, we must be consistent. Here are four simple steps to overcoming procrastination.
- Use the SMART method to set goals. Here, your goals will be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely. In this way, you approach your goals with clarity and confidence because they have been broken down into smaller manageable tasks.
- Complete your most difficult tasks first. Additionally, allocate a certain amount of time per task. This works wonders in helping to keep you focused.
- Reward yourself – I love the discussion that James Clear presented on the conflict between the Present and Future Self. The Future Self sets goals that are accomplished by the present self. However, the present self enjoys immediate rewards. There are simple things you can do to reward yourself for completing your tasks and achieving your goals. I enjoy a hot bubble bath or some down time in the garden.
- Go EASY on yourself – try not to punish yourself if you do procrastinate. I am a firm believer of learning from our mistakes and moving one. Take every day one step at a time and celebrate your small wins!
If this post was helpful, feel free to drop a comment or share it with your friends. Have you struggled with procrastination? Share with me your proven steps to change? Have a lovely and rewarding weekend.