Finding time to accomplish the things that you perpetually postpone would be a wonderful triumph, wouldn’t it? We are at the point in the year when our well-intentioned resolutions are really feeling the test of time. Do you find yourself rationalizing right about now? What reasons do you give yourself for postponing, or dropping, those goals that seemed so positive and doable a couple of weeks ago?
To stop procrastinating, the most important step you can take is to realistically examine the role of procrastination in your life. Ask yourself … “Do I truly want to stop procrastinating?”
What pops into your mind? Do you genuinely want to change this pattern, or was your first thought that everyone says that procrastination is a “bad habit” and stopping it is what you “should” do?
Next, try doing deeper with this brief exercise:
Take at least 5 minutes of quiet time and think about the extent of procrastination in your life. Be as concrete and specific as possible. Remember tasks that you have put off. Don’t be judgmental; just let yourself see the facts.
Not everyone is a procrastinator, but if you are, you need to be fully aware of its frequency and consequences. Procrastination is one of the toughest behavior patterns to change, leaving behind a trail of failed diets, dusty treadmills, too-high credit card bills, and cluttered desks.
Now that you can see your procrastination landscape, let’s go deeper, still …
Take another five minutes. Sit comfortably. Focus on the role that procrastination plays in your life. What “benefits” do you believe it provides? Make sure you are completely honest with yourself – and, again, don’t judge!
When you’re through, you’ll be able to rank the importance of stopping procrastination … for YOU. Use a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 – 2 meaning “not truly important, ” 4 – 5 meaning “very important” and 3 meaning “you are not sure.”
If you rank stopping procrastinating as 1-2, it isn’t a high priority, and this isn’t the time to make it a personal goal.
If your ranking came in as a 3, some more exploration will be helpful. Is your motivation a “should”? Do you think that successful people don’t procrastinate … or believe others think less of you because you procrastinate? If your motivation comes from outside of yourself you are likely to run into trouble with your follow-through.
If you ranked “stopping procrastinating” as a 4-5 then you are motivated and ready to take steps to make this change real!
To help you along the path, identify some cues that tell you when you are procrastinating? Write them down and review then each morning. As soon as you become aware that you are moving toward procrastination, you can take action to change that pattern for yourself. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back every time you make a choice to NOT procrastinate!
As you can see, the key, if you want to stop procrastinating is to identify the source of your motivation. When the desire for change comes from inside, you are much more likely to succeed in making the changes you want and need to!
Ready to give your procrastination the heave ho? Don’t delay!