Procrastination never won a race, received a promotion or changed the outcome of any situation.
I don’t remember who said that, but it’s spot-on! So what causes procrastination? Why do we avoid doing what we need to do to achieve a goal?
One of the biggest things I used to procrastinate on was paying my bills. Not much of a goal, but it really sticks out in my mind as one example of when procrastination bit me in the behind! I was going through a really tough time financially, and the thought of even opening these bills that I couldn’t pay, caused me so much anxiety that I just avoided it altogether.
Well, that was dumb.
The result of that, predictably, was that the bills grew because of late fees! So ultimately I ended up having to pay more! I could have called the creditors and worked out a payment plan, but I procrastinated on that, too, because of fear.
Now I know, of course, that fear is one reason we procrastinate.
Another reason is the notion of wanting to get everything perfect. This usually applies to big goals that are overwhelming. Some people will procrastinate, waiting for the “perfect time” to take action.
So what’s underneath that desire to get it all perfect?
Again… fear. Fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of being rejected or ridiculed…
We all know that action vaporizes fear. But how do we get started? How do we get the momentum rolling, and avoid the siren call of procrastination which makes us feel good “right now” but terrible later?
Infuse it with a sense of urgency.
After all, your dreams are important.
Yes, they are!! But you’re procrastinating. So fire yourself up with a little urgency. Make that goal matter.
If a fireman procrastinated about going into a burning building to save a child, it could mean the difference between life and death.
If a policeman drove 30 mph to the scene of an accident, it could mean the difference between life and death.
If you don’t pay your bills on time (or call the creditor and make payment arrangements that you can handle) you will end up having to pay a lot more later.
If you don’t take the steps toward your goal, it will not happen for you. And that’s really, really sad. You truly would not even have the idea in your head, if it weren’t something you could not achieve. It’s your idea, your dream, and it’s just waiting for you to take the first step!
So take this to heart: you don’t have to get it perfect – you just have to get it started. – Read that again!!
A baby doesn’t do perfect pirouettes when she is taking her first steps. How are you different from a baby except that you tell yourself you might fail? If a baby told herself, “nah, walking is hard, I don’t know how, I’ll wait ‘til I’m 10 to start because people might laugh at me…” would she ever pull herself up and walk?
You know it. It’s you, telling yourself you can’t…
So tell yourself, “I can”. You will have to learn skills. Whatever. You will stumble and make mistakes. Whatever. Keep going. You will be imperfectly perfect just for having started.
People will admire you for having the courage to start. Sure, there will always be those who disapprove or express jealousy, but who cares? That’s their own limitations!
Write down a small thing you can do every day to move yourself closer to achieving a goal. Make yourself do it, no matter what. I’m not talking about any big actions – just something that takes less than 5 minutes.
Create the habit of action, through these micro-actions. Once it’s a habit to take action, you won’t procrastinate anymore. And your goals will be stamped, “complete.”
Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy – Wayne Dyer