As I started to write this post, I thought, “I’ll just do the Sudoku first.” I caught myself in the act, marched to my laptop and put my fingers to the keyboard.
You probably already know that I’ve recently launched the Thinner Sparkle blog…you’re reading it now :)
It houses a bunch of non-diet weight loss wisdom where I get to introduce you to your own mind – and how it operates – so you get to change your body.
What you probably didn’t realise is that I’ve wanted to create this blog for at least the past two years, and I hadn’t been doing it.
Two years. 730 days. A. Long. Time.
Because I couldn’t quite figure out the ‘right’ way to do it.
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way forward, and told myself that once I’d sorted out how to organise it, then I’d make it happen, but I never seemed to be at a point where I could start writing.
What I didn’t realise is that that is my preferred flavour of procrastination.
“When I get clear on exactly ‘how’ I’m going to do this thing, as in, when I have a good enough plan then I’ll ‘get started’”.
Unfortunately, the more I tried to figure out how I was going to do it, the more I didn’t get started.
And time galloped on.
Until I remembered (for the umpteenth time) that the best place for me to discover ‘how’ is by taking action.
As it turns out, the only way to ever write a blog is by … well … writing it.
So I started writing articles and the blog started taking shape before my eyes. It turns out that there were (and still are) issues to be solved and things I am figuring out along the way, but I discovered how while in the process of doing.
The traditional school of thought is that procrastinators are lazy. These are probably the same people who think you’ll fall of the edge of the earth if you sail out of sight of land.
Most people experience procrastination at some time in their lives. It isn’t about laziness. It’s about staying safe.
It’s about fear.
It’s about perfectionism.
It’s about indecision.
It’s about second-guessing yourself.
It’s about confusion.
It’s about overwhelm.
The P word is a symptom of issues playing around in your unconscious mind. Internal barriers and limiting beliefs are hard at work. The result is inaction … and lots of cups of tea.
If you’re ready to put an end to procrastination – these four steps are for you.
Do. Them. Now. Nike Girl.
1) Identify something you’ve been wanting to do, create or accomplish, but have been putting off making a start (or started and paused).
Since you’re reading this article it’s probably going to be around weight loss. Other common examples are:
- Getting fit
- Changing jobs
- Becoming a non-smoker
- Writing a book
- Starting your own business
- Finding a partner
2) Discover the story you’ve been telling yourself in order not to take action.
- “I don’t know how to do it”
- “I just need to work on this plan a bit more”
- “I’ll get it wrong”
- “I don’t know enough / have enough skill yet”
- “I’m not good enough”
- “I’m afraid of screwing up and looking / feeling stupid”
Chances are you have a preferred method for avoiding taking action. In my case it’s the “I just need to work on this plan a bit more” story.
The bad news is that this has tripped me up more times than I care to mention.
The good news is that having identified this as my preferred method, I’m wise to it. It still catches me out from time to time, but not for nearly as long as it used to.
Except when it does.
3) Ask yourself what would happen if you started taking action anyway?
While I wouldn’t want someone performing open heart surgery on me if they didn’t have enough skill, the reality is that most things people aspire to don’t have the same life or death consequences.
In fact, in most cases, the process of learning is supported and enhanced by taking action.
Because we learn by doing. So much so that …
You learn things by taking action that you can’t learn any other way.
When you take action, you’re interacting directly with the environment, and receiving input at a conscious and an unconscious level. Whenever you take action, you’re learning, and when you’re taking action on something new, you’re learning at a very high level.
For instance, there are things I’ve figured out within hours of writing the first article for the blog that I hadn’t been able to sort out in two years of planning.
4) What’s an action you can take within the next 24 hours to move you closer to your goal?
Allow yourself to be accompanied by your butterflies, your fears, your doubts, your indecision and any other demons who care to show up … and
Taking action isn’t always pleasant.
For some of us… it’s very unfamiliar. Get leverage on yourself by focusing on the benefits, all the good stuff you’ll accomplish if you take that one tiny step right now.
Even a tiny step in the direction you want to go moves you a closer. In fact, the most extraordinary and seemingly complex accomplishments have been built upon countless tiny steps.
And the great thing about steps is that you only need to take one at a time.
And then another…
So what have we learned?
We’ve learned that procrastination is caused by focusing on our fear and pain rather than focusing on the love and pleasure we will gain by creating the change (whatever the change is for you).
Every day with my private weight loss clients I see examples of how the procrastination habit prevents them from ever having the health and happiness they so desperately seek.
Heavens…I see it in my own life … two years, anybody?!!!
Since it’s such an insidious habit I want to give you as many tools as possible so you can reeeeally nail it. So, I have done two things.
One is a procrastination worksheet. Use this to arm yourself with specific questions so you can tackle it head on.
Also since I get so many questions around the P word, the next post is 12 Sure-fire Ways To Busting Procrastination with very specific strategies you can apply immediately.
I trust this has helped you see that if you’re skilled in the art of procrastination, it is something you can change.
In fact, it’s a must.
Procrastination steals from you. It robs you of your time, your passion, your courage, and it makes you feel small, scared and powerless.
So, go on… just do it, ladies :)
Love etc, Avril
There. I did it. I’ve completed the article. And now, I don’t even want to do the Sudoku!