Procrastination can keep you stuck for years. Its origin is based in the core feeling of fear. It keeps you from achieving an end goal you desire to accomplish. If you continue to stop yourself from getting what you want done, you could end up frustrated year after year and never get the satisfaction of having completed what you dreamed of doing.
How Can I Recognize When I’m Procrastinating?
Procrastination and resistance still gets to me. Whenever I sit down to complete a report, I start to find myself wanting to do other things like research, draw, or write. My mind spins with so many other things I could be doing. Ever since I discovered the secret to ending procrastination, I can focus my mind back on what I’m doing within 5 minutes or less.
But, how do you notice when you’re procrastinating? That’s the trick!
Procrastination reveals itself most often when you want to change your habits. If you want to do things a different way, something that is out of your routing. It could be that you want to try something new or you have to call that family member who is always so negative to wish them a happy birthday, you’re doing something you usually wouldn’t do.
Doing something new or out of your normal routine can be uncomfortable. It produces negative feelings and makes you wonder why you had the desire to do something different in the first place.
However, successfully handling resistance is important if you want to get things done. Those that give in to procrastination are the same people that struggle with life.
Resistance can strike when you’re thinking about going to the gym, working on a report for work, calling the in-laws, or mowing the grass. There is usually a thought behind why you’re procrastinating. However, you may only notice the feeling that you don’t want to do something.
It usually sounds like this:
- I don’t feel like it.
- I don’t want to.
- I’m too tired to do that.
The Secrets to Overcoming Procrastination
Here’s a few tips to help you take the reigns of your procrastination and get things done:
1. Realize that it’s just a feeling in your body. Your brain is excellent at dissuading you from doing things it considers dangerous on some level. You may have some conflicts with what you are trying to achieve due to past experiences. That’s why you may feel uncomfortable about completing the task at hand. Just recognize your resistance when it comes up and realize that it’s only a feeling. It’ll go away as you move forward through the task.
2. Observe your feelings. One of the best ways to lessen the effect of resistance to completing a task is to look at it objectively. As a scientist would do to test things and see the result, you might think to yourself, “Hmm, isn’t that interesting? I think about going for a run and I get a slight queasy feeling high in my stomach.”
Continue to observe how you feel about completing tasks as you go through with them anyway. The negative feeling will begin to dissipate.
3. Do it anyway and avoid running away from completing the task. One example of running away is distracting yourself. Depending on your habits, you might turn on the TV, get on the internet, text a friend, or eat a cookie. What I recommend you do is to sit with your discomfort until it subsides. Running away just reinforces the pattern of allowing resistance to stop you.
4. Remove any distractions. However, don’t allow the process of removing distractions to become a distraction in itself. If you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself determined to clean the entire house when all you really needed to do is put your phone away and clear off the desk.
5. Focus on your breath. Concentrating on your breath will shut down your thinking. You can’t think about how much you don’t want to go to dinner at the in-laws if you’re preoccupied with your breath.
6. Remind yourself why this task is important.
You can ask yourself these questions:
What is the purpose of getting it done? A healthier body? Increased income? An attractive yard that won’t offend the neighbors?
Have a good reason and you’ll be more motivated. Know your why behind the reason.
7. Recognize that the first step is the most challenging. Avoid thinking about sitting at your desk and working on a report for the next three hours. Instead, think about sitting down in front of the computer with a cup of coffee and typing the first word. If you’re headed for the gym, your primary task is to put on your workout clothes.
Do whatever it takes to take that first step. Just put one foot in front of the other. Everything that follows is much easier. You’ll often find yourself surprised by how easy the task was to complete once you got started.
Everyone deals with resistance and procrastination each and every day. It’s part of our human condition. We naturally avoid those things that are perceived as unpleasant.
However, your success is limited by how much you allow it to rule your decisions. Use these strategies consistently and you’ll be back in charge of your life.