I have a serious issue when it comes to procrastination, I’m sure a lot of people can relate. I have gotten in trouble in jobs before because sometimes I would procrastinate on a project for an embarrassing amount of time.
I procrastinated on projects, breaking up with shitty boyfriends, and most unfortunately of all- I would procrastinate on putting my health and my own needs first. I would wonder why I did this because I don’t really consider myself a lazy person. I am educated, I have had a career that when I told people what I did they would immediately respond with “oh that sounds challenging” to which I would say “It is…hence the wine and cake” (that was my go to splurge…nightly)
So why could I challenge myself in some ways but not in others? What was actually getting in my way of meeting my goals and trashing the rest?
My favorite explanation for procrastination comes from Mel Robbins, she explains that procrastination is not laziness but it is in fact a coping skill. We procrastinate as a way of protecting ourselves from something our primal brains consider scary and dangerous.
Though my shitty boyfriend was indeed shitty…he was a shitty I was used to and knew I could survive, the unknown however was more scary. Though the bad diet left me feeling horrible about myself-it was still familiar and the unfamiliar was scary and far too difficult to grasp in the current chaotic state I was living in.
We as humans, in this beautifully chaotic life- procrastinate when what we are facing feels harder than doing nothing.
So here are three steps to owning HOW you procrastinate and WHAT you need to do to get past it.
- Notice your own tendencies to procrastinate. For me, I procrastinate most of all when it comes to confrontation with myself and especially with other people. To clean up my act I had to admit to myself that cake and wine was not a suitable dinner and the shitty boyfriend had to go too.
- Use affirmations and pattern interrupter. The way we speak to ourselves matter, you would not go into your Child’s room and write on their mirror “you suck, you’re such a fat slob!” Why not? Because that would be devastating to their precious souls, and it is equally devastating to YOUR precious soul when you speak to yourself that way. So come up with a positive affirmation you can tell yourself that can help you interrupt your negative thought patters. My favorite that has proven affective for me in facing some horribly confronting situations is “I am unshakeable” (from the Carrie Underwood song ‘Champion'” when I feel down on myself I breath in deeply and remind myself that I am unshakeable and have survived 100% of the confrontational situations I’ve been in, this too will work out just fine.
- Accept progress is better than perfection– for me, I struggle with procrastination is when I feel like I am not going to do something perfectly; as an example, I have had this blog post as an outline on my whiteboard for a literal month. I have procrastinated on writing it because the words were not flowing out of me as effortlessly and poetically as I would want. I get in my head and doubt myself, so the work does not get done. Instead of continuing down the rabbit hole of self doubt and procrastination, I told myself my affirmations and proceeded to write what I felt, instead of worrying about the content coming across perfectly.
So a couple years ago I was able to get my eating on the right track, I fell in LOVE with HIIT workouts and I got rid of the shitty boyfriend. All of this has opened up a wonderful life I would never have found if I kept procrastinating and accepting my excuses and fears as indelible fact.
Here is the bottom line, when you find yourself procrastinating about something you value (or maybe don’t value) have a conversation with yourself about WHY you are not getting this task done, how do you need to be talking to yourself instead and then do SOMETHING!
You my wonderful reader, you are capable of so many wonderful things that it is a complete shame to let one more day go by without attacking life full force and living it in a way that feels invigorating and a little scary.