Procrastination is one of those things that affect us all at one time or another. Gosh knows, we’re presented with a ton of choices each day and let’s be honest, some choices are simply more inviting than others. It’s human nature to want to put that annoying task aside for one more day but we need to get honest about how much this habitual tendency stops us from creating new results in our life and is hindering our happiness and fulfillment.
The pain of procrastination is something we all encounter. And sometimes, it's a good thing and serves an intuitive response guiding us toward a better time for taking action.
But most of the time, procrastination is a fear response holding us back from getting the things we really want. If left unchecked, procrastination turns into self-sabotage and we never making progress.
When overcoming procrastination and self-sabotage, it's critical to understand if you're motivated toward things or a move away from things. Simply put: are you motivated to get the goal or motivated to avoid the pain of not getting it? When you know this, it’s easier to focus on the things that will move you forward so you can start achieving your goals.
Change Starts with Self-awareness.
You see, everybody wants to achieve their goals but few are willing to push past discomfort to get there. But here's good news: personal development doesn’t have to be boring!
Self-awareness is at the heart of real change. It takes emotional intelligence and self-honesty to admit limiting behaviours and create a new future. No, it's not always fun at first-— reality checks often aren't! But it's the source of authentic change.
Are you failing in areas of your life where you desperately want change?
If so, chances are, you haven't done one of these three things:
The Latin root of the word "decision" means to "cut off." When you make an absolute decision, you commit to a course of action and cut off all other options. That sounds daunting but really, it’s clarifying. This helps you reorder your thinking, choices and behaviour toward that goal.
Firm, heart-based decisions make life simple.
That's not to say accomplishing goals is easy. You may need to endure long periods of feeling uncomfortable to reach the next level. The only way to get there is to make a firm decision and dare to burn the bridges and accept that there’s no way back. Because if you aren’t absolutely clear on your vision, if you haven't emotionally connected to it, it’s tough to stay on track over the long run.
Think of someone you love. You'd do just about anything for this person, right? Move heaven and earth for them. But you might not do anything for an acquaintance. That’s why your goal needs to be your love, not merely an acquaintance!
It's this kind of passion that helps you keep the pressure on when the going gets rough (because it may). Without authentically and deeply connecting to your goal, you’re more prone to procrastination, self-sabotage and then failure.
Learned Helplessness & Cycles of Failure
After trying to do something and failing over and over, you may start to believe this is just who you are. You might feel your limitations can’t be overcome. Over time, you train your brain to think you have no control over the situation. And after a while you don’t even try. This condition is known in psychology as "learned helplessness."
Learned helplessness is when you repeat the same patterns over and over, unable to create a different result and then decide that improving the situation is impossible.
If this sounds like you, don’t worry — you're not alone. Most of us live with some form of learned helplessness. We see people who succeed as having some kind of superpower that we don’t possess and fall into accepting mediocrity as the norm.
If we want to overcome learned helplessness, we need to continually challenge ourselves, even in small ways, so we don’t fall back into old and familiar patterns and lose sight of our untapped potential.
Reflect back on a time when you did achieve a goal and felt pleased with yourself.
So let's draw a line in the sand. Ready?
Don't be afraid to start small. Maybe the decision for today is to hit the gym and work out for an hour. Perhaps tomorrow you’ll decide to finally quit your job and explode your business full time. No matter what you decide, make decisions more often and choose to "burn your bridges”.
Procrastination is real. We all live with it to varying degrees. But by making bold and firm decisions, you can learn to push past it and get you closer to your ideal life. Don't forget to celebrate your wins along the way. And remember: Big changes happen when you take small actions consistently over time.
An easy way to overcome procrastination and self-sabotage is with a Dailygreatness Journal or Planner. It’s an engaging way to start and end your day giving you a pause to check in with yourself and build self-awareness. And with a small time investment of 5-10 minutes in the morning and 5-10 minutes at night, this simple self-awareness practice is a powerful way to create massive changes so you can finally master your life. Check out our collection here.
Lyndelle Palmer Clarke is the founder of Dailygreatness, the author of the Dailygreatness Journals inspiring you to be your own guru and Rocking Fit a 12-week holistic training program designed especially for women.