All of us are busy and some things just don’t get done. That is not necessarily procrastination.
Procrastination is when you put off doing stuff you KNOW you NEED to do in order to do stuff you know is less important but is easier or more pleasant or less threatening. It is estimated up to 25 percent of people chronically procrastinate with technology, with the Internet, Facebook, and e-mail major factors.
People procrastinate for many reasons. Some are perfectionists, refusing to act until the perfect choice or opportunity comes along. Others are driven by a fear of failure; procrastination allows them to put off making a choice, thus committing to a path of action. A few procrastinators may be ambivalent about achievement itself or have an anti-authoritarian streak, attempting to retain the feeling of being in control by resisting outside pressures to act. Impulsive people may procrastinate because they have not developed the ability to protect one intention from another.
No matter what its roots, procrastination is a maladaptive coping strategy, a bad habit that has been reinforced by the immediate arrival of short-term pleasure and the delay of long-term negative consequences.
Like losing weight or getting fit, curing procrastination is simple but not necessarily easy.
First, develop self-awareness. (Hi, my name is John and in the past I’ve chosen to be a procrastinator). List the cost of procrastination in your life, ask yourself why you allow yourself to sabotage yourself.
Second, set goals. But this time make them realistic, take small steps, create small wins, build. Success is the cumulative effect of small efforts, day after day. The accretive impact of persistence is incredible.
Third, avoid the “what the heck” factor. Many resolution-makers have an all or nothing approach. A person eats one slice of cake, decides that he has blown his diet and then gives up. Expect plateaus and even setbacks. Take them in stride, consider them part of the process. Resilience and persistence are the key. Champions and winners of all stripes possess the ability to stay calm and centered, re-group, and continue on. You, too, can make this ability part of your success toolbox.
Fourth, celebrate. Rejoice in the wins you do create, remember them, cherish them, rerun them in the movie theater of your mind. Make them an intricate part of the new you. Every day is a new day and you are free to make new choices, new decisions. As Madonna once said, we all re-invent our life stories, it’s just that some of us have more imagination then others. The stories you tell yourself about you and the things that happen to you are a form of programming. Make sure that your mind chatter serves you, directs you toward the life you wish to live.
What you focus on expands. Look where you want to go.