1. Mental Self-BatteringMentally beating myself up for not doing what I planned, feeling bad for not following through, and taking my feelings as an excuse to not do it. “Well, this isn’t going to work. Clearly I don’t want to write, because I’m wasting my time on social media. Why bother…”
2. Exhaustive ReasoningJustifying not starting the task with a million excuses, finding one that made just enough sense to agree with, and proceeding to not do it. “Do I really have time to start writing now? I’m kind of tired, and there’s so many photos here that I haven’t looked at yet. I can always write that article tomorrow…”
Wow. No wonder I never got anything done.Incredibly enough, most of us hate on ourselves and excuse our way out of tasks so often that we cease to be consciously aware of it, and we wonder why we never produce what we want. As I’m sure you have experienced, when you want to build a business, start a healthy lifestyle practice, or reach any sort of goal, these thought patterns become a problem. One of the most valuable things I’ve learned over the past year is to let it go. To forgive myself for the imperfection of not being able to focus 100% all of the time. To simply refocus when I find myself off-task. But before beginning the practice of letting it go, I first had to stop and notice the worn path that my mind was conditioned to go down when I started a project and wound up procrastinating. The first real question:
Why do we procrastinate?Why do we make so many excuses? Why do we give up after making a tiny mess-ups, and allow that to stop us from getting stuff done? Because we’re lazy? Because we really don’t have time or the capability to reach or goals? Those would be the most obvious things to believe… but they’re wrong. If we’re being honest, these are excuses layered on top of excuses. The answer is simple, really;
We procrastinate to avoid failure and discomfort.Starting towards a goal requires risking security and doing things that you probably aren’t accustomed to. It means willingly allowing yourself to become vulnerable to the fact that you may not reach your expectations. Maybe you’re afraid to launch your business because you’re afraid your product won’t sell quickly enough (or at all). Or, maybe you’re afraid to put in your full effort because it will lead to success- If you get more clients, you may have more responsibility than you think you can handle (which really circles back to fear of failure). Maybe I was afraid to start this article because if I release it into the world, I may receive negative feedback. We’re all afraid to fail. Failure touches on our insecurities. It’s human nature. (you’re not alone). It’s much safer for me to scroll mindlessly through Pinterest for an hour than put my heart into writing content that may or may not reach people in the way I hope. It’s easier to use perfectionism as an excuse to just not do something. “If this isn’t going to turn out perfectly, why bother?” But the solution is not to learn to have no fear. The solution is to find the courage to take the fear out of the driver’s seat and work towards what you desire anyway. So, how can we trick fear and get to work on our task? Here are a couple methods I have discovered that help me manage procrastination. I use one or both depending on how badly I’m procrastinating, so give each a try. But remember, practice is key!
1. The Priority TrickI talked about this with “not having enough money” for goals, and it works just as well for these excuses. This helps me break out of the self-battering and excuse mindset. You have to decide that you want to reach your goal more than you want to stay in your comfort zone or protect yourself from failure. It can be a tough shift to make, but an important one! Next, reword your excuses in terms of priorities.
Instead of saying, “I don’t really have time to do this today” or “there’s no point in starting,” think, “I’m not working on my business goal today because it’s not a priority.”It doesn’t feel good to say, and that’s the point. By realizing that you’re not making your goal a priority, it can trick your mind into realigning your goal as a real priority.