The case of procrastination.
The night before your go to bed, you set the alarm for six in the morning so you can wake up early for a jog. It will be the start of a new day and your new routine to healthy living. You can almost feel a positive energy and see yourself losing weight in the days ahead as you doze off to sleep.
The next morning, as that alarm rang, and then snoozed, that positive thought was the furthest from your mind. At that moment, the comfort of your bed and blanket seemed to be the most positive thing that was happening to you.
Jogging can wait till tomorrow.
Can you relate to that? I can, because that was me.
And, that’s procrastination. How many of you have faced this or similar act before?
Do you procrastinate a lot? Are you putting off your goals or life dreams for something else?
Procrastination is what set those who are struggling and those who are successful apart.
What does procrastination mean anyway?
It’s simply the act of putting things off.
It probably also means that your desire for what you want to achieve is not as strong as you think.
For a couple of years in my teenage-to-adult life, I was procrastinating. I was as blur as I could be in terms of thinking about my future.
I was eager to finish school and start working. Studying and passing exams was direct and a goal simple enough to achieve.
Sure enough, I finished my diploma and stepped into the working society with anticipation, but there was a roadblock in front of me.
I Quitted Planning My Life Out
Whenever I made plans, I have never stayed long enough to see results. If there were no results for a period of time, I would give up. And, it happened many times over a couple of years. Later on, I decided that planning was not for me and that I would go with whatever life gives me (some of them call it ‘go with the flow’) because plans never seem to work for me.
Yet, it had never occurred to me that plans are there for a reason. As Murphy put it right, “whatever could go wrong, will go wrong” in a plan. Anyone with goals and plans will face numerous challenges and distractions. They only had to tweak their moves to achieve their plans to reach their goals and ta-daaa, success!
I have met many successful people who seemed to have their lives on track, living the life of their dreams. and that’s because they have goals. And, their goals had plans.
But I was still sceptical of what I could achieve with plans. Coincidentally, that same time, I came to know of a life coach who introduced a whole lot of insights to me. The first lesson I took from her was to make a plan for my career (ironically).
Once I made plans for myself, I began to see results.
My annual income has more than quadrupled, just by ‘declaring’ what I want, setting my goals right and having a plan in place.
And it is not only limited to my career.
My health has improved with a plan. At that time, I was still snacking and skipping meals despite losing 18kg several years ago. I set out a plan to quit taking sugar and started a jogging routine of at least four times weekly.
I made plans to save up and managed to complete my part time degree.
You can do it too.
What matters is the real reason behind your goal and the plan you set out. Once you have a clear goal in mind, of what you want to achieve specifically, with a specific time frame, the first step you do is to Write It Down and Post It at a place where you can constantly see it (and in turn, let it be a constant reminder to yourself).
Make a Plan on how to achieve your goal;
Break the plan down into Mini Action Steps;
Create a Timetable and Track your Progress on regular basis (weekly if possible);
Where you are on track, keep it going.
Where you fall back on, make it an effort to work on it.
What Happens When You Falter?
Having said that, there definitely will be moments when you will falter, lose focus, or feel a decrease in energy due to minimal or lack of progress. Or at times, get distracted by changes in routine or other events.
When that happens, it helps to keep the posted goals in view so that you can constantly be reminded of why your goals are so important.
Another great way to keep on track is to keep the energy flowing and tell people around you about your plans to achieve your goal. Our ego is very strong and needs strength from our achievements. Once you tell others that you were going to do something, you will be able to follow through because your ego would have to be accountable for what you have said.
I’ve also come to realise that even though having a specific time frame is great, it can be limiting at times. It doesn’t really matter how long it takes as long as I enjoy the process and that I get to do the work I love.
In short, steps you can take to stop procrastination
Having a goal that resonates with you is definitely the first step.
Spend some time to make a plan
Break your plan down into mini action steps that you can take easily.
Stick with your plan and do regular (weekly) review on your progress
Don’t wait till you have the mood. Keep the flow going.
Tell people you’re going do it to keep yourself accountable.