What factors affect when and how we achieve our goals. When we have a deadline for a particular project or we have something we perceive to be very important to us but we find anything else to do instead, that is procrastination. Procrastination is the act of postponing or delaying something. What causes us to defeat ourselves in achieving what could be a simple task, or movement forward on a big project?
Procrastination can become a endless downward spiral of negativity. Negativity towards future attempts, against self love and self fulfillment. Procrastination reflects how we view our own importance, self love, our self respect and our self control. It is a true reflection how we feel about our own value. How can we start being a person who doesn’t procrastinate and start being a person that flows through life’s challenges with simplicity and confidence?
I think the first thing to do when we find ourselves procrastinating on any task, is to begin a simple exercise of awareness. When we have something to accomplish wither it be as big as switching jobs and beginning working at something your heart loves or as little as changing a light bulb, what negative emotion rears its ugly head to defeat us in achieving the goal? What is the dialog in your head between your conscious and sub conscious mind? By whatever means we can, we should find a way to make this moment a trigger. Make a trigger out of the moment when we are making a choice of doing what we can to achieve our goals and the other options that may defeat that purpose or delay gratification. I find that when I procrastinate something important, I justify not doing it by telling myself I need a break. I might go to coffee with a friend, or skip yoga to see a movie. It is not that time with a friend or a few hours of entertainment are not important, but why am I choosing to do that instead of something that seems more important, or possibly daunting or ominous in our minds. This isn’t something I deal with often, but when I do, why don’t I want to work on this project? I really do move forward with what is needed most of the time, because for me, I find it easier that adding to my list of things to do. But, when I do, why? What fear do I have that justifies my decision?
When we can identify this dialog, we can begin to understand and accept that we might not be in the healthiest of places. We might be self sabotaging. We might not want to fail and have to try again. Once we can start identifying the choices we make, then we can start to identify the reason. I believe the biggest reason for procrastination is fear of failure, or possibly even the fear of success. What if we are as good as we say we are? What happens when I achieve this goal, then what? What if I had to admit to failure and try again, or maybe adjust the goal to be more obtainable? Will we have to be the bigger, more successful person all the time? Another possibility is that we procrastinate because we simply believe that we aren’t worthy of the rewards that may come with success. So again, if we identify the moments when we make a choice to work on our project or procrastinate, we can then start recording these thoughts and emotions. Over time we can then start the evolution of progressing in healthier self talk, self acceptance and self love. When we do the small work, the work that seemed doomed, is actually not that big of a deal. Because we are coming from a place of understanding and acceptance, we realize how simple these choices can be.
As the challenges pop up in front of us in life, we have progressed from a place of fear to a place of confidence. With confidence comes simplicity. Things really become easy and simple, no matter how many of them there are. The anxiety and stress that come from choosing to finish a task and/or failing or succeeding no longer matter. The most important part of these choices is that we are making them from a healthy mental and emotional place.
What I have chosen to do in these moments is admitting failure openly. I pretty much talk about everything openly, but I make a concerted effort to talk about my goals that I don’t reach. I find that not only does it make these failures tiny and insignificant, as they should be, it opens up for input from those around me as to finding a solution that I may not have thought of. And on top of that, it puts people at ease knowing that they are not alone in the struggle against procrastination and failure. It stimulates ideas that can become solutions. The truth is, what is failure but a step towards success that shows us what doesn’t work. That’s a brilliant lesson. It saves energy when we take the next run at it.
The perfect example is a product that most of us are probably familiar with: WD-40. Do you know this product? Do you know why it’s called WD-40? It isn’t a fun name that Norman Larsen (the industrial chemist that discovered it) came up with. It is an abbreviation they used when discovering it. You see, Norman failed 39 times before he was able to work out the formula that was effective. He failed 39 times at displacing water, The name stands for Water Displacement formula, 40th attempt. Thank god he kept showing up to work and failing. WD-40 along with duct tape are my solution for 80% of things I need to fix around the house or yard, or even the car. Where would I be without Normans failures? Pretty stuck and rusty obviously.
My point is, once you identify and become cognizant of your fears and reasons for procrastination, embrace them. Fear is just an opportunity. Procrastination is a tool we use to not fail. The problem lies in the fact that if you procrastinate and don’t try you are 100% going to fail without a lesson in what doesn’t work. When you do work at achieving the next goal, your possible failure is a journey to the success at the end.
Go, go fail and fail beautifully so that you can be more educated about what doesn’t work and one of those attempts will bring success. In hindsight we will love the failures, they are what make us strong, they are also bind us together as humans and if used properly, not unlike WD-40, we can displace the complications in life that cause havoc and self hate. These efforts will bring us acceptance of others, displace the idea that we cannot fail and be loved by others, not to mention a successful achievement, when we finally get it right, will be all the more sweet. Yum.
Hears to WD-40 and the 39 failures that proceeded it, and the success that is yours if you only go do.
Go, do something right now…..
You got this……
I’m here, doing what I know I should, I might be failing, but someday soon, we will get it all figured out, together.