Since this month is all about getting into action on your big goals, I want to share one of my favorite resources to help you break through action’s archenemy (dun dun dunnnnn!): procrastination.
If you identify as a procrastinator, you are not alone. Like those who can’t get out of bed in the morning, most people who are intense procrastinators feel deep shame about their habit—and have no idea how large this club’s membership truly is.
I’ve found The Now Habit by Neil Fiore, Ph.D. to be a phenomenal resource for many clients who struggle with procrastination. Fiore helps you figure out why you are procrastinating and offers concrete exercises and strategies to overcome the most common blocks to getting started.
Many books on this topic merely echo the “Get it together!/What’s your problem??” messages that, I’m guessing, you’re already pretty good at giving to yourself. The Now Habit is a welcome departure from this mentality, and, in my experience, Fiore’s approach is much more effective for people who are great at beating themselves up but still aren’t getting into action. The Now Habit helps take the shame out of procrastination. As you build your awareness of why and how you procrastinate, shift your language from that of a procrastinator to that of a producer, and practice Fiore’s strategies for breaking through your typical patterns, you may find yourself surprised at what’s really going on behind the scenes of your procrastination, and relieved to find that there are ways to change your habits that don’t rely on self-punishment and berating yourself into action.
As a coach, I see again and again how changing the language we use with ourselves can create powerful shifts in our feelings and behavior, so I love Fiore’s scripts for turning negative (and counterproductive) self-talk into empowering language. Beyond that, The Now Habit offers insights into the sometimes-subconscious rewards you get from procrastinating. Fiore’s approach emphasizes the need for guilt-free play, and his counter-intuitive “unschedule” can help you get at time management in a new way. There’s also a chapter for people who live with or manage procrastinators. Stories of chronic procrastinators Fiore has worked with help to contextualize the patterns and strategies he presents.
Of course, actually making changes will take time, commitment, and follow-through, making this a fantastic book for you to work through with your coach or counselor, or to work through on your own. Regardless of whether or not you follow Fiore’s recommendations, though, just reading the book can heighten your awareness of why you procrastinate and alleviate the shame that you may feel. So get reading…NOW!
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