“It’s only January 7th, and I’m already behind!”
Do you already feel “behind” in the new year? Often, we begin the new year resolving to tackle tasks we’ve historically resisted and put off.
The bigger, scarier, more time-consuming, or more overwhelming the task feels, the more likely we are to make up and believe compelling stories (read: excuses) for why this is not the right time to get started—we’ll do it later!
We are very, very good at making up these stories!
What’s more, we do this not only with tasks that we don’t enjoy, but also with activities we genuinely like to do–things that we know would bring us pleasure.
Here’s a strategy you can use the next time you think “I should,” “I need to,” or “I want to” about a task and feel the urge to procrastinate.
Meet your new best friend.
All you goal-makers and procrastinators out there, have you met my friend the timer?
This unassuming little tool unlocks massive productivity potential.
It may look like an inanimate object, but I give this little guy part of the credit for completing my schooling, working out, my home’s relatively organized state, staying on top of my email, and for this blog you’re reading, among many other things. I seriously don’t know where I’d be without it!
I recommend this tool to all of my clients as they tackle their own projects, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to you today.
Are you waiting for an angel to fly into town?
One of the nastiest beasts that keeps people stuck is what I refer to as the “If-Mores.”
We tell ourselves that if only we had more (fill-in-the-blank), we would be able to do something that we long to do.
This can become an excuse not to take action.
Oh well, we say. I guess I just can’t have that.
This is usually accompanied by some major Poor me energy, along with a grumble or two of comparison to others who have the thing we wish we had more of.
Today, I challenge you to begin a journey to banish the If-Mores by doing the following exercise.
It takes some experimenting
to find your own “just right.”
When reaching a “breakthrough moment” in creating positive changes in their lives, many of my clients say things like,
“I just wish I’d figured this all out sooner.”
“If only I hadn’t wasted that time in my 20s, I’d have it all together by now.”
“Why did it take me so long to see this?”
When you’ve hit upon a discovery and/or finally taken action that makes you much happier than you’ve ever been, it’s only natural to wish that you could have made that discovery or taken that action in the first place!
We often feel guilty for mourning our own challenges and losses when they seem to pale in comparison to those of others.
As frustrating as small setbacks are, and as painful as larger challenges such as a breakup or a job loss can be, they can suddenly seem like not such a big deal in the light of tragedies such as natural disasters and horrific acts of violence, or a major adversity that another individual is facing.
Many people respond to the insight of perspective by throwing a bunch of guilt and shame on top of their pain—saying to themselves, “There are people with real problems in the world, and I shouldn’t be complaining about this—or even feeling bad about it.”
Then, being only human, they go on feeling bad, and feel even worse for feeling that way!
This approach is taking something with great helping and healing potential (perspective) and transforming it into something destructive (guilt and shame).
Guilt is not a helping emotion. Neither is shame.
Both emotions feed negative energy and keep you stuck—and do nothing to help those “people with real problems,” either.