If we are honest with ourselves, we can all admit to letting procrastination get the best of us at one time or another. When you procrastinate, you are really choosing to wait over acting in the now. Think about what happens when you make a resolution to lose weight and get healthier. You weigh yourself, make a commitment to work out three times a week and join the gym near your job. Then, one day after working late you are faced with the choice between exercising and going home to watch a movie and you choose the movie.
One thing to keep in mind is that we tend to procrastinate because we don’t want to do something that we think we should do. There is good news! We can push past procrastination and override that rebellious teenager that lives within by asking WHAT, WHY and HOW.
WHAT is my motivation? Just like an actor has to find his or her motivation when preparing for a new role, you can discover your motivation regarding a particular goal. First, you have to understand your motivation style. Some people are motivated by “achievement” or by what they hope to gain after the attainment of a particular objective. If this is your style, then you may want to eat healthier in order to feel better and have more energy. So when you are feeling the urge to put off until tomorrow what you can do today, stop and envision how good you are going to feel three months from now when you have been exercising regularly. Others are more motivated by preventing something catastrophic from occurring. If your style is “prevention” you may be motivated to live a healthier lifestyle to prevent heart disease. If you are tempted to procrastinate, say to yourself, “today I choose to workout to prevent heart disease.”
WHY do I want or need to reach this goal? Reflecting on “Why” you are pursuing a goal will guide you with a bigger picture rather than the everyday actions that might not be so appealing. This can be inspiring, energizing and give you a sense of purpose. When you feel you just can’t get started on a task, reflect on why you are pursuing your goal. Choosing the salad with veggies over the cheeseburger becomes and opportunity to live longer or become a role model.
HOW will I reach this goal? Think about the actual mechanics of how you will get from A to B. What are the specific actions you will take to accomplish the goal? Run the play in your head: “I will get out of bed, take a shower, eat something from my healthy list and put on my work-out clothes that I laid out the night before. It takes 15 minutes to drive to the gym and after I work out, I will shower, get dressed for work and eat a healthy snack.” Thinking all the steps through in your mind helps you think about whether or not you can actually do what needs to be done and what obstacles stand in your way. This deliberate reflection creates an automatic routine that will help you push past procrastination and reach your goals.
Now...push past procrastination and get busy!!