Why You Procrastinate and What You Can Do About It
Are you notorious for putting things off?
I'll start on Monday.
Once things slow down a little I'll do x, y, or z.
10 months ago did you state that you were going to change your eating habits and finally go to the gym like you've always said you would?
Did you follow through?
Now, I want it on record that procrastination doesn't always look like laziness. Instead, it could look like you cleaning your pantry and organizing everything instead of prepping your healthy meals for the week.
It can look like planning out the "perfect" workouts for the next 4 weeks, but never actually going to the gym. In regards to school or work, this can look like organizing your notes, desk, and filing cabinet instead of working on the project that needs to get done.
Does this sound familiar?
It can be fucking maddening at times...especially if you are aware that you are doing this! Before finally sitting down at my computer to write this, I organized 2 bathrooms, did laundry, organized the bedroom closet, meal prepped, and did dishes...
None of those things were a priority..in fact, my partner could have just as easily done many of those things, but I was busy procrastinating.
Procrastination causes a massive hinderance in our long term success, this is quite obvious. In the moment, procrastination provides us emotional relief because we have avoided stress temporarily, but much like binge eating a cake to ourselves provides relief in the moment, the aftermath reveals detrimental consequences.
The first thing that you can do is break down different tasks into micro steps instead of feeling like you need to complete the entire staircase in a grey sweat suit.
This makes a task look less daunting and once you have completely the first step, not only will you have increased your motivation to keep moving forward, but you also develop trust with yourself that you are a person who always follows through on their word and gets shit done.
In addition to breaking down tasks into bite-sized pieces, ditching perfectionism is essential in being productive AF. We often view a procrastinator as a lazy unmotivated couch potato. I can assure you that today, I was anything but lazy in an attempt to put off writing this post.
So many times, we paralyze ourselves with perfectionism because we are so afraid of being judged or failing, living by the believe that if we never start...we can never fail. This shows up in so many conversations that I have with people who want to change their ways, lose weight, and feel better...BUT they are so afraid to fail or be judged by that failure. This often shows up as, putting off the first day of training until after that holiday, wedding, weekend, etc.
They are waiting for the perfect time to start because they want to do it perfectly. If you are struggling with perfectionism, I want you to know that the human in me sees the human in you. And this is where self-compassion comes in...
While this cycle is frustrating and self-defeating, it is very important to not allow negative self-talk into the mix. Be compassionate with yourself and avoid using phrases like:
"I have to get this done."
"This needs to be perfect."
This takes the pressure and stress off of completing these tasks and decreases the likelihood of putting them off.
Try replacing these phrases with:
"I get to..."
Statements like this place the power back into your hands.