Why do we procrastinate, even on the habits we really want to change? Why do we drag tasks out, even when we truly want to accomplish them?
Some projects never seem to get done. They loom over our heads, making us feel frustrated or stressed, prompting us to escape into denial and avoidance. We don’t really know how to stop procrastinating on them.
Swimming was one of those ?projects? for me. My herniated disc healed pretty quickly, but it was clear I needed to stay away from the gym and find a new type of exercise. My doctor kept telling me that swimming would be the best solution for me. And she wasn’t the only one. My acupuncturist, my massage therapist, and others said the
same thing. But I dragged my feet. Time passed, and six months later, swimming was still an item on my ?should? list. I didn’t know how to stop procrastinating.
What is it for you, beloved?
- What tasks are currently on your ?should? list?
- What projects would be valuable for you if you stopped putting them off?
- What will it take for you to change from ?should? to ?did??
Here are seven questions to help you stop procrastinating.
- THE WHY QUESTION: What is my real motivation to get this thing done? Leadership expert Simon Sinek calls this concept ?the golden circle.? He says that it’s not enough to know what you do and how you do it. We get motivated by knowing why we do things, and it’s through that awareness that we can change our attitudes and move from inaction to action.
- THE SCALING QUESTION: On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being ?don’t even bother me with this? and 10 being ?I’m totally into it,? how important is it for me to stop procrastinating and get this thing done? If your answer is lower than 7, this thing is not high enough on your priority list. Either erase it from your ?should? list completely, or do what it takes to bump it up to a 7 or higher!
- THE BREAKING BARRIERS QUESTION: What stops me? Get honest with yourself, and choose the #1 reason you’re in procrastination mode instead of getting this thing done.
- THE TURNING POINT QUESTION: What is one thing I can do right now to stop procrastinating? I find inspiration in Garry Keller’s book, The One Thing, which teaches us that ?going small? is the key. Thinking big is where it all starts, but narrowing your project down to its most important components will help you focus and stop procrastinating, one step at a time.
- THE LEAN ON ME QUESTION: Who can I ask for support, so I can start moving forward? I don’t know about you, beloved, but I’m a recovering superwoman. While it is natural for us to want to do everything by ourselves, the reality is that we need support. Asking others for help also gives them an opportunity to shine?a win-win situation.
- THE GAME-CHANGING QUESTION: When do I commit to do it? Once you’ve gotten to the core of why you want to do this thing, identified the blocks, narrowed it down to one action, and gotten the support you need, the natural next step is to make a commitment. Set a deadline for yourself so you can truly stop procrastinating.
- THE YARDSTICK QUESTION: How am I going to measure my success? Don’t underestimate the importance of this question. Be as specific as possible, and make sure the measure you come up with to evaluate your success is tangible in order to give yourself a clear and focused goal.
Here is how I answered these questions, so I could stop procrastinating and start to swim. By the way, six months later I consistently swim three times a week!
- THE WHY QUESTION: I want to start swimming because it’s the best exercise for my body right now. My health and well-being are important to me, and I know that swimming will help me feel better.
- THE SCALING QUESTION: Starting to swim is a ?9? on my scale?pretty important!
- THE BREAKING BARRIERS QUESTION: Integrating swimming into my life feels complicated. It’s complicated to get all the stuff ready and go to the gym. It’s complicated to get dressed there, and I don’t know if I should take a shower there or take a shower at home. It’s complicated to fit it into my schedule.
- THE TURNING POINT QUESTION: The one thing I can do right now is prepare a backpack with everything I need and then go swimming one time.
- THE LEAN ON ME QUESTION: I can take lessons with a professional instructor at the pool to raise my confidence level. (I did! 6 lessons! It was wonderful!)
- THE GAME-CHANGING QUESTION: I scheduled a time in my calendar for swimming, and I followed my commitment.
- THE YARDSTICK QUESTION: My measurement for success was preparing the backpack and going swimming one time. Then it became easy to continue.
Do a little reality check, beloved: What is one project or task that is currently on your “should” list that you are ready to stop procrastinating on and move to your “did” list?