We all procrastinate from time to time. We put off changing cable companies to save us money because it’s a hassle. We stall on cleaning out that closet that’s overflowing — no one’s going to see it anyway and we can cram the door closed one more time. We delay tasks all the time for many reasons. They take too long. They cost too much. They smell too bad. But let’s dig a little deeper into why we sometimes procrastinate: fear.
When I say fear can be the basis for procrastination, I don’t mean that outwardly you are thinking the task is terrifying. I do mean somewhere inside, the task is upsetting to you. Have you been meaning to look for a new job but you keep delaying updating your resume? Perhaps despite your misery in your current position, you’re afraid to go out and interview. Maybe jumping in with a whole new team is intimidating to you. Instead, you’re procrastinating and staying with what’s familiar, despite being unsatisfied.
Maybe you want to eat better and drop a few pounds. But you are putting off starting because in the past, you’ve done okay for a little while, but then, you found yourself going back to old habits. Or maybe you’ve even lost a lot of weight before but have put it back on. Maybe you’re afraid of failure. Maybe you’re afraid of success. But you know what? Either way, it’s a common problem.
When you’re procrastinating because of fear, if you want to change your situation, you’re most likely going to have get a little uncomfortable. Face your fears head on with a plan. Yes, you can. You don’t want fear to be in control of your life. YOU want to be in control, and you can be. Here’s how:
- Identify your goal. What have you been trying to accomplish? What is your fear preventing you from doing?
- Identify your motivation. What is motivating you to set this goal? Spend more time thinking about your motivation than your fear.
- Identify long-term results. What will you obtain or what will happen as a result of conquering your fears?
- Make a plan. Break your action into smaller steps. Smaller “chunks” make everything easier to tackle. Set deadlines for when you want each step completed and hold yourself to them. You may even want to reward yourself along the way.
- Implement your plan. Take action on step one. Finish it by your goal date. Keep plugging forward with each of your steps.
- Evaluate your work. How did you do? What might you need to adjust for future problem solving? Do you need more time? Do you need outside help from a coach to help you progress?
- Maintain habits. Take what you did well and continue to apply those steps to new challenges. Before you know it you’ll be looking fear in the eyes and laughing — or at least saying “I know I can do this.”
If you find you are have difficulty overcoming procrastination and need a little support, contact me, Karen David. I would be happy to have a discussion to see how I might help.
A nurse for more than 25 years, Karen David is a Certified Wellness Coach and Lifestyle and Weight Management Specialist. She brings her passion for well living and calm presence to empower others in health and wellness. Karen is CEO of Live Life Well, LLC.