How to Stop Procrastinating And Act Now
“Life is available only in the present moment.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh
We tend to delay a lot of important things. We put them off, until the moment is right.
Until next week. Until we have the money, the car, the house, the girlfriend. The right circumstances.
We procrastinate, delaying our dreams, our goals, and our wishes. We put on hold those tasks that perhaps aren’t urgent, but are often the most important. We substitute them with unimportant tasks, things that don’t get us closer to where we want to be.
We’ll start that new diet next week. Go to the gym after we’ve lost a bit of weight. Start writing that that book after we’ve checked our emails, facebook, and twitter. Start that business once we have enough money.
Before we take action on the important things, we often wait for some external factor to change our circumstances. Something we can’t control.
WHY DO WE PROCRASTINATE?
1. Procrastination sometimes stems from fear.
We usually don’t do too well with uncertainty. We fear going into the unknown. We fear being responsible, trying and failing, looking silly. We even fear success, God forbid…
2. Other times, we delay and procrastinate because it’s easier to focus on instant rewards from little effort, rather than long term gains from sustained effort.
We sometimes lose sight of our end goal, or don’t have one in the first place, so we don’t have the motivation to carry out those difficult tasks that will take us closer to success.
It takes a lot of time and energy to work on that e-book, without any immediate results. Initially, eating healthily can be a big effort, and the benefits take a few weeks to appear. We could get that work in well before the deadline, but we leave it the last minute again, because there’s no immediate motivation.
Instead, it’s way easier to check our emails right now. Or to go on facebook, scan reddit, play angry birds, or watch a show. We’ll do that other thing later, when the time is right…
THE ONLY TIME IS NOW
We all procrastinate from time to time. It doesn’t make us bad people, I hope. Quite often, I find myself putting stuff off and delaying, and I bet that you do too. But making an effort to change this habit might be worthwhile.
The right time to take action is rarely tomorrow, next week, next year; after you’ve checked your email, or after retirement. It’s almost always this present moment. Right now.
Now is the only time we have control over, where action occurs.
Instead of acting now out of fear, or for instant rewards, we can act now to create better circumstances for our future selves. We can be proactive, rather than waiting for someone or something else do it for us.
All that time spent delaying and procrastinating could instead be used to move us closer to our goals. It could be spent making baby steps towards our passion, our dreams. It could be spent making mistakes, and learning from them.
SO HOW CAN I STOP PROCRASTINATING?
I’m certainly not an expert on this, but I’ve learnt a few things that have helped.
1. Get clear on your end goal. Centre yourself, be mindful and think: deep down, who do you want to be? What do you want to do with your life? What do you want to achieve? Not someone else’s dream, yours.
2. Write it down. Somewhere you’ll see it upon waking. Next to your bed perhaps. Read it every day. Ingrain it in that head of yours.
3. What actions can you take? What can you do that will build the foundation of your success, and get you closer to your goal? What are the actions that are important but not necessarily urgent? Big or small, plan to do something everyday. Keep moving forward.
4. What does not serve you? What is getting in your way, and causing you more harm than good in the long run? Constantly checking social media? Reading pointless emails?Mindless web surfing or TV programmes? What are you doing in excess that isn’t necessary? Let go of it.
5. Watch the urge. Next time you get the urge to do one of these things (which you definitely will), try your best to notice it, and then let it float on by. Recognise that it doesn’t serve you. It will be hard, and will take a lot of willpower at first, but persevere, and keep reminding yourself of your end goal.
6. Don’t beat yourself up. You will still slip up from time to time, but be forgiving. Over time, I believe that the more you practice and fail, the more your vision of your goal will become clearer, and the less the urge to procrastinate will be.
As the old saying goes: Today is a gift, that’s why they call it the present.
So do your best to use it wisely.
What have you been putting off until the ‘right time’?
What step can you take right now that will get you closer to your dreams? To reaching your health potential, and being the most authentic version of yourself?
Whatever it is, go after it.
Thanks for reading!
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