Procrastination usually results in sorrowful regret. Today’s duties put off tomorrow give us a double burden to bear; the best way is to do them in their proper time.-Ida Scott Taylor
Have you ever found yourself putting things off without knowing why? Everyone does this to a certain degree, but it can be frustrating when you keep doing it without a clear reason. Ignoring the problem will only make matters worse because it becomes more and more difficult to move forward.
There are many causes of procrastination, but here are three of the most common:
1) Feeling overwhelmed.
Many people procrastinate because they feel overwhelmed at the thought of tackling specific tasks or chores. For example, you may want to lose weight and get in shape, but it seems too difficult to begin an exercise program and change your eating habits. Or you may want to ask your boss for a raise but feel intimidated about his or her response, so you keep avoiding the issue. The problem with avoidance is that the situations only tend to get worse the longer you ignore them. What starts out as a minor annoyance can quickly turn into a major aggravation.
The best way to tackle this type of procrastination is to simply push yourself to do something about it. If it helps you to feel less intimidated, try breaking down a bigger task into smaller pieces. For example, rather than starting a whole new health regime, try committing to exercising for 30 minutes each day. Once you’ve gotten comfortable with that, begin making modest changes to your diet, and continue to make other changes in the same gradual way.
If a task can’t be broken down (like asking your boss for a raise), you might reach a point where you feel you have nothing to lose by going for it, and push yourself to take action anyway. Simply by taking action you can ease that feeling of pressure and fear that procrastination often creates.
Another reason you may procrastinate is because you’re afraid you won’t be able to complete a task well enough, or that the conditions aren’t yet right to move forward. You’re waiting for everything to be just perfect (or your own capability to be greater than it is now), so you keep holding back. Unfortunately, the “perfect time” or conditions never arrive, so you can end up holding back for years!
The best way to get around this procrastination habit is to keep affirming that things don’t have to be perfect for you to proceed. You don’t have to be perfect in your actions or capabilities, and the conditions don’t have to be perfect in order for you to make progress. When you let go of your need to have everything “just so,” you free yourself up to better enjoy the journey and leave procrastination in the dust.
3) Lack of discipline.
Finally, a lack of self-discipline can also cause procrastination because you simply won’t put forth the effort to make positive changes in your life. Let’s face it; anything worthwhile will require some effort to achieve!
You may have to simply push yourself to do the things you know must be done, even if you don’t exactly enjoy them. When you keep in mind the alternative – problems and stagnation that result from procrastination, you just might find the motivation and discipline to keep moving forward.
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