Answer this question to discover why you procrastinate

Before reading this article, pick a piece of paper and write down one thing you've wanted to do for a while, but you haven't done it yet.  

I'm 100% sure something came to your mind, and you are feeling a mix of frustration, disappointment, anger, and maybe even sadness. I know you've been thinking of it many times and you know that doing it will be beneficial. However, you have also a tone of reasons that explain why you haven't started yet: lack of time, lack of motivation, being tired, and so on. If you are asking yourself now: Why can't I do this simple thing? Why can't I take this action? Keep reading, I have the answer to all your questions.

The first thing you should know is that this is something common and it's called: procrastination. Procrastination is having trouble persuading yourself to do the things you should do or would like to do. Now that you know what you are experiencing, you are one step closer to be able to deal with it and finally do what you've always wanted!

There are many reasons why we procrastinate; the next step is being aware of the reasons that make you procrastinate. 

I want you to observe what you wrote down in the paper, and imagine that start doing it right now. Answer this question to discover why you procrastinate:

  • What is your inner voice telling you right now?

Write down all these ideas that come to your mind when you think about taking action.

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If your inner voice sounds encouraging and you feel motivated, please, stop reading this and start doing it NOW! Whenever the motivation comes, use it! This energy is priceless and you shouldn't waste it, you can come an continue reading this article later.

If your inner voice sounds like the Grouchy Smurf and you are feeling devastated now, don't worry, I have good news: you have the answer to your question. That's why you can't take action, your inner-voice is sabotaging you. Your thoughts determine your actions, if they are negative it will be very difficult for your body to start moving.

Here you have a list of common things that illustrate how the inner-voice of my clients sound when they procrastinate:

  • I don't know how to do it, first I need to learn.
  • I need to decide which method should I use, I'm not sure if I want A or B.
  • I need to do more research.
  • It's too complicated and too hard.
  • I'm too busy, don't have time.
  • I don't have money or resources.
  • Now it's not the right moment for this, maybe tomorrow.
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The messages that you wrote down in the paper explain the reason why you can't take action in most of the things you want to do in your life. This happens because procrastination is a habit, we don't usually like going out of our comfort zone, and your mind knows that these arguments will keep you calmed instead of taking action. Once you are aware of these procrastination habits it will be easier for you not let them control you. 

You can replace these messages, for other ones more encouraging and motivating. Everything you realize you are thinking of one of the things in the list, say: "thank you, but I don't need you anymore" and replace if by another positive thought that you can repeat as a "mantra". Here you have a list of useful ones:

  • It's not about perfection, it is about progress.
  • I choose to learn by doing.
  • I think big, but I start small.
  • Failure doesn't exists, it's all about learning.
  • One step at a time.
  • The only moment to do it is now.
  • I always have time for the important things in my life, and this is an important one.
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From now on, I encourage you to honor what your inner voice is telling you but don't let it control you. Once you identify the excuses, repeat your new mantra and take action! 

If you get rid of all the excuses and you act, your mind will stop sabotaging you. Your mind can be biggest enemy that prevents you from achieving your goals, it's time to make it your ally.

Contact me if you want to know more strategies to stop procrastinating and achieve your goals!

Andrea Arcusa

Executive coach and Psychologist