So you want to succeed, but something is holding you back. Perhaps it’s inertia, or maybe it’s the feeling that there are so many other things competing for your attention that you can’t be bothered to concentrate on your own personal development. It’s called procrastination, and it means putting off something until a later date – usually because it feels like a hassle at the time. But as we all know from bitter experience, things rarely get any easier if we leave them for another day. If this sounds like you, don’t be afraid! It is possible to beat procrastination and achieve your goals. Here are some tips on how to avoid procrastination that will help you get moving and keep going again in future:
By now, you’ve probably read countless articles and books on how to stop procrastinating, and you’re probably fed up hearing what you should or shouldn’t be doing. What you probably haven’t done yet is take some time to really analyze why you’re putting off your goals in the first place, and why it’s really worth putting up with all the stress that comes with not achieving them. What is it about your goals that makes you put them off again and again? Is it the fear of failure, or the feeling that the effort required is just too much? Or is it just a lack of self-worth? Once you understand why you’re putting them off, you can take steps to correct that and get going again. You’ll also be able to start putting systems in place to help you overcome procrastination in the future.
If you’ve ever been through therapy, you’ll know that one of the first things your therapist will ask you to do is to write down the things holding you back. If you’re like most people, you’ll probably be surprised by just how many things you have been hiding from yourself, and how you can overcome them. It doesn’t matter what form your list takes or how you decide to write it down. You could use a notebook, a computer program like Evernote, or a method you’ve devised yourself. Once you’ve got it down on paper, analyze it and look for patterns. What are the common themes that run through all of these things you’re putting off? You can then take steps to rectify those problems and start moving forwards again with your life.
Once you’ve worked out what’s holding you back, break down your goals into smaller steps. This is a tried and tested method of getting things done, and one that actually works better by breaking everything down into bite-sized chunks. By breaking your goals down into smaller, easier to achieve steps, you’ll also be able to see just how far you’ve come as you move towards your ultimate goal. Once you have your list of steps, make a plan in order of priority. This will help you to stay focused and avoid trying to do too much at once. This will also help you to stay motivated as you gradually reach your goals, and eventually achieve them. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to focus on the steps at hand, and know that you’re moving forwards again.
You may have noticed that you tend to put off the things that don’t benefit you, while doing the things that do. This is because we all have decision-making mechanisms in our brains, and they’re designed to protect us from harm. So, when you procrastinate, it’s your brain that’s putting you off. But sometimes, when you feel yourself starting to put something off, it’s worth stopping and asking yourself why. You may discover that you’re letting fear or insecurity hold you back. If so, it’s worth taking the time to remind yourself of the benefits of moving forwards: You’ll be closer to your goals. By achieving what you set out to do, you’ll feel much better about yourself. You’ll also be able to look back and see what you’ve achieved, and you’ll likely feel really proud.
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If you’re really struggling to get going, you may need a bit of extra encouragement – especially if you feel like you don’t deserve it. By the same token, you may also be the person that others need to get their lives back on track. If you’re the one who needs help, try to be honest with yourself and admit that you need a little nudge. You may also want to consider asking your friends and family for help. If you’re the one who can offer some assistance, don’t be afraid to tell someone who you think would benefit from your help, that you’re there for them. By doing so, you’ll be helping yourself as well, and moving closer to your own goals as you do so.
There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Fear, laziness, and lack of self-worth are just a few. If you want to stop putting things off and start achieving your goals, you first have to figure out why you’re putting them off in the first place. Once you know what’s holding you back, you can take steps to rectify those problems and start moving forwards again with your life. You can also help others who need a little nudge in the right direction, and you may even end up benefiting from the help you give them in the process.