Woohoo! You have decided that this year is going to be different. Great!
You are so fed up with the same old challenges in life and want things to be easier. You need a change. You need to move forward.
So, perhaps you decided this when the bells rang in the New Year, and just maybe you began to take action in January, and then it slowed a bit in February. Now you are in March, it’s just not happened and you have accepted, as you always do, that it’s just not to be just now. You might try again later in the year. You probably won’t.
You had the thought. You had a good feeling about it. You put some energy behind it (possibly some time and money too), yet what are your results?
Nothing. Nada. Not the tiniest of changes. This is so sad.
What was the point of trying in the first place? It’s probably not for you, right? You are doomed to live the way you do for all eternity. Yes?
You just GAVE UP. You LOST THE FIGHT. You got DISTRACTED. You hated how HARD IT WAS to make the change.
However, before you beat yourself up about it all, just know that you are certainly NOT ALONE.
Procrastination is one of our biggest obstacles when we set out to achieve anything in life.
There are so many reasons why we never seem to reach the end goal, so if you want to get back on track, let’s take a quick look into some of the reasons, and find out 5 simple and easy ways which will have you back on the road to success in no time at all.
1. You Gotta Have a Dream
When I speak to people about their dreams and desires for their life, 3 things can happen.
1. Some will look at me blankly. ‘You gotta be kidding? What dreams? What desires?’ is the look I get. These people can only see how they live right now and have given up all prospects of change or introducing anything new to their life. Although this may sound a sad outlook, I can easily understand why they may feel like this, as I have been there myself.
2. Others tend to be shy or ashamed to admit that they have any dreams at all. They feel them foolish and something they would never achieve. It’s almost as if they don’t feel that they deserve to have dreams, or that it is wrong to dream and others may laugh at them for speaking out about them.
3. Then there are those who allow themselves to dream. There is this magical moment when their eyes light up, a smile forms across their face and they can talk to me for ages about the visions that they have surrounding these dreams. Then almost as suddenly as it happened, the light switches off and they sweep the dreaming aside, dismissing it as if it never happened.
Every one of us has a dream. A desire. Something that we want to achieve in life. How we nurture those dreams reflects whether they come to reality or not.
People who refuse to dream, or feel the burden in life so much that they have given up dreaming, need to find a way to start. I appreciate opening up to dreaming again can be hard but dreams, goals and challenges are so important in life. They add interest to your day. They give us a reason for being. A sense of achievement and pride. They keep us going when life throws us lemons.
What’s dreaming got to do with goal achievement? Well, quite simply, if you don’t allow your mind to be open to dreams you’re brain can’t put the physical work in so that you can achieve them.
Dreaming’s a bit like watching a film. You know it’s not real. It’s a story that someone else has made up. You watch it though, and as you do, your brain is sold on it. For the time you are watching the film, your brain thinks it’s real. You jump at the scary bits or cry at the emotional twist at the end. You do this because your brain can’t really tell the difference between the film and reality. Watching and listening to the film your senses are sending messages to your brain, and your brain is reacting accordingly – real or not.
When you allow your mind to wander and dream a little, you are planting the seed for your brain to get to work on discovering how you are going to achieve this dream.
So don’t be shy about your dreams. Go ahead, enjoy taking time outside your real world and get your mind thinking that you are living your dreams already.
Just like the song ‘Happy Talk’ (Rodgers and Hammerstein) says, ‘You gotta have a dream. If you don’t have a dream, how you gonna have a dream come true?’
Those who have dreams and follow them are more likely to turn them into reality.
Achievement doesn’t just come by dreaming however. Read on to find out the next step.
2. Research the Facts
Before you start out on any journey, whether it is a physical or metaphorical one, you need to know how you are going to get from A to B.
If you were taking a road trip, for example, you would decide where you want to go, how you are going to get there, what route you will take, how long it will take you, what you will need to pack, how much it will cost you etc.
These are basic questions you will answer, and the more you find out in advance of your trip, the better you will be prepared for it and less likely to get stuck by running out of money, food or just getting lost and ending up somewhere else instead!
The same principals apply to any journey we wish to embark on.
For example, if you want to obtain a university degree, then you need to find out what universities offer the course that you want to do, how much it will cost, how long the course will take, how you will manage your time, what the qualification prerequisites are etc.
By researching the facts you are taking the next step from dreaming to turning your dream into a possibility. You are finding out what it will take, and what you will have to do in order to achieve it. You are discovering which steps need to be completed so that you can move closer to obtaining your dream.
The more you find out, the more you will be prepared for any hurdles that crop up, the more motivated you will become and the less likely you will give in to procrastination.
3. Self-Belief and Trust
The next major step, once you have acquired as much knowledge as you can, is to start believing that this goal can actually be achieved.
You need to work on believing that you can accomplish this goal, and trust yourself to do it.
I know that this might be easier said than done, but with perseverance, you can learn to cheer yourself on, just as you would others in a similar situation.
You can practice positive affirmations or meditation to help you. Some people like to choose a song which has words that are motivational.
Self-belief and self-trust are two crucial elements to achieving your goal – if you don’t believe and trust in yourself, then who will? The only person you need in order to achieve your goals is you. No one else is going to achieve them for you, so you better just get on with it and trust in your own super-powers that you will succeed!
4. Face the Fear
The biggest reason as to why we give up, often before we have even started, is because of fear.
The fear of failure, the fear of embarrassment, the fear of pain, the fear of letting someone else down, even the fear of being successful.
Fear is in your own mind. Many of our fears are ‘what-ifs’ and will never come to light.
We all fear something.
Successful people, however, take note of what their fears are, accept them, find out how they can combat them should they become a reality, then go out and do what they want regardless of the fear.
Just like researching the facts of your dream, take a good look at the fears that you are holding on to that are stopping you from making progress.
Be honest with yourself. Whatever fear you have, own it, find out how you can avoid it, reduce it, remove it or work with it. Figure out your worst-case scenario and work out a ‘rescue plan’ should it ever happen.
Fight your fears. Don’t let fear be the reason to let procrastination get a hold of your dreams.
5. Take Action – Daily
We all procrastinate. Procrastinating means that you are putting off the action that you need to take in order for you to accomplish your goal. If you are really good at procrastinating, you will put off any meaningful action until the opportunity has passed.
If it’s a chore that you have to complete, then you may initially feel relieved that you didn’t need to do it. However if this was an essential goal that would have helped you towards obtaining your goal, you will eventually regret your inaction.
For example, if you need to study for that entry exam so that you get into the course you want, and you don’t bother until the evening before, you are going to feel panicked and pressured until the exam is over. You will feel really stupid for not using your time wisely and spreading out your revision over the weeks prior to this important exam. Should you not pass the entry exam, you will only have yourself to blame.
To put it bluntly, procrastination kills off your dreams.
I get that you can be sitting with your revision books and laptop in front of you, but just can’t seem to get into study mode. I get that.
I get that you really don’t feel like studying.
I get that right now you would rather be cleaning the loo, rather than open up one of those books and read it.
I get that you can feel overwhelmed and not know where to start.
I get that you are panicking inside, and there’s a little voice telling you to go make that 25th coffee of the morning.
The thing with procrastination is that it becomes a habit. We let it run our lives. We listen to it’s negative voice in our head and it’s more attractive offers of putting the dreaded tasks off.
That makes procrastination an ally to self-sabotaging our dreams.
You must take action against procrastination, and you must do it on a daily basis.
Just start by doing one little thing. You just have to choose the simplest, smallest of tasks, and make a start. Then the next day, do a little more, then a little more the following day and so on.
Soon your new habit will be planning and organising what you are doing the following day, and looking forward to ticking off the task from your ‘to-do’ list (believe me, it becomes an addictive game very quickly!).
Don’t break the habit. Make a promise to yourself that, until your goal is achieved, you will devote time and energy everyday to tasks that will help you achieve your goal. Remember that even committing to a smaller task on busier days will still contribute to your end goal. Something is better than nothing, and it’s good to keep taking smaller steps forwards.
Let’s get to work!
So, now you are in possession of 5 steps that you can use to stop procrastination from destroying your dreams.
You can do this! Now, let’s get started!
Originally published on Clarity Junction