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Things I Learned From Listening to My Procrastination

How addressing that little voice in your head can bring positivity to your routine.

Last night before falling asleep, I had a brief and final thought about going for a good run in the morning. But the next morning, lo and behold – I wake, do some meditation, start some work, and then realize that I have a headache. I almost feel queasy. I don’t really know why, but at about 8:00am the little man inside of me began to create reasons not to go for that run I had whole-heartedly committed to just hours before. You know that little person, right? He or she is the one inside of all of us crafting all manners of excuses for us not to do something.

This morning, however, I was able to practice a little metacognition (something we all work on a lot here at Rewire) and not just dismiss the little man making excuses, but rather pay close attention to what they all were. I heard:

  • “You don’t need to
    run today, you ran 2 days ago…”
  • “Taking the day
    off won’t matter at all in the great scheme of things…”
  • “Heck, you don’t
    even feel that good, what are doing even trying to run? Why not sit
    down for a bit?”
  • “Do you even know
    how many e-mails are in your in-box? There’s no way you can run and
    still get to all of that.”

I was fascinated by these voices, and yet if I’m honest, I would say that they speak up a good majority of the time. They interrupt a wide range of work and personal tasks I know deep down I need to get done. I have been working with people one-on-one and in groups for too long not to realize that this is a very, very common phenomenon.

SO, THE QUESTION IS: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THOSE VOICES? DO YOU LISTEN TO THEM? DO YOU LET THEM WIN? ARE YOU GOOD AT IGNORING THEM?

This morning on my headache-laden run, I spent time wondering how often these voices trip me up, how much more effective I could be at listening, and how I could fight against them in the future. Then it hit me that fighting against these voices is one of the worst battles we will ever have. It’s you against, well, you. Winning this contentious battle could feel like a Pyrrhic victory, but it’s not.

I am more and more convinced that ‘shutting down’ those voices is simply too hard a task. Today, I let them speak and really heard them out. Then I acted against them, gritted my teeth a little, and proceeded to take the next step (quite literally).

As I was finishing the run, I had somewhat of an internal laugh as I realized that I didn’t just go for a run, but that I had a bit of a win. Ok, it’s only one run. I get it. But how much more could we accomplish if we would learn to hear the voices out and then make a choice to be disobedient to their requests? What could our businesses and lives look like if we chipped away every day at our own procrastination?

Ah, the places we’d go!

On a side note, my headache is gone. Finish your week strong. Never forget that the ‘real’ you is stronger than the ‘little voice’ you.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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