How To Stop Procrastinating

Have you ever called yourself a procrastinator?

As soon as you think "I'm a procrastinator" or "I never finish anything" or "I always put things off until the last minute" your brain gets busy to collect evidence of how that is true and it becomes a part of our identity.

Here's the good news. It's not who you are, it's just something you're doing.

Procrastinating is an action that you are taking because of a feeling you are having or want to avoid having.

Binging Netflix, scrolling social media, sleeping, even exercising are some of the ways we procrastinate in order to numb ourselves to the emotions we are working hard to avoid.

Here's an example:

  • You have been invited to speak to a group of 500 people. (circumstance)
  • You think you are unprepared. (thought)
  • The thought that you are unprepared makes you feel nervous about presenting. (feeling)
  • You don't want to experience the constant butterflies in your stomach so you  procrastinate by watching a movie or spending hours scrolling Insta and TikTok . (actions)
  • As a result of your actions, guess what.... you are unprepared. (result)

You are not unprepared because you're "just a procrastinator"' you are unprepared because are trying to avoid experiencing the feeling of nervousness.

  Reasons We Procrastinate

Fear - The Macdaddy when it comes to procrastination. Fear of not being good enough- Fear of doing it wrong- fear of rejection- Fear of disappointing ourselves or someone else. Our brain thinks procrastination is a great way to avoid feeling afraid.

Perfectionism - Thinking there's a right way and a wrong way to do something and if it's not 100% perfect, you may as well not do it at all. 

Confusion - Telling yourself you don't know how to do something instead of taking steps to learn what you don't know how to do is easier and a lot safer than putting yourself out there but nothing gets done.

Overwhelm -  Another indulgent emotion that keeps you from moving forward. It's ironic, isn't it? telling yourself you have so much to do that you end up doing nothing.

Indecision - Your brain thinks not making a choice is more comfortable than choosing and moving forward with your decision because that's risky but the reality is, being stuck in indecision can be horribly uncomfortable.

Whatever the reason is, you can see they all boil down to one thing: trying to avoid feeling fear.


The antidote for procrastination

 Choose to start taking action. Allow yourself to feel afraid and take action anyway. Stay focused on your why, your goal and the outcome.

Before you start taking action you must decide what you need to think and how you need to feel on purpose in order to take the actions required to create the result you want.

Imagine your brain is a computer. It came with a standard operating system that is programed to keep you safe, not successful. In order to do the tasks you want to do, you need to upgrade the system so it has enough power to get the job done. 

Choosing your thoughts and feelings on purpose is upgrading your brain's system to act from a place of commitment and determination instead of fear and panic.

Remember: you’re not a procrastinator. You’ve just fallen into a bad habit of delaying getting things done. It’s a habit, not an identity.

Your brain has convinced you it’s safer to not do things instead of putting yourself out there to achieve success.

Choose to build the life you love and don’t let fear stop you. 

It will always be worth it in the long run.