Raise your hand if you’ve ever procrastinated.
I know that I have. With work, difficult phone calls, Christmas shopping, house cleaning, etc. You name the task and I will find a variety of ways to avoid it.
I used to think I procrastinated because I was disorganized. If I had everything written down on a beautiful notepad I would get shit done right away. I do think having systems in place helps to keep us focused, but I don’t think those systems prevent procrastination.
What I’ve discovered is that procrastination is directly related to self-doubt. If I doubt that I will be able to do something well, I will avoid doing that thing at all costs. Even if it’s small, simple and within my reach.
For instance, I will delay releasing a new product to the world because I doubt that anyone will like it or buy it. I procrastinated for a whole year of writing on my blog because I doubted my writing skills, my creativity and my ability to consistently write blog posts that would make an impact. I spent months debating whether or not to walk into a yoga studio because I was afraid I wouldn’t fit in, wouldn’t be any good and afraid people would stare at my ass during awkward poses. I have avoided many difficult phone calls to loved ones because I was afraid I didn’t know the right words to say and wouldn’t be able to comfort them in their time of need.
It’s tragic really. The time I’ve wasted not doing things, waiting to believe enough in myself to take action. Action is the only thing that causes real change. We can sit around and think about doing things all day long, but until we act, our lives remain unchanged.
Products remain unreleased, blog posts go unwritten, a love for yoga goes unfound, and friends are left to feel all alone.
Moving Forward from Procrastination
How do we get past this? How do we move from self-doubt to action?
We acknowledge the fear. We don’t ignore it or pretend it’s not there; we face it head on.
What are you avoiding?
What are you doubting? What is the underlying fear there?
Is there any truth to that fear? Dig a little deeper. Write about it.
What actions can you take today to move past those doubts and change your circumstance?
What positive things will come as a result of those actions?
Focus on that. Focus on the possibilities. Focus on the positive. Focus on the fact that you can and will do hard things.