“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” – Tony Robbins
We all have dreams, ideas, and goals we want to accomplish or hope to accomplish in this year or at least in this lifetime. Whether that be a bucket list of things you want to do before you die or projects you want to finally get completed and off your dream board.
Procrastination and self-sabotage go hand in hand as hidden blocks that continually gets in the way and is made one choice at a time. Let's start with the Merriam-Websters definition of procrastination - "to be slow or late about doing something that should be done: to delay doing something until a later time because you do not want to do it, because you are lazy, etc."
I would like to extend procrastination to fear of actually getting what it is you want, so you use distraction to put off what you need to do. This is a form of self-sabotage by putting it off you delay what you want to bring to you, if you eliminate it all together.
Every moment of every day you make choices to do things that are in alignment to what you desire and out of alignment to what you desire. For example, I'm writing a book and I have a list of how much of the book I am going to write each day. When I wake up I have gotten in the habit of writing, but I could easily choose to binge watch TV instead. And when I started writing the book that's exactly what I did. It took time and discipline to change that bad habit of procrastination of not writing to now actually writing everyday.
The truth is most of us want rewards for our efforts straight away and when we don't see results we give up. Making the choice to step into what you want is just as easy as making a choice to step away from what you want. The real problem lies in if you keep making choices that take you away from what you want over time the dream becomes less and less. The answer is create a different habit and in time with structure and discipline you can make better choices that don't take you down the rabbit hole of procrastination.
When I started writing my book in January 2016 which was off to a slow sporadic start. I begin my process by making choices that took me away from writing everyday. I would watch my TV shows, hang out with friends, and do everything but getting my butt in the chair and writing. Over time it was creating anxiety, distrust in myself, feelings of discouragement and lacking confidence. It wasn't until the summer that I had a friend offer to edit the book, but only had a pocket of time available. I was finally thrusted into finishing up the book so I could have her help. Sometimes to get moving I need a fire lit under my ass. But again that's a choice I could have sabotaged that event by not getting the book completed and losing out on the editing opportunity by my friend. Instead I took it as good fortune and did what I needed to do to get it completed.
I'm in the final revising stage and have consistently gotten my butt in the chair every morning since then. This took time to work on choices that would lead me to completion not further from it. I became disciplined and structured with my time finding my flow. If you are struggling with procrastination needing focus and structure here are my 5 tips to breaking this bad habit of procrastination.
1. Pick 1-3 items that you would like to complete
Have passion or desire in what you are choosing to accomplish otherwise you will slowly loose steam. The reason I say 1-3 is I myself need versatility and do not do well focusing on one thing I need to have at least three projects going for me to feel successful. If you are better with one thing at a time that's what's right for you. Really half the battle is deciding what it is you want!! If you're going to have three items make sure one is a bigger project and the other two may be smaller projects.
For example, here are my three projects to date
- Write and Publish a Book
- Read a book a month
- Master Class Certification - Astrology
2. Break down each item from start to finish of what you need to do
Take a piece of paper and put on the heading the project you want to complete. Then free flow all the items you feel need to be done to complete the project. This is actually the fun part because you probably have all these ideas stored in your head and now you can finally download it onto paper. It gives you a sense that now you know exactly what is needed to complete this project and you've already taking your first step to get there.
3. Decide on a deadline of completion
Remember be realistic and give yourself the time needed to get the project done with success not scrambling. I would actually add a month to your deadline for things that may come up, because if you get it done before the due date...Good for YOU!
4. Ever Sunday write your To Do list for the week
I have 7-10 items on my list with some of the items being feed the cat, make bed, brush teeth. This list is to help you be accountable to what you need to get done. Here's my list for one of my days.
- Julia Roberts
- Write a description of their Sun-Moon Blend
- Read pages 393-404
- Finish Editing chapter 10
- Feed cat
- make bed
- Grab food for friends get together
- dinner at Erica's
- make coffee for tomorrow
This list allows for the smaller items of a project to be given a day to do them, so over time the bigger list gets smaller and smaller every day. Once you've completed the item take it off the list.
5. Be kind to yourself it takes time
As you are stretching your action and accountability muscles it takes practice, practice, practice. So be kind to yourself and stick to your lists, even if you don't get everything done maybe shorten it so you can feel accomplishments. If you stick to it over time you will be amazed at how many things you are getting done as well as goals you are now checking off your list. Life is a process and as long as you show up every day you will succeed and let's face it, YOU ARE A SUCCESS right here right now!