Last week we started our conversation about procrastination. It’s something I struggled to overcome and could have gotten in the way of my dreams. Hearing the honest truth, that I didn’t have the discipline to complete my dissertation, was tough to hear. But sometimes it’s tough love that is exactly the wake up call we all need.

Let’s talk a little more about procrastination, and choosing your language carefully…

When you decide to avoid doing something, you likely have a little voice in your head that supports your procrastination. So, here’s what I want you to do. It may sound a little contradictory because dealing with your issue requires the mature, adult choices of taking responsibility and being disciplined. Yet I want you to care for the part of you that has, up until now, made the immature choice to put things off, as you would care for a child. Because your procrastinating comes from a part of you that needs support and loving guidance. And because once you’ve committed to making wiser choices, there’s no room for that little voice that says things like “If you’d done this earlier, you wouldn’t be in this mess” or “I don’t understand what your problem is. Just do the work”. All the shaming and lecturing you do to yourself has no place in the new life you’re creating for yourself. Now is the time for you to be your biggest supporter.

Once you’ve decided to take the “completer” train, and finally be free to enjoy reaching your goals, you may hear yourself saying things like, “I screwed up. It’s too late; why am I even bothering to start?” It feels like it’s too late… in the day, week, year, or in your life. I remember that one well. After I had put off writing a paper for so long, getting an “Incomplete” grade, I ran this motivation-sucking thought over and over in my head --- “Now I have to write an “A” paper as I’m already so behind”. Talk about pressure. Trying to write an “A” paper knowing it will get you at best a “B” is the opposite of motivating.

Use language that reflects a realistic perspective. Remind yourself that what you’ve been delaying up until now is “JUST a ______ (phone call, workout, work project, etc.)” It is not the end of the world. It will not make or break or define your life. The idea here is to maintain a positive outlook so that you can focus solely on the task at hand: not on what it means in the larger sense. The key is to pay attention to what you’re saying to yourself as you plan and do the task. If your attention starts to wander to what’s required in the whole project, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. So simply remind yourself that the work is very doable. Tell yourself, “All I have to do right now is this one thing, and everything else will work out”.

Next week I’m going to share my very achievable steps for overcoming procrastination. But before we get there, I want you to re-read this blog today and spend a few moments journaling – what have you been putting off doing? How do you feel about these tasks?

Author's Bio: 

Lee Odescalchi is a coach and licensed psychologist. She has coached and counseled clients, just like you, looking for more fulfilling lives. Her unique approach uses the most effective methods of personal development and performance strategies. She does this while addressing issues from the past that have led to self-limiting beliefs that get in the way of your success. Lee also empowers people to “get out of their own way” and maximize their strengths so they can produce extraordinary results… in any area of their life.