By Dr Diane Hill
“The man who moves mountains starts by moving small stones” ~ Confucius.
When we are passionate about something, in-flow, and living life authentically, we dive straight into new things with complete clarity of what we want. However, many of us find ourselves procrastinating and making excuses for why we never reach our goals. This behaviour leads to the frustration of not knowing how to get what we want out of life.
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is that irritating, uncomfortable feeling of delaying or postponing something you have set out to do. Whilst you may have great intentions to change and adopt new habits, the subconscious part of the brain sees this change as unfamiliar and therefore unsafe.
Our lives are governed by the subconscious so whilst you may have every desire to hit those targets, reach your health goals, or finish that project, your subconscious will override any conscious efforts if it feels threatened. When we live from this place of fear, we feel the internal conflict of never getting what we want and start accepting this feeling of powerlessness as normal.
When we push ourselves to reach new goals, procrastination helps us avoid uncomfortable and unfamiliar situations. It is driven by self-limiting beliefs around not feeling good enough, a fear of failure or rejection by others if you succeed, and this starts defining how you live your life.
There are ways to transition this negative cycle into something more productive and positive.
Procrastination can build efficiency.
Sitting with your thoughts for a long time is not always a bad thing. It can help you form a clearer idea of what you want or how a project should work. The trick is to acknowledge this and find a balance that works for you.
It is important to take time to think about your next move, although bear in mind that putting off things that could be done today until tomorrow will only leave you feeling on the back foot, stressed, and overwhelmed.
How to combat procrastination
Firstly, you need to recognise the uncomfortable feeling between your conscious deliberate actions and the subconscious pulling you back. Challenge it and ask yourself:
- What am I feeling?
- What fear does it conjure up?
Find out what is really going on that is causing you to self-sabotage. These feelings are only temporary as you push through the pain barrier and start forming new habits. Change the narrative. Change is scary but also good and an investment in yourself. You are worthy, you are good enough, and you will not know unless you try.
One small step forward is better than staying stagnant.
When making a change, just one thing a day will bring you closer to your goal. As Confucius (551-473BCE), the Chinese philosopher said, “The man who moves mountains starts by moving small stones”. Practice gratitude towards your goals and never judge or compare yourself to others. Ultimately you are worthy of the most incredible life, and the power to make this happen is already within you.
So, in closing, my fellow procrastinators:
-Celebrate the small victories that you accomplish.
-Understand why you keep putting things off, e.g., how does that task make you feel?
-Cut yourself some slack, you will not get everything right, but this is not an excuse not to at least try.
Let us make progress, let us move forward and move mountains one small stone at a time. I genuinely believe that, together, all of this is possible.