Your Procrastination is Telling You Something!

In my “struggles” as a recovering procrastinator, I have learned a simple lesson: You can look extremely productive while producing not much of anything. In the name of “planning,” we procrastinate. We analyze, plan, research, mull over, and consider. Then we analyze some more, plan some more, and research some more. It is as if we think things will magically come together if we just think about them hard enough. Maybe you’ve been there – or perhaps you’re there right now.   


The truth is, you don’t reach your dreams by over-thinking. You reach your dreams by DOING. Stop planning and start doing. Don’t worry about doing it perfectly, or having it ALL figured out. That’s never going to happen anyway. Give yourself permission to be imperfect. Trust that if you make a mistake, you can learn from it, make adjustments and keep moving forward.   


When you find yourself procrastinating, dig deep to see what’s really going on. Often procrastination isn’t about simply putting off a difficult task. It is about the counterproductive thoughts that can sabotage your success. Some of these thoughts are ones you are not consciously aware of. But if you become more aware of thoughts – and intentionally change them to something more productive – you can get unstuck and become unstoppable. When you hold back from moving forward on plans you say you want to see come to pass, you have to wonder what’s really holding you back. It’s probably not just that you have too much on your to-do list today or the distraction of text messages or email or Facebook. Truth be told, when you really want something, you take action. You don’t let anything get in the way. 


As you look at the five revealing subconscious thoughts many procrastinators have, be honest with yourself. Do any of these thoughts resonate?   


1.  “Truth is, I like things just as they are.”  

Sometimes you think you “should” do something, but you really don’t want to do it. You like things the way they are. Maybe you need to give yourself permission to stay where you are – or it’s time to muster the courage to shake things up a bit. The choice is yours. Just don’t stay in that inauthentic place of insisting you want something that you are never going to actually pursue.


2.  “Tackling the project at hand is too complicated.”

Many procrastinators tell themselves that the task at hand is complicated. Because it’s complicated, they feel overwhelmed or paralyzed to even get started. Do you do that? Break the task down into next steps – one at a time. What is the next step you could take right now? Do that.  


3. “I don’t really think I deserve to have what I want.”  

This one gets to the heart of your self-esteem. Whether you feel guilty about something you did in the past or you don’t feel worthy for some reason, you won’t move forward if you don’t believe you should have the thing you want to move towards. So subconsciously, you can sabotage your success by procrastinating. Do you really believe you deserve to have the goal you say you’re aiming for?


4. “I don’t really think it can happen.” 

One of the most basic and necessary elements of goal setting is self-efficacy – your belief that you can accomplish the goal. Without that belief, what’s the point of putting forth effort? A lack of confidence can be masked as procrastination. Be honest. Do you need to strengthen your belief that something really great is possible? 


5.  “I’m afraid of what others will think, say or do.”  

Fear is at the root of most self-sabotaging behaviors. Are you willing to allow what others think (or what you’re afraid they might think) to control you? Make an intentional decision.    


My challenge to you this week:

Peel back the layers and uncover the real culprit of your procrastination


Journaling assignment:

After answering, take a look at the five self-sabotaging thoughts above, and ask yourself, “which of these are true for me?” Is the thought helping you or hurting you? Are you willing to change it?  If so, what new thought do you want to embrace that will empower you to finally move forward? 

Future Looks Foggy? 5 Questions to Get Some Clarity

One morning when I was headed to my office, I was startled by what appeared to be a cloud of smoke across a wide swath of gray sky. The view that I was accustomed to seeing was nowhere to be seen. It was a bit disorienting. As I tried to make sense of it, I had only one thought: There must be a fire. I scanned the area while driving, curious what building the fire might be coming from. But as I continued to drive down the street, I realized the “smoke” expanded far beyond the few blocks from home. It wasn’t smoke at all. It was a dense fog – thicker than I’ve ever seen it!  Amazingly, an hour later when I stepped out of my office, the sun’s bright rays had parted the fog and the skyline was in clear view. Finally, there was clarity.

It reminds me of what happens when life gets foggy and cluttered. It can feel like you can’t see what the future holds, what decisions to make or whether what has always been there is still there at all. It is like wading through a dense fog of uncertainty and confusion. Should I follow my dream or play it safe? Should I buy the house now or keep renting? Should I go back to school so I can change careers or stay in this career I don’t enjoy? Should I hold on to this relationship or let go? When working with clients, and even in my own life, I have noticed that stress and stagnancy are often created by a lack of clarity.

Once you get clear, it is like rays of sun burning away the fog of confusion – and suddenly you are no longer stuck. It is normal to feel uncertain and fearful of the future when you can’t see clearly. Clarity creates breakthrough. In what area of your life are you lacking clarity right now? Here are a few ways you know it’s time to get clarity:

  • A decision needs to be made – whether about a relationship or finances or career – and you feel as though you have absolutely no idea how to proceed.
  • You find yourself busy doing a lot of stuff, yet you feel unproductive.
  • You feel overwhelmed.
  • You have no idea how much is coming in and going out of your checking account.
  • You have no passion for what you’re doing, but no plan to make a transition.

When you ask the right questions, you get the right answers. So in this moment, I invite you to take a deep breath and coach yourself with a few questions to get clarity so you can de-stress, move forward and become unstoppable:

  1. What is unclear to me right now?
  2. What specific information or activity will give me clarity?
  3. Who or what resources do I need in order to get that clarity?
  4. What decision will clarity empower me to make?
  5. Why is that decision important for me right now?

My challenge to you this week:

Take a break to get clarity.