Procrastination can be a debilitating habit. We delay on doing the things we have to do and the things we want to do.
Sometime in 2009 I started to stop procrastinating, yes you read that right. It was the beginning of the end of my inability to take action.
It started with taking action on one of the things that rummaged about my head in the form of hopes and dreams. I started to write my first book.
Up until then I was an avid procrastinator
- I procrastinated on doing the exercise I knew I should be doing
- I procrastinated on starting the morning routine I regularly promised myself I would start
- I procrastinated on doing the weekly chores and admin that I knew would make my life better.
It was almost like an addiction to failing, I would make a plan but my addiction would take over ensuring what I planned wouldn’t happen.
I’m assuming this sounds familiar to you in some shape or form because I know there are many of us out there. We have good intentions but an inability to follow through. We end up experiencing guilt, regret or disappointment with ourselves and our failed plans once again.
Some of you will be resilient and keep jumping back up and moving on, you take action once again and give it another shot.
Some of you will take it harder. Finding it more difficult to move on, you like to beat yourself up, remind yourself that you are destined to fail, why would it be any different this time?
You might even tell yourself that you are happy this way, steeped in your bad habits that give you a moment’s relief from the feelings of failure and disappointment.
Is there any Hope?
This might sound bleak but it is true for a large percentage of the humans I interact with. We can be very hard on ourselves, every now and again we try for more, we fail and we fall back into the old habits of self pity, self dislike and inaction. We feel frustrated, disappointed, even angry why can’t I manage it, everyone else seems to have it figured out?
There is always hope.
And there is a better way;
A way in which you can try again and not see every mishap as failure, a way where you encourage yourself to start small and celebrate every success no matter how small, a way where you get to feel good about yourself, proud of yourself and even confident in your abilities.
And that way starts with forgiveness.
It might sound like pie in the sky; forgive yourself for procrastinating and all will be well but
in a study carried out by Michael Wohl and colleagues n the University of Carleton on the effects of self forgiveness on procrastination they found that the students who practised self forgiveness after procrastinating on studying on a first exam were more likely to do well and not procrastinate on their second exam.
“Forgiveness allows the individual to move past maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying” The researchers said that “by realising that procrastination was a transgression against the self and letting go of the negative affect associated with the transgression via self – forgiveness the student is able to constructively approach studying for the next exam”
I Forgave Myself
I know this is true because it worked for me, I started forgave myself for being a procrastinator.
- I forgave myself for failing to exercise when I knew I should be exercising
- I forgave myself for staying in bed when I had planned to get up and start a morning routine
- I forgave myself for avoiding the the weekly chores and the admin needed to be done.
It’s ok to fail, the key to success is to try again no matter how many times you need to do it.
So the big question is how do we forgive ourselves? It starts with acknowledging what’s going on. You are human it is part of life to fail but its also about making a decision that you want it to be different, understanding that it can change for you just like it changed for me. I have never been good at habits, hated routine and structure but I now have several healthy habits that support me in achieving my goals and it started with the recognition that failure is ok but that’s not the way I want to live my life.
Forgiveness is a very good first step to beating procrastination but it can also help to understand your particular reasons for procrastinating. You can find out more about procrastination, what it is, why we do it and the solutions for beating it in my Free 3 part Video series Beat Procrastination and Get your Goals.