I am surprised that with all the drugs in development for syndromes we haven’t heard of, there isn’t a drug to cure chronic procrastination. As a procrastinator, I would seriously consider a prescription if the side effects included goal achievement, life passion, and a burning sensation due to persistent happiness. Until this pill arrives, I’m stuck with dealing with it myself.
If you haven’t experienced the effects of procrastination, you are lucky. I can define it as 10 years of undergrad study followed by five years in graduate school. To be fair, I worked full time in my profession while in school, but I still put off today what I could do tomorrow. My dream continues to be a career as a full time writer and speaker and maybe I will achieve this…”someday”.
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. Hello, my name is Kathi, I am a chronic procrastinator. So now what? As a behaviour change specialist, I continue to work through my own procrastination issues through a series of steps. One day it may mean talking my way to the gym when I would rather sit on my comfy couch, the next it could mean sitting down in front of my computer and writing. Whatever the challenge, here are a few steps that may help you move towards achieving your own goals and finding your own passion in life (if you haven’t already).
Step One: Pull the plug. The average Canadian watches 16.9 hours a week of TV and spends 18 hours a week on-line. Think of what you could accomplish with 34.9 extra hours per week!
Step Two: Create a long term goal coupled with smaller short term goals. Goal setting is important and helps to outline an action plan for success.
Step Three: Record keep. Research strongly suggests the success rate of change occurs when one keeps records. Start by recording how much time you spend doing things right now and slowly make changes as you see fit.
Step Four: Start slowly. Set aside a few hours a week to start and add more as the momentum builds (and it will build, I promise).
Step Five: Be aware of your lapses. It is easy (and normal) to slip back into old behaviours. If you find yourself watching too much reality TV again (not that there’s anything wrong with that), reconfirm your goals and go back to step one.
Procrastination is definitely one of the major contributors to living a joyless life. We get into ruts, bad habits, complacency, and put off doing what we are passionate about until “someday”. The sad thing is, someday never comes. So procrastinators rise up! Proclaim your passion and just get ‘er done! You will be healthier, happier, and more joyful for it.
Kathi holds a masters degree in Exercise and Health Psychology and is an author and speaker on topics related to health promotion.