Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

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by Dana on June 27, 2012

Today I’d like to respond to a question that I received via Twitter. One of my followers recently asked me if I had any tips for overcoming procrastination…So here goes.

In my experience, people procrastinate for one of three reasons, so first you need to figure out why you’re procrastinating because it will drive which strategy you use.

Reason #1: Either you’ve set the wrong goal—or you’re focused on the wrong “why.”

Are you trying to force yourself to do something that you think you should be doing—or are you working toward a goal that you genuinely want? If it’s something you think you should be doing, I recommend that you stop right now. It’s never going to work. Achieving a goal requires commitment, hard work and sacrifice—and without a strong, internal drive to keep you motivated, it will be a painful, uphill climb the whole way.

Or sometimes you have the right goal, but your “why” is off. Your big “why” is the real reason you want to achieve your goal. So you want to make sure that it’s truly compelling for you. So for example, say you want to lose weight. One person’s “why” might be that she wants to fit into a particular outfit—while another person’s might be that she wants to feel healthy and have more energy. So you’d need to figure out which “why” is strong enough to keep you going.

Reason #2: You’re afraid you’re going to fail.

Many people live in fear of making a mistake or failing. But think about the great, successful people of our time. They’re all people who have allowed themselves to take big risks—and sometimes fail. I’m a fan of the phrase, “go big or go home.” Remember, there’s always a risk involved with any decision—the risk of taking a chance and venturing into the unknown—or the risk of regret if you don’t take the chance. When given the choice, 9 times out of 10 I say be bold and take a leap!

Reason #3: You’re overwhelmed.

The final reason that people tend to procrastinate is that they’re just too overwhelmed by all that has to be done. When this is the case, I recommend these three strategies:

  1. Break the project into small steps—and only allow yourself to focus on the immediate next step that you need to take. It will make everything seem more do-able.
  2. Create positive habits to support you in achieving your goal. So—using the example above—if you want to lose weight, make sure you build exercise into your regular schedule. This way you don’t even have to think about it; it becomes something that you do naturally.
  3. Find someone to hold you accountable—either a coach or a friend who can serve as your “accountability buddy.”

Do you have any more tips for overcoming procrastination? If so, I’d love to hear them. Please share in the Comments Box below.