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It happens to all of us. We know what to do, but we just don’t want to do it or we delay doing it until the very last minute.
You know the word, it is called procrastination.
Procrastination is one of the most common problems that people face in life or in their journey to achieving the goals they desire.
Everyone loves the idea of saving a portion of their money so when they need the money in the future, they can use it, whether it is for investing or as an emergency fund.
The problem with savings is it doesn’t really work unless you are someone who is extremely disciplined and able to delay gratification. Many studies have discovered that people don’t like to do something right now and only to receive the results later.
And this is exactly why we procrastinate.
I bet you have goals you wanted to achieve, but did you achieve them?
According to a study conducted by Scranton University, just a mere 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions. The crazy thing is as much as 92% of the people fail to reach their New Year goals.
Why is that?
The answer is simple.
People procrastinate and never work on their goals. They did not follow their plans and they did not act on their goals.
As a result, most people fail to reach their goals.
And most people give up on their goals after the first week of New Year.
The thing is that people know what they want, but they just don’t want to do it.
So don’t let procrastination stop you from reaching your goals and living your dreams.
Below are the 5 most common reasons people procrastinate and the steps you need to take for overcoming procrastination.
5 Simple Tips To Overcoming Procrastination
#1. Fear Of Failure
Some people procrastinate because they are afraid of failure.
Imagine if you are going to start a business and I have the power to foresee the future, and then I tell you that you are going to fail badly in the business, will you still continue and do it?
Ask yourself sincerely.
Most people will never want to do it. After all, they know they are going to fail, why do they want to do it, right?
Now, let’s turn the situation around.
What if I tell you the business is going to be so successful that you are going to make $100 million in the first year.
Will you go ahead and start the business right now?
Most people will choose to do it because the result is positive and they are going to succeed.
The same goes for people who buy lottery tickets.
They make the effort to buy a lottery ticket because they believe they are going to win.
After all, they do stand a chance to win, right?
On the contrary, people don’t buy a lottery ticket because they don’t believe they are going to win.
If you truly believe the plane you are going to board will crash, will you get on board? The answer is an obvious no.
This is the fear of failure.
When you think you are going to fail, you sabotage your own action.
This also explains why people who set unrealistic goals often don’t bother about taking action. They don’t believe they are going to reach their goals, so they don’t bother taking action too.
The Solution To Overcoming Your Fear Of Failure
First, understand that fear only appears in your head. They are not real and they are nothing but suggestions and thoughts made by your mind.
And then reframe the failure.
You must tell yourself there is no failure, only lessons. People are afraid to fail because they thought failure is the opposite of success.
However, the fact is failure is on the same side with success.
Without going through failure, you will never learn and improve to get better.
Here’s a great quote from Tony Robbins, he says, “Success in life is the result of good judgment. Good judgment is usually the result of experience. Experience is usually the result of bad judgment.”
Finally, try to read success stories from other people who have accomplished what you wanted to do.
If you want to build a successful business but you are afraid to fail, read success stories from remarkable entrepreneurs like Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, Phil Knight, and more.
The more you expose yourself to these success models, the more you will convince yourself failure is normal, it is part of the game.
And even if you fail, there is nothing to be afraid of because every successful entrepreneur fails somewhere along in their journey.
#2. Feeling Overwhelmed
Getting past the feeling of being overwhelmed is another way to start overcoming procrastination.
Imagine if you have to write a 300 page book in a week, how would you feel? The same thing can happen when your goal is too big and vague and it paralyzes you.
Earning a million dollars a year sounds absolutely exciting, but most people have no idea where to start, how to do it, and for most people, earning a million dollars a year is a big and bold goal.
If you are holding a job and you are making $5,000 a month and you have no other means of income sources, the goal to earning a million dollars a year may be too bold for you.
When something is out of your ability to reach, you will feel overwhelmed and sabotage yourself with inactivity.
When you do not believe it is possible to reach your goal because it is out of your reach, you procrastinate.
Now, I’m not saying making a million dollars a year is not possible. In fact, it is possible, but you have to start right and you need a plan.
Most people jump straight into the water only to find out that it is too deep and they don’t know how to swim, thus, they suffocate and eventually they quit.
The Solution To Overcoming Feeling Overwhelmed
The solution is to break down your big goals into smaller milestones, and then further break down the milestones into actionable tasks you can work on each day.
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds in 6 months, great. Break this goal into monthly milestones, and then create an actionable daily plan.
What can you do each day so you will hit your milestone, which will lead you to reach your goal?
For instance, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you will workout in the gym with a trainer for an hour, from 6 PM to 7 PM.
And every Tuesday and Thursday, you will go jog 10km each morning from 7 AM to 8 AM. As for Saturday and Sunday, you go to sports like swimming, tennis, etc.
Not just that, perhaps you can also follow a low-carb diet plan for the next 6 months.
When you break down your goals into actionable pieces, you will never feel overwhelmed.
You can see clearly what you need to do and by when. You can then execute and take action according to your plan each day.
It is just like what Robert Collier said, “Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out.”
#3. Lack Of Motivation
The lack of motivation is another common reason people procrastinate.
You know you need to wake up at 6 AM so you can prepare yourself and drive to the nearest gym and workout for an hour by 7 AM. But, when you wake up in the morning and see it is raining outside, it is easy and it feels so good to continue to sleep in your warm bed.
So you do.
Of course, there are also days when your alarm rings, you jump straight out of bed feeling absolutely motivated and you are ready to take on the whole world.
Motivation is an emotion. It is a feeling, and feeling comes and goes.
Hence, it is perfectly normal to have days when you are feeling absolutely driven, and days when you feel like a slump and you don’t want to do anything except lie on your couch.
The key is to learn how to manage your emotions and never let your feelings get in your way.
Highly successful people are more motivated than ordinary people because they understand how to control their emotions.
They understand what they need to do when they lack the motivation.
The Solution To Overcoming The Lack Of Motivation
The key to overcoming procrastination and staying motivated each day is not about getting motivation, it is about turning your actions into habits.
When an action becomes a habit, you will never need much motivation to execute it.
Think about it.
How much motivation do you need to brush your teeth?
And if you are a smoker, how much motivation do you need to light up a cigarette and smoke?
Therefore, turn your actions into habits. You will greatly lower the resistance when an action becomes your habit.
For example, if one of your goals is to build a successful blog and it requires you to constantly write and publish new articles regularly, make it a habit to write each day.
As a start, you can write 1,000 words a day. So how do you turn writing into your habit?
In the beginning, you may require a lot of motivation and willpower to execute the action. Try to write the article each day at the same time and same place.
Create a cue to help you build the habit. For example, each morning at 8 AM, you will make and drink a cup of coffee, and then you will start writing.
Making and enjoying the cup of coffee will become the cue. You train and condition your mind into a regular routine until the action of writing becomes your habit.
According to research, it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. Of course, some habits are easier to form while other more complicated habits may require a longer time frame.
#4. The Perfectionist Mindset
When you know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, but you are not doing it because you think you need a perfect plan or a better way to do it, your procrastination is due to the perfectionist mindset.
The problem with most people is they are afraid to start.
They worry they may make mistakes and they may fail. As a result, they want to wait for the perfect moment to come before they do it.
There is no problem if you want to wait for the right date to open your restaurant, but if you are trying to look for the perfect moment to do everything, you will never find it.
Some people do not dare to market or promote their websites because they want to wait until they finish tweaking their website designs.
They want to wait for the right logo, the right layout, the best theme, etc. before they take initiative.
Do not let this happen to you.
There is no perfect moment, you just need to start, and improve from there.
It is true that planning, brainstorming, and waiting for the right moment to strive are important, but if you are not doing anything at all, you will never get the results you want.
Just like what Dr. Phil said, “The universe rewards action. Successful people take action toward a known outcome. You can’t think about it. You have to do it, and you don’t do it for a week or a month. You do it until you get what you want.”
You don’t need to read the entire encyclopedia to understand how life works. And you certainly don’t need to learn everything and read all the books in the library to live a successful life.
If you want results, you must take action. Period.
And from the results you get, you improve your action and then do it again.
The Solution To Avoid Being A Perfectionist
Overcoming procrastination through perfectionist behavior requires you to switch your thinking. Just think that it is alright to fail.
Always remember this, “you are not building a grand piano”, thus, it is alright if you make a little mistake here and there.
The key is to learn from your mistakes and failures so you can improve and do better in the future. It is not about being perfect, but it is about constantly striving for improvement.
Everyone will make mistakes and fail at one point or another in their lives. It is a perfectly normal phenomenon.
In fact, if you study the success stories of all the remarkable people who have gone on to produce outstanding results in life, you will notice that all of them are not perfectionists and they make mistakes and fail in their journey.
People such as Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Richard Branson, and Elon Musk, all failed many times over before they finally produced outstanding success in their lives.
Therefore, the next time you worry that you may fail, or you want to wait to produce the perfect product, just tell yourself that you are not building a grand piano, thus, it is alright to not be perfect.
#5. Too Many Distractions
I bet there are times when you want to do something, someone or perhaps your phone buzzes and you are distracted. You then forget about your work.
And when you realize you need to get the work done, it is too late and you decide to procrastinate and do it tomorrow.
Distractions do not only make people procrastinate, but they also make people less productive.
For example, when you are writing an article and you have all the ideas in your mind, all of a sudden someone comes and talks to you.
The conversation distracted your flow and when you go back to your writing, you find yourself lost in the middle of nowhere. It takes you 5 minutes to get back to the flow.
This does not only happen in writing, but it can also happen in any area of our lives.
This is why an accident can happen when people are distracted by their phones.
As human beings, we are wired to focus and not multitask.
We are not good at multitasking, especially for work that requires our creativity and attention.
Hence, learn to get rid of distractions from your surroundings. When you are able to focus better, your productivity will improve, and your chances to procrastinate will be greatly lowered.
The Solution To Handling Distractions
The key to keeping distractions at bay is to build yourself a bunker. If you are working, try to work in your room and lock yourself in the room. And you can put up a “Do not disturb” sign if needed too. This way, nobody will distract you.
Plus, silence your phone whenever you want to focus on your tasks at hand. You can choose to switch it off or keep it in your drawer.
Studies have shown our phones are one of the biggest distractions in our daily lives. And today, scientists have discovered that our attention span is just about 8 seconds, which is lower than the attention span of a goldfish, which is about 9 seconds.
Another great idea is to put on headphones when you work in front of your computer. The soft background music can improve your productivity and allow you to focus better.
There are many reasons why people procrastinate.
The key to overcoming procrastination is to understand the source of why you do it. When you know why you procrastinate, you can then work on the solution as per suggested above to overcome it.
Author Bio: Want to discover the secrets to unleashing your potential and live a great and successful life? Follow Shawn Lim on his blog, StunningMotivation.com. You can also download his guidebook, Active Goal Setting and make your dreams a reality. You can also follow him on Facebook.
Jon Dulin is the passionate leader of Unfinished Success, a personal development website that inspires people to take control of their own lives and reach their full potential. His commitment to helping others achieve greatness shines through in everything he does. He’s an unstoppable force with lots of wisdom, creativity, and enthusiasm – all focused on helping others build a better future. Jon enjoys writing articles about productivity, goal setting, self-development, and mindset. He also uses quotes and affirmations to help motivate and inspire himself. You can learn more about him on his About page.