Procrastination – The thief of our dreams!

“Not today” , “Let’s do it tomorrow”, “Not in the mood for it today” – our usual favourite dialogues for anything we want to do for the day – be it workouts, writing, hobbies, complete an assignment or homework, presentations or achieving your goals.

This attitude called ‘Procrastination‘ is the biggest disease of our minds and thief of time. How easy it is to put things to tomorrow right , we tend to begin doing this once and it easily becomes a habit for us. Missed a workout today or going to the gym? It’s okay, I’ll go tomorrow. Not in a mood today. Your children complain – “Not today dad/mom, tomorrow please”. This way they get used to the procrastination attitude.

Let’s think about how this attitude helps us and what we gain or lose from such an attitude. Putting things to tomorrow can make you feel at ease instantly. There is mental resistance to do things. The pressure might get lighter, you give your mind more freedom to relax, get into the casual attitude, your leisure extends, your more lazy yet relaxed, you continue doing things that bring you happiness (temporarily). This way your a happy soul – again for the time being.

Now moving to the cases on what you lose when you procrastinate –

– You get distracted and tend to waste your time putting off things for tomorrow. You are doing your favorite things like watching TV, Netflix, binging, partying, 24/7 on social media browsing, drinking every night, sleeping incessantly or just on the couch for hours. Does this give you any permanent benefit or achievement for life?? – No.

– The pressure does not lighten but instead gets increased cumulatively till the deadline date – Push to tomorrow means one day less, that means 29 days more. The number 29 gives you happiness? Good. Again the attitude of ‘tomorrow’ syncs in continuously for 3 days, that reduces your time to meet deadline. Reduction in timeline increases your pressure to meet deadlines within a short frame of time – Result – Stress.

– As days approach, the tension increases. Your project or presentation or your assignment is important you are giving your best in the last 5 days of your deadline but does not end up the best. Reason – Quality is compromised due to the struggling efforts put in within a short frame of time.

– Because of short time frame left, you lose out on better options or help. For example, your presentation could have been better with more research, inputs or ideas if you had the time. This opportunity stands lost because of less timeframe.

– The stress of deadlines or not going to the gym or doing your daily workouts starts showing up on your body and mind. The tension builds up on your mind, causing sleepless nights, bad food habits, no proper routine and your body starts to fatigue, get more lazy, lose out on shape, your stomach starts to bulge out, you get addicted to binging on sweets and fast food and results – more efforts to get back in shape, more distance from your goals and at the end regrets!.

The question is why do we procrastinate?? Basically because we are not very serious about things in life neither the things we are supposed to do fall under our priority categories. Time never stops for us but we do and this is our biggest mistake of losing out on time mainly. A whole year goes by doing things or meeting deadlines in fast forward mode. Doing nothing the first sets of days and slogging the whole night prior to the actual deadline date. Our focus is never on doing things because our importance and mind shifts to rest, leisure and relaxation which are more comfortable than workouts or doing what we had planned. Also when we attach joys to rest/relaxation we feel it’s permanent but it’s not. Our mind never goes on to the actual joy of end result of accomplishing something or completing a task. Have we ever thought how much happiness a workout today or a project completion effort would do?. We tend to have the mentality stating that instead of doing it on daily basis, I could do it later as doing little by little does not really help. We lack motivation to do things or are really hesitant to start. Also, our endless planning and hunger for perfection keeps us at the same level even years later.

The secret to achieving success is in your daily routine. The little efforts you put in on a daily basis definitely helps you meet your goals productively. If you don’t start doing the things you don’t feel like doing, you will wake up one year from today and be in exactly the same place. People of your age group or your friends will be at a higher position than you and you will be lamenting at the time you have lost.

Is there any solution to change the procrastinating attitude? Of course, there are. There are multiple solutions to stop yourself from putting things to tomorrow. Let me list them for you –

1. Make chunks of your goals – if you are having a goal of losing weight or keeping fit , make chunks of your goals – divide them into doable , easy to fit into your schedule on a daily basis and work on them. This way you reduce the burden or fear of accomplishing a big goal.

2. Reward yourself for every effort completed on your goals – The best way to encourage and appreciate your efforts is to reward yourself for the hard work done or on accomplishing the small chunks of your goals. This way it will help you look forward to and also double up your efforts for the taking the next steps of actions on your goals. For example – you could buy your favorite clothes, art stuff or something you like and wanted to have or just anything that makes you happy. Be mindful not to binge eat again as it does not serve as a reward instead could nullify your hard work on your efforts done.

3. Stop planning – The enormous planning that you put in has to someday end. End it now. Let your plans be flexible and adaptable to change. Begin to take that first step and see your adrenaline rush. You have a vision in mind for your goals or work, act upon it. Every vision without action is daydream. It is important to act. Remember, the best way to get things done is to simply begin.

4. Stop looking for perfection – If we focus on perfection and continue our delays we will end up not even trying what we had aimed to. Until you do not try, work, make mistakes, rectify, how will you reach the standards of perfection?. Perfection does not come with planning alone, it comes with working on your faults, getting better and better and keeping the consistency will help you reach the standards of perfection. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start getting excited about what could go right.

5. The 5 second rule – This rule helps to divert your mind every time you want to put things for tomorrow or get distracted by not-so-good things. Your mind has the power to shift focus from rest to action and that can definitely be done using this rule called 5.4.3.2.1. This rule was designed by Mel Robbins, the famous motivational speaker who has the book titled the same. All you need to do is Everytime you feel the urge not to do your workout – close your eyes , fold your fists and count 5…4…3…2…1. This way you are commanding your mind to jump up, shift focus to doing than delaying. Try this formula a number of times it definitely helps. Mel Robbins also has another wonderful formula called “Do it anyway“. The magic of this formula is even though you’re held up or down with cold or waking up in the morning makes you feel lazy, tell yourself ‘Do it anyway’. After your workout, see the sense of accomplishment you feel on getting things done or completing the workout that sets your attitude on a different level altogether. The joy of overcoming the factors that were pulling you down is magical. Try that!!.

6. Keep reminding yourself of the end goal, tell people about your goal – It’s important to push yourself up , motivate and encourage to begin working on your goals or deadlines and this could only come if you remind yourself about the end goal – The Joy of achieving it, the sense of accomplishment and pride of having done, the way people will look upto you for achieving such success, the recognition and rewards that will follow etc. You could also tell people, discuss, argue on how you have this goal in life and you are working on it, it motivates you more to achieve it. Your mind receives signals that ‘yes, I need to get this done or accomplish this goal’. This way your mind is less distractive of procrastination.

Think positive, be positive about achieving your goals because it is necessary to keep your efforts going and never to lose heart at your failures or faults. Set your own deadlines for your smaller goals, when you achieve them see the sense of joy you get. Take help from others, if you are stuck at any stage of your actions because it helps you to remove all hurdles and work towards the end goal and not to remain stagnant at one level or lose focus of your achievements.

Remember, procrastination is the thief of dreams. Upto you to decide – You wanna put off for tomorrow , lose time and remain where you are or DO IT NOW and see yourself at a different level altogether. The choice is yours!!!

Do it now , sometimes later becomes never!!

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