You consider yourself to be a procrastinator. You often find yourself saying, “I’m such a procrastinator.” And lately, you’ve been wondering why you procrastinate so much.
I’m going to help you understand why you procrastinate so much, even with the things you really want to do.
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The first thing I want to talk to you about is your beliefs about who you are. If your thoughts create your feelings which drive all your actions, how do you think you feel and act when you call yourself a procrastinator?
Do you believe your thoughts? If so, doesn’t it make sense that you’d then procrastinate more? It is, after all, who you tell yourself you are.
The first thing I want you to recognize is what you’re telling yourself. I want you to begin to pay more attention to the labels you put on yourself.
If we step back and really look at the word procrastinate, we know that it’s a verb. It’s something we do. I want you to consider thinking of yourself less as a procrastinator and more as a person that sometimes procrastinates.
Think about other things you do regularly, like driving or grocery shopping. You would never go around telling people how much of a driver or grocery shopper you are. So, moving away from defining yourself as someone who procrastinates and shifting your thoughts instead to identifying as someone who sometimes chooses to procrastinate, gives you more power.
When you say that you sometimes procrastinate, get clear about why you do that, when you do that, and what you want to do to change that. Thinking about it like this makes it more factual. When we focus on the facts about any situation, we can then take action from a less judgmental, dramatic, and emotional place. That’s the place where we can brainstorm and problem solve at our highest levels.
If you’re still wondering why you procrastinate in the first place, let’s talk about the motivational triad. This will help you better understand why you do (or don’t do) certain things and how your brain is wired.
Our brain’s number one job is to keep us alive. We are a continually evolving species, but years ago our days consisted of creating and maintaining our shelter, hunting for food, and having sex so we could survive as humans and as a species. We used to conserve our energy and use it for these things alone as a way of protecting ourselves. This was vital for our survival.
Within the motivational triad we have three things that our brains focused on in order to increase our chances of survival:
So, we are hard-wired to avoid anything that might hurt or harm us and instead we do things that feel good immediately and are easy.
The problem with this is that today we are a much more evolved species. Typically we no longer need to worry about being chased by wild animals or finding shelter.
But, our brains don’t know that. So, they continue to do their job and try to protect us anytime something seems scary, new, or difficult.
While you know you want to achieve the goal you just set, your brain doesn’t see the long term positive impact it could have on you. It only sees the change from the norm and the amount of work it will take. Your brain assumes you’re in danger and tries to steer you in the direction of avoiding the new experience. It tries to get you to seek immediate pleasure and reward in things like overeating and scrolling on Instagram.
When you give in, your brain thinks it just saved your life, but in reality you’ve just chosen the easy and safe option. While it might feel good in the moment, by choosing this option you’re likely going to remain stuck in your present reality and never reach your goals or potential.
In order to continue to learn, grow, and fulfill your greatest desires, you need to challenge the motivational triad. This means you need to know what your brain is doing and challenge it.
When you try something new, expect your brain to freak out and try to derail you. Be on to the negative thoughts that come up. While your brain wants you to avoid anything that’s new and challenging, remind yourself that the only way you’re going to grow is to get uncomfortable and move toward the fear of the unknown or the challenge.
Your brain is capable of growing and creating new thoughts, feelings, and actions. But it’s going to require you to know that this is possible and challenge your brain when it tells you it isn’t.
Facing your fears and allowing the discomfort is required to stop living on autopilot and start creating the life you really want to live.
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If this seems like too much to tackle on your own, I get it. Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and set up your free 60 minute consultation call where you’ll learn about why you’re procrastinating and how my coaching can help.
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