Monday, January 4, 2016

Having your cake and eating it too...

I had been meaning to lose weight.

I had also been meaning to hit the gym.

From tomorrow.

That tomorrow never came.

I know that sounds familiar! Whether it is exercising, cleaning your closet (which by the way, would have become a must-do-immediately from the can-postpone-it-for-a-few-days thing!) or writing that book you have been meaning to, somehow, things never seem to get done! So why aren’t you able to get things done?

Is your enemy ‘Procrastination’?

“Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday”.
~ Napoleon Hill.

Aren’t we experts in putting off everything until ‘tomorrow’, or the ‘next available free time’, or ‘the minute you can get your hands off whatever you are doing at present’? Like someone said, tomorrow is that mystical land where 99% of human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored! Of course, that time never comes! 

People procrastinate for various reasons- it could be laziness, resistance (not wanting to conform to external evaluation), lack of skill or know-how, boring stuff (yeah! How much fun can cleaning your closet be?), or lack of motivation. The main reason however continues to be fear. The fear of failing even before you begin makes you delay the task indefinitely. Perhaps, perfectionism could be a reason for the fear of failure. Another reason could be not having enough confidence on your own abilities, or setting unrealistic goals for yourself.

So here's how you can have your cake and eat it too...I mean, setting goals and sticking to them...

Get over that Laziness.

“Tomorrow is the only day in the year that appeals to a lazy man!” ~ Jimmy Lyons.

Do you have goals that don’t inspire you enough? Perhaps it is time to re-set your goals then.

Is there a health concern? Aren’t getting enough sleep, or are you overworked? Adjust your schedule, then.

Do you wish you had someone to help you out? Get help!

Find out what’s behind your laziness, and in all probability there’s a solution to it. Well, if there’s no real reason except that you are plain lazy, here’s a cheat trick- use the carrot method. Place a reward for yourself at the end of the job to be done. Get on to the job immediately and reward yourself soon after. Sometimes that is the only thing that’ll work!

Who wants to do all that Boring stuff?
Lack of interest is one reason why people don’t get things done. There’s no cure to this really. But you can add something fun to go with it, just to take the load off the boring part. Cleaning the closet is boring, so play some fun music and dance along as you put things in order. You’ll be surprised to see how quickly you can function!

Are your goals unrealistic?

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” ~ Confucius

Most of the times we create unrealistic goals for ourselves and then the final target looks so far and unreachable that we put off doing it forever! Instead of telling yourself that you need to lose 20 kilos, and then convincing yourself that it is just not possible, break down your goals into smaller achievable ones.  Achieving smaller goals is easier and it automatically motivates you to get on with the next goal.

Get rid of that fear-
Fear of failure is one of the biggest reasons why we are unable to get things done. What if I fail is scarier than not doing it at all. What if my book is a failure? So let me not write it. I’d say, go ahead and do it. Do it for yourself.

There's no need to be perfect.
Perfectionism is another reason why we keep putting off things. If you keep waiting till everything is perfectly in order for you to begin, rest assured that will never happen. If you keep waiting to do things perfectly, that is not going to happen either. You will never be completely ready. There will never be uninterrupted time, or the right time. You have to realise that the right time is ‘Now’.

Have a 'don't care' attitude.
Judgement by others is also a reason why we keep postponing things infinitely. What will someone think will surely sink your chance to get anything done! Don’t wait for someone else’s approval, or fear judgement of others. I’m 50 and I want to learn salsa, but what will my family think? Will they laugh at me? And so you put it away from your thoughts. Do you really want to let others judgement keep you away from living your life?  

Trust yourself. 
Lack of confidence also leads to procrastination. Having faith on your abilities starts with having realistic goals and not overwhelming yourself. Knowing what you can handle will give you a clear idea of what you can do. Convince yourself that the main reason you decided to do something is because you know you can and you want to. Trust your skills. Or equip yourself with skills if you feel you lack something. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to fail.

Don’t forget that time runs out faster than you think. You will never ‘find’ time for anything, you will have to make it yourself. So don’t let unnecessary ideas and unfruitful thoughts cripple you. Make the best use of it and get moving.

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