Setting the Scene!

It’s Sunday night.  You’ve had a bit of a mad weekend; overindulged in more ways than you wish to think about!  You’re feeling tired, lethargic, not looking forward to work and just slightly annoyed with yourself for getting to this stage – again!  With a sudden (and slightly out of character) surge of inspiration you decide to check out what classes are on at the Gym in the week.  You log on to the Gym of your choice and hey presto – Monday morning, 6.45am, Dance Fit, perfect – how hard can a bit of dancing be, and you can fit it in before work to get it over and done with!  Before you know it you’ve signed up for the class and are feeling really pleased with yourself.  You make yourself a cuppa, relax, dunk your chocolate biscuit in your drink (after all, one won’t hurt now; you can start your diet as well as exercising tomorrow), and settle down for the evening feeling far more chilled because you’ve done something positive.

6.15am Monday morning – ‘What the……..  surely it’s not time to get up yet’, then you remember – EXERCISE – you think about getting out of your warm, cosy bed,  then it hits you – you have a nightmare week ahead of you, and you need to go shopping for a new outfit, and anyway, there’s another class tomorrow morning.  In fact, you will perform so much better tomorrow when you’ve had another good night’s sleep! ‘What the heck’ you think, ‘I’ll go to the gym tomorrow morning’  but of course…….tomorrow is always a day away!

Why the lack of motivation?

If you can relate to the above scenario don’t panic (yet), I’m absolutely convinced you’re not alone!  We all lack motivation at times, putting things off until another day.  Not just in relation to exercising but also things like dieting (I’ll start Monday), tax returns (I’ve got at least a week left until they’re due in), assignments, dissertations, housework, cleaning the car, gardening……the list is endless! However, whilst all of us procrastinate at some time, about 20% of the population deliberately look for distractions to avoid difficult tasks, so why is this?

Why Procrastinate?

Procrastination reflects a struggle with self-control and the inability to predict how one will feel tomorrow.  Often there is a fear of failure lurking somewhere in the background, and such fears are masked with statements such as ‘I work better under pressure’ .  The psychology behind a fear of failure seems pretty obvious – if I don’t start something how can I possibly fail at it, yet surely the only time we truly fail is when we don’t try!  Whilst that sounds easy, all to often a fear of failure is very deep routed, stemming back to something that happened in childhood and may require therapy to resolve.

As mentioned, statements such as ‘I work better under pressure’ are used by many people.  However, the 20% of serial procrastinators will typically use the ‘I work better under pressure’ as their way of justifying putting things off.   The reality of the situation is that putting certain things off can, and does, have devastating consequences for many people – think about the impact of always putting of that diet on your blood sugar levels, or always waiting until tomorrow to start exercising.  Exercise and healthy eating could resolve or reduce the risk of many health issues so why wait until tomorrow?  Of course, there are those who simply don’t feel things like healthy eating, exercise, achieving certain goals etc are important, and for them that’s ok.  But if you do want to avoid the potential consequences of putting off difficult tasks then the best time to start is now not tomorrow.  As I said at the start of this article – tomorrow is always a day a way and, as such, will never arrive!

So, can Procrastinator’s change?

The answer to this is yes! The first step is making a decision to do something, and then doing that something immediately.  If you are one of the 20% of serial procrastinators, that something might be seeking outside help to address the issue.  Both Hypnotherapy and BrainWorking Recursive Therapy have helped many people to overcome the procrastination they experience in order that they are able to achieve so much more in life!  Why not make that decision and act on it now!

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