Procrastination plagues us all; nobody is immune to this “success stealer.” Once beaten, however, anything is possible. Matt shows you how to overcome procrastination.
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Matt: Hey, this is Matt, “The Do Over Guy,” and this is Your Do Over: Episode 45.
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Now I’m a little late getting this episode out. My apologies. For some reason, I’ve been procrastinating. I haven’t really gotten to the root as to why but let’s talk about procrastination today. It seems like a good topic and seems fitting. That’s for sure.
I mean, well, I should say none of you suffer from this but for today you can humor me. Okay? So let’s look at what causes procrastination and how to overcome procrastination. Well, on second thought, I think I’ll maybe talk about this later. I got to update my Facebook status real quick.
So I’ll see you next week. Okay? Take care.
I know. Dumb joke. Right? Poorly executed as well but I couldn’t resist. You see typically when you procrastinate there is an in authenticity somewhere meaning you’re not being truthful with yourself with regards to why. Not to worry, though, it doesn’t really make you wrong. It doesn’t make you wrong or make you a bad person.
Procrastination, though, can hinder or slow down or even debilitate the best of the best, the most successful of the most successful, the purest, the most honest, the most hardworking people of society.
Nobody is immune to procrastination. You know, often times procrastination can mask your fears. Your fear of success, your fear of failure, or your fear of embarrassment. There’s a common one, the fear of rejection. Dealing with fear is a challenge for most people. They can much easier to accept the first plausible thought that comes to mind as a sensible reason for procrastinating. Then you know that you’re just not organized or you’re tired or you just don’t like to do a certain thing or you don’t like a certain task. Rather than admit that you’re really engaging in self-sabotage and holding yourself back out of fear.
Fear could be the reason for your, sorry, my procrastination. Indeed. But it can get deeper than that. For the most part, we could admit to ourselves that we are scared of something. We can do that.
You don’t need to get down past one or two layers to discover and admit that you’re say afraid of rejection. But the answer to what causes you to procrastinate goes deeper than those one or two layers.
The answer is typically a much uglier one. You have to dig for it. It’s an uncomfortable answer that you might not even admit to yourself such, as I don’t know, something like I’m lazy.
Sure. We often say things like “I’m feeling lazy today.” But we admit it in just mostly or believe it is just a temporary state. But when you get down to it, laziness is really ugly. We won’t honestly admit it to ourselves. I mean with so much at stake meaning your life meaning you’ve got to do over. You’ve got to do over. It’s only your life and your dreams at stake.
I mean nobody is going to do it for you. You ‘re lazy to do it yourself. How pathetic. Right? That’s ugly. You’re about to give up all of your hopes and dreams because you’re lazy.
That’s what I mean with lazy is an ugly word that most of us won’t look deep enough to discover. Second, don’t have the courage to admit. I mean it’s laziness for you. You don’t want to admit to or something else maybe that’s just as ugly.
How about it’s just not that important to you? That one can get really nasty. I mean that’s getting real with yourself. You know when you look or arrive somewhere late; say you’re meeting your friend for coffee. You’re five minutes late. You’re 10 minutes late. 20 minutes late. We’ve all done it.
You know you’ve all the excuses. Oh the baby started crying. I got caught in traffic. I couldn’t find my other sock. Whatever it may be. No. The real answer is it’s just wasn’t that important to be there on time.
That’s digging deep. That’s what’s real. That’s authentic. Because I tell you if you had a million dollar check waiting for you and you had to pick it up 5 o
Clock on the dot. The same time you’re meeting your friend for coffee. You would have been 5 o’clock. Wouldn’t you have? Of course you would’ve. That would have been really important.
But your friend just wasn’t that important. I know. It’s ugly. It’s nasty but when you get down to it and you dig deep enough and you get honest with yourself. That’s what we sow.
It’s nasty especially when what’s causing you to procrastinate has to do with your own well being or your family’s well being. I mean if you’d rather update a Facebook status or if you’d rather check some emails or either hot fudge sundae or watch the latest episode of X-Factor or even worse watch re-runs of “I Love Lucy” or “What’s Happened In Our Happy Days.”
I mean that those activities are more important to you than your Do Over is almost impossible but what other answers could there be. I mean you chose to do those activities or whatever it is for you something equivalent. Instead of go out and doing what you should do that supports what you’re up to and supports your Do Over.
I mean what other answers could there be? You have chosen to watch one more time Lucy Belle down the Videogame or watch re-run, get kick out of the football game because of failing games.
Or watch The Fonds jump the barrels on his motorcycle. Instead of whatever you claim to be the most important thing in your life like supporting your family. That’s what I mean by ugly and nasty. You know what, drive us to do what we do can be really hideous.
It’s tough to admit to ourselves to what it actually is. The scary part about it is we don’t do things randomly. We don’t do this randomly. Human beings do things because they are driven to do so.
Now I’m going to lighten up a little bit and let you off hook a little bit. It’s not as ugly as superficial as you holding deep down in “I Love Lucy” re-run at a higher regard of your family’s welfare.
I mean it could be interpreted as such as I pointed out but it’s not that ugly or abnormal. Right? Wrong. Bad or good. Everything we do as humans we do for a reason. I’ve pointed a few of those reasons. As ugly as they might have been but typically they’re not as apparent almost always they escape our consciousness.
Whatever the reason for human procrastination, there is undoubtedly a single driving force. Understanding this force is the first step if not the only step to overcome procrastination. This force governs every facet of our lives from relationships to our careers to our finances to our health is forced.
It’s controlling you right now. It will continue to control you for the rest of your life. It’s the sensation of pain or pleasure. Everything. I mean everything. Everything that you and I do, we do either out of avoiding pain or gaining pleasure. We are running away from pain or we are running towards pleasure.
You know I can’t count how many times someone has expressed to me their desire to make a change in their life but then they don’t never seem to actually follow through. They experience frustration, anger, disappointment, and depression, whatever it may be. They know they must take action in order for them to get their desired result but they fail to do so. They procrastinate. I mean that’s their best-case scenarios that they procrastinate.
Because sometimes they do eventually do whatever it is that they are avoiding but most never do what they need to do. It’s because of one elementary reason. They keep trying to change their behavior or the effect when they are better served when dealing with the cause behind it.
The why. Understanding the force that pain and pleasure has over your life and then utilizing that force will enable you once and for all to create the lasting changes that you desire for yourself and those you care most about. Understanding and utilizing this force will allow you to beat procrastination.
Well the majority of the time we are still human and we will continue to be so beat yourself up for not being perfect. But seriously failure to comprehend this force essentially sentences you to a life of living in reaction.
A life of living in reaction just like animals and just like machines do but you might be taking this as a complete oversimplification. Then if you are, I understand but you know just consider. Don’t be so quick to judge. Take a moment to think about it. Why don’t we do some of the things or even many of the things that we know we should do.
After all, I mean, what is procrastination. It’s when you know you should do something but you still don’t do it. You still fail to do it. You still choose not to do it. Why don’t you?
Why not? I mean why don’t you do it? The answer is painfully simple. At some level, at some level within your soul, you associate more pain in doing than putting it off for a later time.
If what you’re putting off of any relevance to your life or important to your goals, your dreams, your livelihood, or your comfort. At some point that pain threshold will shift. I mean have you ever experienced putting something off for so long that eventually got to the point where you now associated more pain in not doing than putting it off further.
Of course. I mean we’ve all been there. We all we’ve been there a lot of times right? For example, when you are in school, you put weekend’s homework off until Sunday evening. Didn’t you?
Because it got to the point where “uh-oh, on Monday morning the teacher is going to ask me for my homework. I’m not going to have it.” That’s going to be really, really painful. I better do my homework but on Friday I got 48 hours. I want to go outside and play right now. Right?
Or every year as adults, we do this around tax day. April 14th there are always lines of people at the post office. Right? Perfect example. You are not alone in this. Also, right now we’re amidst the holidays. The shopping malls are getting more and more crowded. The closer we get to Christmas with December 24th, the mall being an absolute mad house.
It’s another example of putting something off in correlation to the amount of pain experienced from doing in relation to putting it off. I mean when that scale tips, it tips on a different point for everybody but when it tips. Procrastination is no longer an issue. Is it?
No. When the pin of not doing becomes more than doing. We jump into action in an instant. Don’t we? I mean in an instant. You know just this past week; I came to a painful realization that I only have two pairs of pants in my closet that fit me comfortably.
It’s embarrassing. I’m ashamed. I’ve been meaning to start eating better. I’ve declared it a couple of times on this show. I declared that this is my issue. I’ve been able to do over on everything in my life but this is the one aspect o my life that I’m unable to get a grasp on.
But I’ve meaning to start eating better to hit the gym. I’ve been meaning to do that for a while now but I’ve been putting it off. I’ve had every great excuse in the world to put it off. For example, as soon as my son settles in his sleeping pattern. I can get on a good schedule. That’s been my excuse for a long time.
You know, he is 5 months old now. So I’ve been using that for a while. Then this one, I’ve piled this on as soon as we settle in after the move then I’ll start working out. We’re all settled.
I haven’t started. Well actually I have but I almost succumbed to this one. I’ll get into shape after holidays. It’s not like I was uncomfortable or anything so why should I work out now when I could do it tomorrow?
It was less painful to put it off then it was to do. But then, I mean, about a week ago within a 24-hour period, I saw a recent picture of myself. I was like, who is that? I didn’t even recognize myself from behind. Then I tried three different pairs of pants in a row of which I had to squeeze into all of them.
Now the pain of putting off getting into shape exceeded the pain of actually getting back into shape so last Monday I signed up for an expensive exercise program and threw out the bad food in the house and replaced it with good stuff.
You know as most people put on 10 to 15 pounds during the holidays, I’ve declared that I will take off 10 to 15 pounds. My point is just like that, the pain of putting it off exceeded the pain of doing it and moved me powerfully into action to get back into shape.
I took bold action. That’s just how it works. That’s how pain drives us. That’s how the avoiding the pain versus pursuing pleasure work. Fortunately for most people, the avoiding pain is a bigger motivator. The fear of lost is bigger motivator. For example, where would you be more inspired to take action? To stop someone from stealing the $500,000 that has taken you 10 years to save or being presented with an opportunity of earning $500,000 over the next 10 years.
Which one would inspire you more into action? You see now that you understand it, how can you use it? I mean when you figure it out for yourself; you have figured the true secret to success for yourself.
When you control the pain and pleasure tug of war in your life, you control life but if you don’t control that dynamic. Life controls you. Now I’ve read and heard about different ways to access this control but what I’ve found does it most consistently for me is just staying in touch with my dreams and my goals: looking at my vision board, looking through my dream book.
Now I’m not going over what those are at the moment and how you create one. We’ve covered goal setting and dream board several times on this show but you see by staying in touch incognizant of what you’re up to in life, what you’re doing what you’re doing as opposed to the doing itself by staying in touch with your why and staying in touch frequently if not several times a day, asking yourself what is most likely to happen if I don’t do what I’m avoiding or of what I’m procrastinating from.
More times than not, you won’t procrastinate. You see life happens to all of us. It’s easy to get distracted from what’s really important to us so here it is: how to overcome procrastination. It will be a process. I mean the journey to success is a process and overcoming procrastination is just part of the process so you’re going to have to deal with it. We all do. No one’s excluded.
So first, review your goals and dreams constantly at the very least daily. Post dream board where you can see it all the time. Make copies and post it in several places. Post it at work. Post it in the bathroom. Post it in the garage. Wherever you spend a lot of time. Keep reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. That right will keep the pain-pleasure dynamic in healthy perspective. A perspective that will you into action and overcome your procrastination and produce your desired results.
Stay in touch with your why. Second, whenever you catch yourself procrastinating ask yourself. Is this pain-pleasure principle controlling me or am I in control of it?
Remember if you don’t control it, you are not in control of your life. Those who choose discomfort and or pain now will end up comfortable. Those who choose comfort now will end up uncomfortable more times than not.
Let me repeat that, those who choose discomfort now will end up comfortable. Those who choose comfort now will end up uncomfortable. If that’s not working for you and you’ve got a call on some extra firepower. You got to pull out the big guns. This is what I do when I find myself procrastinating I say to myself, “I’m about to give up on all of my hopes and dreams because insert reason.
I’m about to give up on all of my hopes and dreams because I’d rather update my Facebook status. I’m about to give up on all of my hopes and dreams because I’d rather play one more round of Angry Birds. I’m about to give up on all of my hopes and dreams because I’d rather watch another episode of “The Myth Busters” marathon.
That sentence right there always gets me right back into action. I mean it’s what got me here today to be here with you. Like every time once it’s done, it feels so good. Just on the other side of your procrastination is relief. It’s a great feeling.
It’s like a ton of bricks has been relieved from your shoulders even if it’s small things that you’re procrastinating on. There’s still an amazing feeling just on the other side of that, just on the other side of your action, just on the other side of its accomplishment.
Once it’s done, it feels so good. Just like it feels good to be here with you right now. That’s it for today. God loves and so do I. With him, all things are possible.
I am Matt, the Do Over guy. I will see you on the next episode of your Do Over.
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