Who and what you are at this moment in time is nothing but the result of your consistent actions. The same is true for what you will become as a person. Being caught up in the destructive habit of procrastinating will only serve to immobilize you and deprive you of a future that might end up being only a dream. Overcoming procrastination has no magic “cure”, but requires you to truly develop yourself and grow in your capacity to take action. Procrastination truly is a strange behavior, but is definitely there by design as it provides you with the necessary resistance to push against in order to build your inner strength and “emotional muscle.”
Procrastination is a call to action. Avoiding the very tasks that will give you the results you are after is not very intelligent. You have to step up and strengthen your resolve. The easiest way to snap yourself into action is by making a decision. Decision is the father of action and all action flows from decisions. The challenge is that we have been using the word decision so loosely that it lost much of its true meaning. When you make a real decision, a true commitment, you cut off all the possibilities other than that which you are absolutely committed to. Like any other skill, you need to get better at making decisions by making more of them and as you develop this ability you will get better at overcoming procrastination until you eventually develop the habit of being decisive.
A truly committed decision will turn your “shoulds” into “musts.” In fact, this critical distinction separates procrastinators from action minded and decisive achievers. We all get what we have to have, and we only get our “shoulds” when it is convenient. The most common reason why people procrastinate is that they just don’t “feel” like doing it. When you don’t feel like doing it, it simply means that you associate more pain to taking action than to avoid it. As human beings, we are to a large extent controlled by our emotions and feelings. You will do almost anything to avoid painful emotions and gain pleasurable emotions. Your beliefs about what will lead to pain or pleasure serves as a reference that will guide you in making decisions. Changing your limiting beliefs is a powerful way of overcoming procrastination. The only reason why you can’t take action is because of your belief(s) about why you can’t.
Beliefs are designed as a shortcut for your mind to make decisions quickly. Even if you haven’t got exact experiences your mind will make it up based on your beliefs. We all have a built-in need for certainty and our beliefs give us that sense of certainty. The most potent beliefs of all are the beliefs you have about yourself and your own abilities and capabilities. If you believe that you are a procrastinator and that you can never follow through and create results, then no matter what technique or strategy you learn or apply, you will always be a procrastinator. Your beliefs about yourself create your identity and one of the strongest needs within your character is for your actions to be consistent with your identity. Whatever identity you hold will create your reality.
Your beliefs are mostly formed unconsciously by life experiences and the meaning you take from it. You are the master of meaning and the way you communicate your life experiences to yourself will determine what things mean to you. The way you talk and communicate with yourself is a form of hypnosis and most people give themselves a really hard time when they screw up. They indulge in negative self-talk. That installs disempowering beliefs about their abilities and capabilities. Overcoming procrastination requires you to take control of your internal communication. What you say to yourself about yourself and your life will eventually determine what actions you take.
People who are happy, successful, and fulfilled are not lucky or born under the right stars, but are individuals that have learned how to overcome procrastination and take action even when they don’t feel like it. When you don’t feel like doing it you are simply not in a resourceful emotional state. The quickest way to change this is to change your mental focus; change your concentration and that which you are paying attention to. If you focus on the painful and unpleasant aspects of any task you will eventually start to procrastinate, even if you are incredibly disciplined. Your focus is on your experience of life. Learning to control and direct your focus on the pleasurable aspects of taking action will empower you to overcome procrastination. Develop the habit of taking the long view; of focussing on the outcome and not the process and watch yourself move past procrastination.