Procrastination is all about fear.
Fear is the main reason that people don’t go after their hopes/dreams/goals/passions. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of responsibility or taking a risk or what others will think or putting yourself out in the world. Fear of too many choices and so not making a choice at all (which, mind you, is still a choice). Fear of what you have no control over. Fear of not having permission. Fear of it not being the right time. Fear of this, and that, and the other thing. In the end, it comes down to this: your comfort zone is familiar and so, you tell yourself, safer than stepping outside of it into the vast unknown where safety is not assured.
Know this: you’re not alone in being scared. My hand is raised. My guess is that so are the hands of most, if not all, of the people around you. So you see, you’re in excellent company with the rest of us who have put off what we most wanted to have/be/do/say in favor of waiting for the fear to ease. Know this too: once you face your biggest fear, keep going all the way through it, and conquer it, you’ll come to find that vanquishing any other fears will be so much easier the next time.
How To Overcome It:
There’s no choice on this one except to face your fears head on. So do this:
- Befriend yourself. Be the kind of best friend to yourself that you’ve always wanted to have.
- Practice self-compassion. Be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself because you’re likely going to have to have/be/do/say some things that make you uncomfortable.
- Decide that whatever it is you’re procrastinating about matters deeply to you. Your reason for taking action then becomes about fulfilling yourself and not about what anyone else wants/thinks/wishes/demands/etc. If it matters deeply to you, that’s reason enough for you to pursue it. (And if it doesn’t matter deeply to you, well, give yourself permission to simply let it go.)
- Let go of the story you tell yourself about the outcome. Don’t worry about the future that you can’t control, how people will receive it, how much money it might make, how it might make you feel, what it might do for your life, and the like.
- Take tiny steps.
- Write down where you want the end to be.
- Write down all the steps you need to get there.
- Make each step smaller and smaller until they don’t scare you at all or at least scare you a lot less. (One of mine, once, was pushing the confirm button on a website; that’s all I had to do that day.)
- And if you ever get to a point where you get really scared again, break down that tiny step into even smaller steps.
- Then take one tiny step after another on your list and keep moving through the fear.
- Give yourself a prize every single time you take a step. Prizes can be big and extravagant if your budget allows. Prizes can also be as simple as a long walk, a cup of your favorite beverage, watching TV guilt-free, etc. The only thing that matters with prizes is that they are something you want that’ll make you feel nourished when you get them. (Don’t skimp on this one. Do something to celebrate yourself and show yourself that you’re worth the effort.)
- Keep going, all the way to the end. You’ll get there. You will, as long as you refuse to give up on yourself. It truly doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you don’t stop.
Some things I’ve learned:
- All that time you spend waiting is all that time you can never get back.
- Your biggest regrets, looking back, will likely be all the time you spent waiting in fear when you could’ve taken action and created a life you loved.
- All the regret in the world won’t change a single thing. So take what you can learn from those regrets (namely: fear not) and take the next tiny step right now.
What are you procrastinating about? Do yourself a kindness and go do/start it today.