18 February 2015

How to Beat the Procrastination Demons and Get On With It!

So, if you've already given up on your New Years Resolutions (and let me tell you, you're not alone), lost your enthusiasm and finding life and work a bit of a drudge this early in the year, there's a way to rekindle the fire in your belly and get on with making what you want from this year a reality.

Most people fall victim to avoidance behaviours at some point; the dreaded procrastination that, left unchecked, kills people's dreams and flattens their enthusiasm in other parts of their work and life.  You put off doing what you know you should be doing to get what you want.  Why?

Let's face it, it's simply easier to slip back into old habits and do things the way you've always done them. It's much harder to create new habits - it requires discipline, dedication, perseverance and persistence.

The reality is very few people are single-minded in their determination to stick at new behaviours until they become second nature. That's because you might have tried and failed, tried and failed... until eventually you become demoralized and demotivated, believing your goals are just not worth fighting for any more.

If you've fallen victim to the failure cycle of procrastinating, then making excuses and laying blame for not doing what you know you should, and ultimately giving up on achieving what you set out to ... it's time to change!  When ... NOW!

If the goal is important enough to you ... how do you overcome the procrastination demons and simply get on with it?

Here are 3 simple strategies to get on with your goals:
  1. Get Clear!  You won't know where to start if you're not clear where you're heading.  One of the top reasons people delay and defer, is because they're not clear on exactly which way to head. The path forward is a bit hazy.  Let's say you want a new car this year, but haven't decided whether you want a 4 wheel drive to hook up the fishing boat, or a convertible to scoot down the freeway fantastic ... your mind can't even begin to start the process of filtering options and giving you a pathway forward. It remains confused and you stay stuck. You MUST get clear. Decide EXACTLY what you want.  Be specific.  See it in shiny and bright detail in your mind. The reality of life is that everything is created twice: first in our mind, then in reality.  The pergola out the back of your house didn't magically appear - you imagined it first, a new covered outdoor entertaining space with a new pergola. You imagined whether it would be a pitch gable or a flat roof, you saw the style and size in your mind, then you planned it and made it happen (either by building it yourself or getting someone else to).  That's how everything is created, first in your imagination, then you take the steps to enact the vision.  But if the vision is not clear, you won't know how to map it out, let alone take the required action.  So sit down with a blank sheet of paper, and map out what you want. Write the colour, size, details, and time-frame of what it is you truly want.
  2. Create a Plan!  A goal without a plan to make it happen is simply a wish, a hope, a dream.  It most certainly has little chance of becoming a reality.  There's much written about the Law of Abundance, that this is an abundant planet full of opportunity and plenty.  But sitting at home hoping that your share will magically turn up on your doorstep is plain delusional. You've got to take action.  And you can only take action if you have a plan that maps out just what you need to do.  First, decide on the top 3-4 things you need to do to make your goal happen.  For example, if this is your year to start an investment portfolio, your objectives might be to: 1. Start a dedicated savings plan, 2. Increase income, 3. Research preferred investment options, and 4. Purchase your first investment.  Next, break down each of these objectives into 3-4 strategies (ways of making it happen).  For example, your first objective to 'start a dedicated savings plan' might include strategies such as: 1. Create a budget to record and analyse current expenditure,  2. Determine ways to cut daily, weekly and monthly expenses, 3. Set up an automated savings transfer, and 4. List inexpensive options to replace current lifestyle choices. Your next objective 'Increase Income' might include strategies such as 1. Sell off unwanted household goods, 2. Start market stall, 3. Sell service online, 4. Ask for pay rise.  I think you get the picture.  Next is listing the small actions to make sure you complete each strategy. What are the micro steps required?  This is where the magic lies.  The power is in the little things you can do every day to make your dream a reality.  It's these micro action steps that little by little, create momentum and little by little, get you closer to your goal, without pain and without hassle.
  3. Launch into Action! It only needs to be a little action every day but you do need to take action. If you're putting something off, chances are, you haven't broken the task into small enough pieces to action.  So don't try and do it all, or you'll end up procrastinating.  Your next action might be to break the task down into the next action steps you can take.  For example, if the thought of making client calls is daunting, then create a list of names of those people you'd like to call that day (say 5 names), then find and list their contact numbers, ready to call.  This small action, once taken, is often the impetus to empower you to pick up the phone and get started.  Break the task into small chunks (list the people you're going to call before morning tea), and put a deadline on when you are going to action this small task. People generally overestimate what they can accomplish in a day, but completely underestimate what they can achieve in a year.  So don't create a list of 30 names, just keep it small (5 names) then do it.  If you make just 5 calls a day, that's 1000 calls in a year.  The small tasks add up over time, yet when they're in small steps, they don't overwhelm you in the moment.
So have fun with the visioning of your goal (to get clarity), creating an action plan with micro steps, and take action, in small steps to create something big over time!  Enjoy achieving and banish those procrastination demons, starting NOW!

And if you need help with getting on top of procrastination, and breaking through the barriers of old habits, contact me at my business AchieverNet.  We offer the YB12 Results Program, a 12 month dedicated program to help you have the best year of your life.  Or join one of our Total Focus workshops for a fast track to get you on your way to achieving your goals.