Overcoming Procrastination

One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon-instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our window today.
-Dale Carnegie

This post is the fifth in a series on making peace with our bodies. And, the introduction of a new series on procrastination.

Overcoming Procrastination

In 1990, I bought a book on procrastination: The Now Habit. I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I read the first chapter in which I learned something that changed the way I look at procrastination.

Procrastination is a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.
-Neil Fiore, PhD.
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

Procrastination is not about being a lazy, unmotivated person.

First thing we need to do to get past procrastination is to stop beating ourselves up with the ‘L’ word: lazy. Procrastination is not a sign of laziness. In fact, it is often quite the opposite. Those of us who struggle most with procrastination are perfectionists. Procrastination and perfectionism go hand in hand.

If you are hoping to lose 30% of your body weight in a short period of time, change from a diet of packaged foods to an all natural vegan diet, go from no physical activity to running a marathon in 3 months, you may be overwhelming yourself into procrastination.

5 Tips for Avoiding Procrastination

  1. Accept failure and mistakes. Failure and mistakes are essential ingredients in a rich, fulfilled and enlightened life. They are great teachers and stepping stones to success. Expectation of perfect success is the main ingredient in procrastination. See 8 Signs that You Are Not Failing Enough.
  2. Focus on what you want. When we procrastinate, we are telling ourselves we have to do something we don’t want to do. If we focus on what we want instead of what we’re supposed to do, we find motivation. Say, “I want to exercise today because I enjoy it, it makes me feel good and gives me a healthy, gorgeous and energetic body and mind.” See What Do You Want?
  3. Focus on the beginning instead of the end. It is easier to get things started than to think about finishing them. It is less overwhelming and helps us avoid thinking about completion deadlines.
  4. Reward yourself. Set small, concrete, realistic goals that can be reached quickly and reward yourself when completed. All work and no play makes life unfulfilling and unproductive.
  5. Stop Should-ing on yourself. Should-ing leads to an inability to enjoy work and leisure time. Avoid the word should at all costs. Either you choose to do something or you don’t. It’s your life and you’re free to make choices and live with whatever consequences you choose. Do what you want to do to achieve the result you want.

Making Peace with Our Bodies

This is the fifth and final article in a series about making peace with our bodies. If you missed any of the other articles in this series, click below to continue reading:

About the author


I am Danny Kohn, writer and designer for this site and owner, software engineer and consultant for Inspirations Software Design. My three greatest passions in life are sharing time with my family, software design and sharing inspiration with others. I have the incredible privilege of being able to spend a significant amount of time every day doing each of those three things. I am a single father of Tristen, our 6 year old son. It has been such an incredible joy to watch him grow up and learn so much. Everything he does and says overwhelms me with adoration. We have a wonderful evening ritual of reading books together in a beanbag chair. Nearly every night, we have a laughing attack together. I smile and giggle constantly in his presence and feel truly inspired.

Permanent link to this article: http://beinspiredeveryday.com/2007/12/04/overcoming-procrastination/

1 comment

  1. Lariana says:

    Hi! Thanks for a great article read. I recently been going through a lot of soul searching, and started a blog of my own. I wrote an article about procrastination, from a 20 something perspective. And I just linked your article to show my readers more ideas and from another outlook. Love the article and thank you :)

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