Quick! What have you been procrastinating today, perhaps even right now? A work report or phone call? Laundry or tidying the house? A family scrapbook you nearly-but-not-quite finished?
What about something bigger, such as finding a more fulfilling career or releasing excess weight?
There’s a phrase I’ve learned in coaching: “What you resist, persists.” Boy is that true.
You momentarily finagle your way out of an uncomfortable task or commitment, but what remains? When you don’t uphold a promise to yourself, it feels like a breach to your integrity, so at best you’re left with guilt (not to mention the item is still undone.) Procrastination can also cause shame, further inaction, and even depression, such as that experienced by someone who unexpectedly loses his job and then spends his days watching TV instead of submitting applications.
It causes a state of stuck-ness. (If you started something and then stopped it indefinitely, you, my friend, are living in the past—and likely re-living what you haven’t completed with many moments of worry.) It’s not surprising if several areas of your life feel similarly stymied.
It’s a form of self-sabotage, a nagging to your mental energy that you are tolerating. (Toleration is Procrastination’s cousin. Possibly more insidious because often whatever you are tolerating—from a broken printer to a broken relationship—hasn’t yet occurred to you to fix.)
Finally, procrastination is feedback from the universe that there is a deeper intention at play. i.e. You get to play the victim when work or house chores pile up—and then the superhero when you finally follow through. Such insidious payoffs can spawn further cycles of procrastination.
Stop the madness! Here’s how:
1. List 10 things you are procrastinating or tolerating, prioritize them, and then list specific actions you will take to complete or resolve them with a deadline for each. Make a weekly plan to act.
2. Ask for feedback from someone as to the impact your behavior has on him/her. (This can be quite eye-opening and convicting.)
3. Ask yourself what belief you are holding onto or what benefit you are getting from continuing to procrastinate. Is it worth the prices you are paying?
Action releases newness into your future at the same time it boosts your self-efficacy.
So what do tying up loose ends have to do with your health journey? It comes back to being an integrity issue. The more you complete tasks and stay true to your commitments, the more you trust yourself to follow through on your wellness promises.
This week I’ve been procrastinating writing this blog, worried it would come out all a jumble. However, I’m pretty sure you’ll glean from it what you need to. Phew! Feels good to be done.
Further reading: Procrastination from a Biblical perspective.