Updated: Jan 29
Written by: Jane Christine, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
Are you a procrastinator? Do you know why you keep putting off the things you want to do? Is there always something distracting you from reaching your goals? These are the prime examples of procrastination, but why does it happen?
“The secret to breaking through your procrastination is first to discover what is the underlying cause.”
Most people believe it is fear-based, which could be true, but there could be many reasons. From past traumas that are anchored to a person or experience, a fear of success – and all the responsibility that comes with it, a belief that you are incapable of completing the task, your skills are not up to par, or overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead of you. So, by putting it off, you feel better in the moment. However, the guilt and subconscious, knowing that you’ll have to get around to it someday, can have a huge impact – not only mentally, but it can also manifest physically.
“Getting in touch with what we are feeling and why we are feeling it can be profound with breaking through our procrastination patterns.”
Our brains release chemicals based on our feelings. If we are subconsciously anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, and keep ignoring it, it could become a lot worse than the original task. Getting in touch with what we are feeling and why we feel it can be profound with breaking through our procrastination patterns. Just know there is a way to overcome your procrastination. Let’s explore how with these 5 steps.
1. Label Your Emotions
First, think of a single goal you haven’t reached yet – now establish your emotion attached to the project or task at hand. Are you feeling nervous, stressed, inadequate, indifferent? Explore what feeling arises when you think about this task. If you are having trouble labeling the emotion, you can find emotion wheels online to identify your feelings. Once you have labeled this emotion, reflect to see if you’ve had this feeling before about a similar task in the past. If you have, write down the strategy you used to complete that goal – however, if you didn’t complete that task, write down what prevented you from doing it.
2. Reverse Engineer Your Thinking
Next, let’s reverse engineer our thinking – ask yourself, “If I do nothing, what will happen to my goal?”. Write down everything that will occur should you not meet your desired outcome. It could be a missed deadline and reprimand from your boss. You may feel guilt for not keeping a commitment to yourself. You might feel unhappy staying in your current situation, and there may be health risks or your mental wellbeing affected. Whatever it is, note it down in front of you. Imagine how you would feel with these worst-case scenarios – label your emotions.
3. Distance Yourself for New Ideas
Now let’s detach from the task emotionally. Can you imagine the task is someone else’s, perhaps your friend’s? By putting distance between yourself and the issue, you create space to breathe and see it from a different perspective that isn’t so emotionally involved. Visual your friend coming to you with this issue of not knowing how to start this project/task. They ask for your advice on how to start and manage its completion. Can you think of ways to help your friend – brainstorm ideas for starting and reaching the desired outcome? Can you now use any of these ideas to start your task or project?
4. Break It Down
The next step is to check to see if these new ideas can work for you. If they don’t – that’s okay; just go back to giving your friend advice and find other solutions that could work. If the new ideas can get you to your goal, let’s implement them. Start with the big picture, where you want to be, then assess where you currently are. Find or create the path that gets you to where you need to go, then break it down. Write down all the tasks that need to be complete to reach your goal, then break the tasks down even further.
5. Fail-Proof Micro Steps
The secret is to make the tasks as small and tiny as possible by creating micro-tasks that you can’t fail. By breaking down the project into micro-tasks, you are giving yourself the chance to accomplish the first step without the possibility of failure. A fail-proof task sounds doable, right?! Once you have finished that microtask, you will have ticked off the first step. That sense of achievement will give you the momentum you need to keep going. Momentum fuels the sensation of accomplishment, and that will carry you onto the next step.
When we take the time to reassess what’s really holding us back and perpetuating procrastinating patterns, we allow ourselves a safe space to explore our emotions. Checking in and labeling our emotions provides us a chance to change how we’d like to feel. Along with the road map of getting there, we can understand the consequences that fail-proof micro-steps can motivate you to your desired outcome. You are worthy and have the resources to create anything you desire – it just starts with a micro-step.
Jane Christine, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jane Christine is a certified Life Coach, NLP Master Practitioner and author. Originally from Australia working in the corporate world, until she questioned her life's purpose. Jane believed there had to be more to life, so she sold everything she owned and set off for a nomadic lifestyle traveling around the world searching for answers and a place to call home, which she finally found in Spain. Her search and transformation took her to over 37 countries. Life experiences and her own personal growth guided her to become a certified Life Coach, her travels inspired her quest to learn about the world around us and why we do what we do. Since 2012, Jane Christine has been studying how our pasts shape us, the effects of societal standards, and the impact of values. With the techniques of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and through the power of transformation learn how to; bridge the gap, define self-worth, set tangible goals, find comfort through change, and how 1% micro-changes can alter lives. Jane Christine is the author of "How You Know Already: Questions to ask yourself to find the answers within" as she believes we are all unique and so are each of our paths to follow. She is dedicated to her clients and supporting their growth and journey. Her motto: Design your life, don't just live it!