“I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
― Margaret Mitchell, Gone with the Wind
It’s a new year and most of us make resolutions. Resolutions come in all shapes and sizes. We make progress on some and others we procrastinate.
Why is that? I believe it’s related to what we perceive as past failures. We’ve all started a new year, made resolutions and blew them by March. It happens to the best of us. Change is hard.
We also all made resolutions that we simply couldn’t jump start. There’s no gas in the tank, no smart key ignition. We simply can’t get the ball rolling. The result. Procrastination.
I wanted to provide you with true authenticity today, so I did two things:
- I started my blog in WordPress. It’s been on my “to do” for some time. I put it off because I’m not a guru at SEO. I put it off because of this plugin or that. I put it off because I want to link the blog to my main website. I put it off because I write on Medium and have a functioning blog.
- I wanted to dig a little deeper into why I procrastinate so I took a Procrastination Quiz. My results say that I have the normal amount of procrastination in my life. I suppose I agree.
Take the quiz for yourself. It’s free on pyschcentral.com. But before you haul off to another site to find out more about your procrastination, I’ll share a few tips that work for me.
- Root Cause Analysis: Why you are procrastinating?
- Are you afraid of failure?
- Do you dread starting a project?
- Does it seem like there are so many things to do you don’t know where to start?
2. Prioritize: You can’t do everything at once.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t stop procrastinating overnight. Select the thing that has the most negative impact in your life. Use these 3 categories to get started with your priority list:
Select no more than 1 item in each category. The goal is to create achievable goals and prevent overwhelm.
3. PDSA: Plan, Do, Study, Act
Create a single plan or 3 mini plans if you are bold enough to tackle something in each category.
Examples might look something like this:
- Health — Increase my steps per day by 500.
- Life — Call, text, smoke signal my friend, Bob, Sally, Sue or Bill and set up that coffee date.
- Work — Update my resume or finish that certification that is 75% complete.
It’s important to set realistic goals. That’s the planning part. I think the “doing” part is self-explanatory. We can plan all day and never “do”, and we will never get results. So “Doing” is a huge part of success when overcoming procrastination is on your 2020 agenda.
Study: Why study your results? Because if you study what works then you can rinse and repeat. Rinsing and repeating helps you form new habits; habits of the good variety. Studying what happens when you make mini goals also helps you figure out why you haven’t gotten there yet. Notice I did not say fail? You just need to tweak your model enough in order to be successful at that particular goal. You may need to tweak it back instead of forward. For example, it may be more feasible to start adding 250 more steps/day to your movement routine vs. 500. Tweak and study the week’s results.
I’m not suggesting you use any formal sort of tracking system, but in reality, I am. We don’t achieve what we can’t measure in business. Why is your life any different? You must be able to measure your success or stagnation. In business you start with baselines and set goals. In your life you decide how you measure your success. Even so, you might need to consider using tools, deadlines and a good dose of being honest with yourself.
Study your state: I’ll use exercise tracking as an example. Most, if not all of us own some form of tracking device, so that makes the “health” tracking a tad easier. How do you track your progress in the life and work categories? Tracking your success when overcoming other forms of procrastination can get a bit trickier. To help with that, I’ll use my examples and throw out some ideas for you to consider:
2. Life Goal: Call, text, smoke signal my friend, Bob, Sally, Sue or Bill and set up that coffee date.
Action: Set a deadline for the activity and as Nike would say, “Just Do It.” If you don’t do it ask yourself why? Include thought provoking questions like, “Do I really enjoy this person’s company?” “Do we laugh together?” “Do I feel invigorated after we get together?” “Am I doing this because I feel obligated?”
These are hard questions, but you need to understand your procrastination and set priorities for your precious time.
3. Work Goal: Update my resume or finish that certification that is 75% completed.
Action: First things first. Remember priorities? You are supposed to select no more than 1 item per category and there are 2 things listed under work. So, prioritize. What is causing the most pain? Are you carrying this goal around like a boulder on your shoulder? Change is more likely to happen in bite-sized chunks. We all seem to think we can diet, exercise, increase our social networking and build a blog in WordPress by 15 Jan. 2020. In reality, we can’t. Life is a process and Nike’s tagline should have been: “Just Do It until you work through it!” To help with progress and avoid stagnation, ask yourself tough questions about your work goal. In this example:
- Why are you updating your resume?
- Why did you start that certification?
- How will you benefit if you finish either of them?
- Is this a self-imposed to do or is someone else counting on you?
Act: Acting is reflecting on your goals’ progress, hiccups, tweaks and stalemates.
- What worked?
- What didn’t work?
- Were your goals realistic? If not, reset them (aka: Plan again)
- Do you only need to tweak the original plan? Or do you need an overhaul?
- Plan, Do, Study, Act
If you want to ignite your Boom in 2020, you’ll need a little FIRE! There’s nothing like a good dose of motivation to light your spark. You can do it! Whatever “it” is. Just set out to overcome whatever is holding you back. And when all else fails, tell yourself that you MUST finally write your blog post in WordPress. It is a GOAL! Just Do It until you work through it!
Until next time! Boom Baby Boom!
P.S. I also published this in WordPress! “Just Do It until you work through it!”
Kimberly Sheldahl lives in North Carolina with her husband and 3 dogs. She is the author of the soon to be released book, Hack into Oz, Get the M.O.st Out of Life. She is also a member of the Teaching Faculty on Transformation T.V. and will begin airing her new show, “Boom Baby Boom” next year. Kimberly is a Kolbe Certified ™Consultant and a Certified Integrative Health Coach. She writes about well-being and productivity and plans to inspire thousands of people to become the best version of themselves.