If you set goals that terrify you, and then give up because you feel like a crazy person, this one is for you. This article outlines the cycle what you can learn by paying attention to your procrastination habits, instead of scolding yourself for being lazy.
Do you ever set a goal so crazy, so seemingly out of left field, so unheard of, that it scares you to even think about it?
- Lose a bunch of weight
- Start your own business
- Mend your relationship with your in laws
- Run a marathon
Maybe you’ve been wanting to do it for ages, and so you finally commit to yourself, you write it down, you envision what the end will look like, you set a date for the dream to be complete. And then…. Nothing.
You make zero progress on your goal.
Something always comes up. It always falls to the bottom of the to-do list. There’s always something more important.
We beat ourselves up when we procrastinate and maybe even give up on the dream — if I haven’t done it yet then it’s not meant to happen is it?
But that kind of negative self talk is detrimental to becoming the kind of person you want to be.
Here’s the catch: procrastination isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Let me say it again, for the people in the cheap seats:
If you’ve set a goal and it has the potential to change your life, in any way, shape, or form, you’re being extremely vulnerable with yourself.
Your mind – always working toward protecting the status quo – will try to keep you from changing anything. It believes it is safer that way.
While this may be rather unfortunate, it is also very informative.
You can use your procrastination to pin point areas in your life that really matter to you.
If you’ve wanted to do something for a while but you still haven’t started, it likely is not because you don’t have enough time, money, or skills.
Related post: 5 Strategies for Better Time Management
It’s because on some level this change threatens your identity (even if it’s in a good way), it is really important to you, it has high stakes, and you’re afraid to mess it up.
But here’s the thing:
You cannot let your fear bury your dreams.
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Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like that.MARK MANSON
People around you might look like they know what they’re doing, but they’ve just gotten good at hiding it. Every body messes up. Learning to avoid failure isn’t something we’re born with, but something we learn later on in life.
And in avoiding failure, we miss our chance at success.
It was a long time until I launched this blog because I worried that it wouldn’t be a world-changing success. I’m a perfectionist (unfortunately) who isn’t used to not being the best.
For the longest time I held the mental model that if I’m not going to be the best at something, I won’t do it at all.
This is no way to live a well rounded and meaningful life.
This is not the path to personal growth, nor the foundation for living authentically and intentionally.
I’ve since changed my standard of success to better reflect my values, so now, success means living each day courageously, and the simple act of writing this post is a success from that perspective.
I’ve had to dismantle my self worth from the external success I achieve. A lot of this internal work came after reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck. That book really taught me that fame isn’t for everyone.
By lifting off the pressure to be something amazing, you’ll be free to accomplish what you actually want, without judgment and lofty expectations, he explains.
The majority of your life won’t be noteworthy. The majority of it will just be average, and that is okay.
It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I am enough just as I am, and the success or failure of any one of my pursuits doesn’t change that.
This realization has been the most freeing in my personal growth journey, and it’s launched me on the bold path of helping other high achievers overcome perfectionism and procrastination so that they can build lives exploding with joy.
So, what have you been avoiding?
Which goals have you let slide? What areas of your life are you ‘going to get to later.’
Figure out what truly matters to you in your heart of hearts and get moving on it.
Related post: Finding Your Purpose With 10 Questions
Because while you’re crossing little things off your to-do list, feeling great from that dopamine rush and distracting yourself by being busy with the minutiae, your life is passing by.
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Is there an area of your life that you avoid changing at all costs? Let me know in the comments below!