inspiring joy filled living

3 Ways To Beat Procrastination  

April 4, 2024

I’m so tired.  My to-do list is endless.  The laundry needs to be folded, kids need to finish homework and go to practice, a work deadline is sneaking up, everyone is hungry and wants dinner right now.  Wake up tomorrow, rinse and repeat.  Week after week.  Does this sound familiar? 

On top of that I’m trying to enjoy this crazy life we have created.  Trying to “embrace” these moments while my kids are at these ages and stages.  I had no idea how overwhelming it could get.  The mental load is enough to take me down, let alone the necessity to put on clothes, a little mascara, and physically show up.  All of that being said, I see the biggest drain is on my mental health.  Where slowly my goals and dreams get shoved further down to make space for what I need to do right now.  I know myself and when my plate feels too full, I retreat.  I want to crawl back into bed and drown myself in chocolate and binge Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.  

The funny part about time is that it keeps moving, even when we don’t want it to, especially when we don’t want it to.  We wake up and realize a week, a month, or even years have gone by and we are still chasing the proverbial carrot.  Our hamster wheel has somehow sped up and it’s all kind of a blur. We start to lose hope.  Our energy fades away.  Doing the minimal feels hard and anything more is impossible.

But there is something amazing that happens when we break the cycle.  When we pattern interrupt and in the process, create a new pattern.  We start associating positive feelings with our positive changes, even creating and changing the neural pathways in our brain.

So how do we break the pattern of procrastination?

Define It & Pick!

First, we have to define what we want.  We need to give it a name and describe what it is we are trying to achieve.  For me, I like to do a big-picture dive first by writing down everything that comes to mind.  Not sure where to begin? Start with the question, what excites you? Writing a book? Planning a much-needed vacation? Going back to school? It could be anything from exercising more to buying a new car. Maybe switching careers, running a 5K, or starting a business, you name it.  Write it all down.  Dream BIG! It’s amazing what happens when we give ourselves that kind of freedom and permission.  The world seems more vibrant and hopeful.  The only rule is to leave your judgments at the door.  Criticism is not invited.  We are basking in the happy glow of possibilities.

Now that we have our big list.  Let’s pick!  Pick one thing and give it legs.  What would it take to feel successful with this goal? Want to switch careers? What will it take to make that happen? Who do you need to talk to? What skills will you need to learn? Start by seeing the goal and working backward to make a plan on how to get there.  

Tiny, Baby Steps

Do something!  This is where we put our feet on the ground and take action.  Even if we are scared, tired, and unsure of what others will think, we do it anyway.  Even if it is the tiniest step, we take it.  When my oldest daughter was a preschooler she used to call anything that was small: “tiny, baby.”  What tiny, baby steps can you take?  Even one is a victory because it puts you closer to your end goal.  And sometimes it is a tiny step.  When little humans need to be fed and cared for and work is calling, sometimes all the time and energy we have left is to read one page of our book (if you need a recommendation, I love Dream Big by Bob Goff) and call it a night. That is still progress! 

Cheers! And repeat!

You did it! Now give yourself credit! This one can be so hard.  Oftentimes we see all the millions of ways we are going to fail.  We see all the obstacles and setbacks.  We hurl insults and turn the fighting words on ourselves.  We berate ourselves for not going fast enough or if a setback comes (as they always will!) we fall apart and abandon the plan instead of shifting gears.  

Your greatest super power or downfall will be in how you handle setbacks. 

Do you bob and weave or leave? Do you assess the situation and make a new plan or give up? The beauty of having a goal is we have no idea what kind of magic is going to be sprinkled into our plans along the way.  Who we will meet or what kind of influence they will have on us.  But we only see those opportunities if we are taking steps towards the life we want.  If we give ourselves the high fives and recognize our efforts.  To be proud of our progress and give ourselves the love and support we need, that is where the victories live.  It also primes us for more opportunities to come our way.

Here is the most important step of all:

We repeat.  

Take a baby step (or leap, sometimes we get to leap!), course correct (if needed!), and cheer for the progress made! Then repeat, repeat, repeat.

Spoiler alert, the journey isn’t linear.  It won’t be a straight across, connect the dots kind of line.  It’s going to be messy and jumbled at times.  But even in the wild and unexpected, you are still further along than you were.  Maybe you realized somewhere down the road that the goal isn’t what you thought it was going to be.  Maybe the process revealed a new path that is a better fit. When we are open to possibilities, the possibilities find us.  Or maybe it is as magical as you thought it would be and because of the twists and turns you have a better appreciation for the result. 

Put on your blinders! Stop looking at what everyone else is doing.  Comparison is going to crush all that joy you are creating.  The best piece of advice I have ever been given was don’t compare your beginning with someone else’s middle. 

Believe it or not, momentum is a multiplier, the more energy we put into ourselves, the more we get back.  Even better if we share it with others.  Cheer on a friend to reach their goal and watch not only what happens in their life, but also in yours.  It’s beautiful.   

Life is hard.  There are a million things that pop up, steal our attention, and cause us to want to procrastinate.  Keep showing up for yourself anyway.  Keep showing up even when you’re tired, sad, scared, anxious, unsure, and unmotivated.  Keep showing up because the life you are dreaming of might be closer than you imagine.  Keep showing up because YOU are worth showing up for. 

Cheering you on!