Procrastination is often the result of the fear of failure. Instead of getting something done right away, we put it off because we’re afraid we won’t do it right. After all, it’s impossible to fail at something if you don’t even try. However, constant procrastination can severely impact your quality of life and cause others not to trust you to keep your word. Procrastination itself leads to feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Those who allow procrastination to become a serious problem often wind up living without things they want and need.
Many feel trapped by the cycle of procrastination, but there are ways to overcome this problem. Here’s how you can get on track to stop procrastinating.
Take Baby Steps
Like other major life changes, getting procrastination under control won’t happen all at one. Building good habits takes time. One of the main reasons why people give up trying to avoid procrastination is that they don’t see immediate results. Taking baby steps makes it feel less overwhelming. Instead of trying to change all at once, tackle procrastination one task at a time. Remember that success builds motivation far better than failure.
Be sure to set achievable goals instead of setting yourself up to fail. For instance, you may be putting off getting that degree you’ve been wishing you had. Perhaps household and employment obligations pose obstacles to going back to school. Instead of focusing on the degree itself, focus on taking just one class.
One of the reasons people put something off is that they tell themselves they can always do it later. Practicing consistency turns obligations into habits, and good habits create their own rewards. If you make yourself work out at the same time every day instead of giving in to the impulse to put it off, you’ll soon look and feel better. These improvements in your health and appearance will motivate you to keep working out on schedule.
When it comes time to tackle something you’ve been putting off, eliminate all possible distractions. Put your phone on silent mode to prevent your attention from being diverted by notifications. Turn off the television if you’re prone to getting caught up in what’s happening on the screen. Choose a time of day when distractions from other household members or neighbors are typically at a minimum.
Set Realistic, Concrete Deadlines
Deadlines should be concrete and realistic. Those trying to break the procrastination habit sometimes subconsciously sabotage their own efforts by setting deadlines that aren’t realistic. This approach only fuels the cycle of procrastination.
Make Rewards a Part of Your Routine
Making a practice of treating yourself to a small reward upon completion of a task you’ve been procrastinating on helps take the edge off. Once you’ve included rewards in your routine, you won’t dread certain tasks quite so much. A cup of coffee or a half an hour with a favorite book work well as rewards.