Procrastinating. Something we all do. Even the most motivated and energized people in the world will still wait to complete certain tasks even though they could be doing them much sooner. Why do we do this? Why do we consistently push off tasks for later today, or tomorrow, or next week when they could be completed right now? What is it about human beings and their tendency to procrastinate?

There are many reasons why a person will procrastinate. They might be scared to fail so instead of risking that possibility, they do nothing. Or they might know the hardships that they will endure while completing the task, and they do not feel ready or capable of facing them yet. Or they simply might just not have enough energy to get started. Whatever the reason may be, they all revolve around a central idea. When people are comfortable or used to the state that they are living in, they will not feel a need to change due to the risk that they could be in a less comfortable state in the future.

Procrastination is the worst. It tells people that it is okay to waste your time doing nonsensical activities when you could be investing your valuable time into places that will help you achieve your goals. Procrastination drains people of their time, energy, hopes, and spirits. At best, it will delay you from starting your journey towards success and at worst it will prohibit you from beginning that journey all together. So what can be done?

Screw Procrastination and Take Action Now

The best time to do anything is when you first have the desire to do it. When you are devising a plan in your head, your stream of ideas is flowing. It is at that initial point when you form an idea that you have the highest motivation to do it. The idea is new, fresh, and exciting, but unfortunately for most people, they will not do anything to put that idea into action.

If you let an idea sit, it becomes duller, and more boring, until eventually you no longer have any motivation to do take action on it. And even if you do end up doing something with it you have a) wasted time letting it sit and b) most likely do not have the same energy and drive as you did when you were first devising your plan.

I am speaking very generally here, but just think about a time in your life when you had a thought or idea that you really wanted to put into action. It could have been something large like wanting to change your lifestyle to lose weight and get healthier, or even something as small as wanting to paint a room in your house. Try to remember how you originally felt about taking action on that idea at the time you devised it; the rush of energy and excitement to promote change, and then remember how that feeling changed as time passed. If you let the idea sit, did you end up completing the task in the end? If you did, were you able to complete it with the same energy you began with?

Chances are, you answered “no” to at least one of those questions. Hopefully you were able to think of one or more of these times in your life, maybe even from this past day or week, because it is a situation everyone is put in from time to time. However, we need to start being able to answer those last questions with a big “YES”

Screw procrastination. The time to do something is now. When you first have an idea your creative juices are flowing and your motivation skyrockets. Don’t cut off the stream of ideas, follow it. Don’t keep putting your great ideas off, because you may never get to them at all.do_something_great

Impulsivity? No. Inspiration.

People also have another terrible tendency to fear impulsivity. When it is time to take action, they hear echos of Mark Twain in the back of their head, blaring the message of Tom Sawyer, urging them to slow themselves in their decision-making process. This is just another excuse for procrastination.

There are times to take it slows in your life. You don’t want to have the idea to buy a house and by the end of the day have a mortgage that you will be paying off for the next 30 years. But there are other times when you need to just get up and get moving.

If you want to paint a room in your house, there is nothing from stopping you from going to the store and buying some paint and a paint brush that very day. There is nothing stopping you dipping into that paint, and getting the project done. And at the end of the day, if you really hate the way your paint job turned out, it is not that hard to get some more paint and try again, but you are most likely going to enjoy your work and relish in the fact that you got something accomplished.

Acting swiftly to capitalize on motivation is not the same as impulsivity. Impulsively is acting in the absence of thought, but acting out of inspiration is due to the abundance of thought. When inspiration strikes, that is the time to take action.

Have Faith in Yourself

You may find yourself questioning every move you make all the time. If I paint the bathroom, will I regret how it looks? If I go to the gym, will people judge me for my looks? If I start on this diet program, will I be putting in effort for no gain? There are a million questions that we ask ourselves before making any action.

Questions take too much time. Too much of our lives is spent contemplating what might happen if we do certain things, but more often than not we never find out.

There are some questions we need to ask ourselves, but the most important of those questions is “do I want to do this?” If the answer to this question is yes, then most of the other answers to the other questions are irrelevant.

believe_in_yourself

If you want to paint a room in your house, do not waste time debating on how it will turn out. Develop a plan where you will be satisfied with the outcome, and trust your ability to execute the plan. In this instance, you might be stuck on what color to paint the room. You want to spend some time picking out the color and considering how it will look, but once you find a color you like, don’t waste more time second guessing yourself.

Once you have a plan that is oriented towards making you happy, do not spend more time reconsidering it. Trust yourself and your plans, and just start moving forward.

The Key to Getting Started

It is often easier said than done. When I tell you to “just get started”, or “take action now”, you might not be entirely compelled because that is a very ambiguous statement. Even if you wanted take action, where do you start? You want to start small.

Small term goals are the key to getting started and building momentum in anything that you are doing. No one ever had a large, long term goal in their head, and completed that goal from going from point a to point b.

Starting out with a small, manageable goal will increase your chances of starting another short term goal, which will help you set another, and then another, and then another until your long term goal has been completed.

When I had the idea to write this post, I did not think “let me sit down and write the whole thing in one sitting”. I am just like everyone else, and it is not my nature to willingly sit down and write a 1700+ word post all at once. Instead, I set a shorter term goal for myself that will ensure that I take the first step, no matter how small. For this post, I really did not feel like writing at the start, so I made the goal to write the first 100 words of this post. If, after I wrote 100 words I did not feel like continuing, I would not force myself to because I no longer had the desire.

However, by writing just 100 words (which is less than the last paragraph), I was able to build momentum to fuel my initial fire which allowed me to keep writing. 100 words is almost nothing, so I do not dread starting this task, and by completing it, I feel more energized to write more.

This is the kind of system that you need to implement in your life to stimulate progress. No one wants paint a whole room, or write an entire blog or post, or go straight from not working out to going to the gym every day. You need these small goals to give yourself a manageable task that you can easily complete, and motivate yourself to continue towards your long term goals.

Just Start Somewhere

As the noble Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t walk run, then walk, if you can’t walk, Keep_Moving_Forwardthen crawl, but by all means keep moving.”

Whatever you do, just start moving forward. Trust in your plan that you have devised, create that short term goal that is going to stimulate your growth, and just start moving forward, but don’t waste time doing it.

If you have the option to workout now or in an hour, do it now. If you have the option to start your diet today or next Monday, start today.

This website mainly has posts that relate to health, wellness, and fitness, but these tips I present are applicable to any portion of your life.

Never waste time putting something off until tomorrow if it can be completed today.

I hope this post gave you a sense of exigence to begin whatever project you have developing in your mind right now. Far too often people have hopes and desires, but they are not acted upon so they are abandoned. Don’t give up on your ideas.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns, leave a comment below or shoot me an email. It always delights me to hear feedback or see that people are engaged with my work.

Always remember, take action now.

I wish you the best,

Joe

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14 Responses

  1. I think that most of the time people don’t want to get outside their comfort zone. Doing so it exposes them to failure, criticism, judgement and many other things that we are trying to avoid as human beings. Obviously the few that get out of their comfort zone are those that succeed more often than not and this is what separate the successful ones from those that just make a living.

    • That is very true, Stratos. People constantly mistake their comfort zone for their safety zone. Getting out of your comfort zone does not mean you are less safe or exposed to failure or criticism.

      I agree with you completely that it is necessary to leave your comfort zone to reach higher success, thank you for sharing your insight on this post!

  2. Very encouraging article! We think we know to not procrastinate and we still do it. At least I know I do. I love the approach of taking small steps which will not upend our bad habits that we may enjoy, primarily meaning anything that keeps us lazy and not reaching our goals. Thanks for the post and I will take your advice to get moving on things I’ve put off because they are uncomfortable or take a lot of energy. 

    Thanks!

    Darrin

    • Thank you for taking interest in my post, Darrin, I’m glad that you could find value in it! The first step in any process is acknowledging that there is a problem to be solved, so it is good that you are able to call out your own procrastination, now it is time to tackle it!

      Good luck with whatever comes your way in the future, and if you are able to overcome discomfort and put in the energy I know you will be able to do great things! 

  3. Thank you for sharing your post on motivating ways to avoid procrastination and get a project or goals started immediately! 

    To often I tend to veer toward the things I want to do and push the unwanted things onto the back burner. Procrastinating something I don’t want to do makes me continue to worry about it until it is done. If I believe in myself that I am able to accomplish my goals it gives me motavation!

    I need to take your advice and when something come up I need to tackle it immediately!

    • I’m glad you enjoyed my post, Justin! You raise a very good point that people tend to only do things that they have a desire to do and ignore those that they do not desire, even if that means avoiding action that can benefit them.

      Good luck in whatever comes your way in the future, and I believe in you too!

  4. I could read your post over and over again because it contains such a truth that I can relate with. The key to overcoming procrastination is taking action, and we should be inspired to take action, no matter how small.

    I would also call your attention to another thing that is responsible for procrastination. People delay performing a task until it is urgent. Understanding what is important and urgent is central to overcoming this problem.

    Just as you have stated in your post, I will always endeavor to take action.

    • You bring up a very good point, Israel, people tend not to act if there is no sense of urgency, which is unfortunate because by the time that there is some urgency they have wasted so much time! 

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post, and good luck with all of your future endeavors! 

  5. Helooo there, I must say  a big thanks to you for sharing this insightful and motivating piece on the topic titled; don’t delay your progress, sieze opportunities now…. Procrastination nis a very big problem not well handled will lead to so many things, I was among those that will always procastinate of which was never helpful a bit.. it’s very advantegeous t always to advantage of any opportunities that comes yours way. 

    • Hello, Sheddy, I’m glad you enjoyed! I completely agree that you should always capitalize on the opportunities that  come your way and you should not let anything prevent you from doing so!

  6. I know that finding a good article does not come by so easily so i must commend your effort in creating such a beautiful website and writing an article to help others with useful information like this.Students who procrastinate experience higher levels of frustration, guilt, stress, and anxiety—in some cases leading to serious issues like low self-esteem and depression. The effects of procrastination can have an even bigger impact on high school students.The better we learn to take the bull by ,the horn ,the better is shall be for all of us.

    • Thank you, Wilson, your compliments truly mean a lot! I agree with you completely, procrastination is seriously the worst. I love the analogy you use when you say, “take the bull by the horns” because that is exactly what we all need to do. Thank you again, and I wish you well for the future.

  7. pretty outstanding review you have on here, it’s a pretty found that people procrastinate tend to shy from responsibilities and thereby delaying themselves of their goals. if you really want to achieve something the best time to make a move for it is right now or never cos the further you push away the longer it takes for you to achieve it… it’s better to take the bull by the horn while you still can ..now where were we

    • Thank you for your kind words, Evans. I agree with you completely that people need not shy away from their responsibilities, but take action to achieve their goals!

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