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Stop Procrastination From Eating Away Your Motivation

Posted on October 27th, 2009 - last modified on October 28th, 2009

Do you suppose that you procrastinate out of fear that what you might do won’t be perfect?  Or do you just procrastinate out of fear period?  Fear, perhaps, of leaving your comfort zone and doing something difficult and unpleasant? 

And what about the great crippler–indecision?  Things certainly have a habit of slipping away from us while we are still trying to decide what we ought to do in a given situation.  Pretty soon, as you secretly hoped, that decision is a moot point and you move on to not deciding about some other decision.

Set time limits for decision making. You can speed up the process by setting a time limit or a budget cap. If you’re choosing a vacation destination, for example, set a deadline, and make the best choice you can by that date. If you’re deciding which new DVD player to buy, pick a price cap and ignore more costly players.

In order to stop procrastinating, it helps to determine what the most important decision-making factor is in a decision.  Is it convenience, price, aesthetics, practicality or something else?  Then focus only on that factor in making your final decision.
Chronic procrastination means missing out on opportunities.  Talented people fail to live up to their true potential.  You fail to reap the rewards of your actions because you are prevented from doing so by your inaction.

Does your perfectionism and fear have more control over you than you have over yourself?  It does if you are procrastinating your life away in a bunch of frittering that all has the theme “maybe tomorrow,” or “I’ll get to next week.”  Stop, look and live today.  It’s all you really have.  The now is everything.

The so-called comfort zone is really based on fear as well as perfectionism.   We are imprisoned in it because we are afraid to do something new.  Instead we  experience the fear, as well as guilt, feelings of unworthiness, shame and anger at ourselves.  This is called discouragement.  Discouragement promotes inaction, and inaction guarantees failure–a life of not living our dreams. 

Here’s are two affirmations you should write on a 3X5 notecard and post where you will frequently see it:

 ”Even though I procrastinate, I choose to love and accept myself anyway.”

 ”Even though I am an habitual procrastinator, I lovingly support myself in taking inspired action.”

What else can you do to battle this thief of time?  You can choose how you view yourself regardless of your past inclinations. If you think it’s just a chronic problem that you were born with, give up this thinking now or you will be a procrastinator for the rest of your life.   If you define it as a bad habit that you need to do something about in the future, it will control you.  But, if you define it as a negative tendency that you prefer to stop doing, you will be empowered to take action.  This requires only motivation which is an inner drive compelling you to action.   Remember, the instant you take action procrastination ceases to have any control over you. 

Acting your way into the opposite of procrastination may surprise you with unexpected sweet rewards.  Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect?   In chaos theory,  it’s also called sensitive dependence on initial conditions.   The theory, which has exploded in popular culture and even become a movie, is based on the work of MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz.  

In 1961 Lorenz created an early computer program to stimulate weather.   One day he changed one of a dozen numbers representing atmospheric conditions from 506127 to .506.  This tiny alteration completely transformed his long-term forecast.  He made this point in his 1972 paper, “Predictability:  Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”
A butterfly’s flap could cause a tornado–or, for all we know, prevent one.  We cannot know what would have happened without the disturbance in nature.

So, for example, you decide to motivate yourself out of your pattern of procrastination,  and make a decision or take action.   The consequences of the decision or the action could be multiple and far-reaching.  For all you know, they might affect the shape of your future life.  They might put you in touch with making a dream or dreams come true. 

Think of this possibility when mulling over to do or not to do, to commit or not to commit.  And then just go for it and think of that butterfly.

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