First of all, greetings during the holiday season!
I hope you are finding ways to stay warm and take stock, whether its with family and friends, or taking time out to hibernate and rejuvenate in solitude.
I tend to do a little bit of both.
Here’s a picture of me and my third day in this sweat shirt, trying to figure out holiday filters and not succeeding very well (obviously).
Here’s a picture of me and my sister on Christmas Eve, when I bothered to shower and actually had a great time going out to dinner and singing Karaoke, until I lost my voice (I do a mean Janis Joplin, “Piece of My Heart.”)
And this is a picture of my son, who called me on Christmas day to show me his fangs and tell me how much fun he was having at Disney World with his Papi.
Today, I’d like to share what I have learned about one thing that seems to plague people when it comes to this time of year, when we take stock of what we’ve done, and start turning towards what we want to accomplish…
As 2017 winds down, I find myself reflecting on my resolutions from last year, and what I aim to accomplish in the next year.
And a few things have popped up for me, when it comes to the reasons why we do or do not accomplish the things we set out to, at the beginning of every year.
In a previous post, I mentioned that there are two things that can get us into trouble when it comes to following through on our goals and resolutions, and those are…
1. Dreaming Big
If you missed it, you can check it out here, on my blog, to learn more about how dreaming big can trip you up.
Today, I intend to make good on my promise to follow up with evidenced-based research that claims three things can improve your situation, if you are a chronic procrastinator…
- Forgiving yourself.
- Breaking your tasks up into bite-sized portions.
- Treating work like play.
Over the next three days, I would like to take a closer look at all three of these.
Today, let’s start with ‘forgiving yourself.’
Researchers and psychologists define procrastination as the voluntary delay of some important task that we intend to do, despite knowing that we’ll suffer as a result. And an inability to manage emotions seems to be its very foundation.
“While everybody may procrastinate, not everyone is a procrastinator,” says APS Fellow Joseph Ferrari, “to tell the chronic procrastinator to just do it would be like saying to a clinically depressed person, ‘cheer up’.”
Sympathizers of procrastination often say it doesn’t matter when a task gets done, so long as it’s eventually finished. Some even believe they work best under pressure.
But one study published in Psychological Science back in 1997 revealed the costs of procrastination far outweighed the temporary benefits. Procrastinators reported higher cumulative amounts of stress and illness.
True procrastinators didn’t just finish their work later — the quality of it suffered, as did their own well-being.
Why would procrastinators put themselves through that?
“The chronic procrastinator, the person who does this as a lifestyle, would rather have other people think that they lack effort than lacking ability,” says Ferrari.
In other words, procrastinators would rather be thought of as lazy, than incapable.
To my mind, this is actually perfectionism and fear of failure, which is ALL underscored by a deep-seeded sense of shame; a feeling which procrastinators are notorious for avoiding, by seeking out short-term escapes from the consequences of their actions (or inaction).
For example, a group of students were told a woman went on vacation and didn’t use sunscreen. When she came home she had a suspicious mole, but delayed in going to the doctor.
Procrastinators are likely to say things like, “Well at least she caught it before it got worse.” This statment releases the tension of the moment, opting for a rationalization that offers some mental and emotional relief.
Whereas non-procrastinators say things like, “She should have gone to the doctor sooner.” This statment takes in the tension of the moment, and makes it an applicable lesson; insight is derived from the discomfort.
So what is the solution for procrastinators?
Forgiveness and self-compassion.
A research team, led by Michael Wohl, reported in a 2010 issue of Personality and Individual Differences that students who forgave themselves after procrastinating on the first exam were less likely to delay studying for the second one.
They believe that procrastination is really a self-inflicted wound that gradually chips away at the most valuable resource in the world: time.
“It’s an existentially relevant problem, because it’s not getting on with life itself,” Whol says. “You only get a certain number of years. What are you doing?”
This is YOUR LIFE.
This is YOUR STORY.
No one is going to write it but YOU.
Make sure you check your email tomorrow, or come back here, for when we explore how to break down tasks into bite-sized portions, in order to make them more digestible.
And in the spirit of seizing the day, I encourage you to check out the amazing discounted offers and FREE trainings I have below, to help expand your horizons and make AMAZING and GROUNDBREAKING changes in your life, in 2018.
As always feel free to replay with questions, comments, concerns, and high fives!
These AMAZING trainings that are still available to you for our open enrollment period, December 1rd, 2017 to January 3rd, 2018.
Hope to see you there!