Select Page

The Simple Mindset Shift You Need to Overcome Procrastination

The Simple Mindset Shift You Need to Overcome Procrastination

Stop putting your dreams on ice.

So you have a dream. Maybe you want to start a business?
Climb a mountain. Write a novel. Create an app. Be a Tik Tok creator. Buy a food truck. Blog. Draw. Build. Study. Share your knowledge. Whatever.

You’ve been incubating this dream for a long time. You’ve researched it, endlessly. You’ve upskilled. You’ve taken courses. You’ve spent money. You’ve studied how others do it.

You’ve started, then got distracted. You’ve started again, then stopped. You’ve cleaned the house, done the laundry, and called your mother. You’ve blamed two-plus years of Covid and the state of the world.

Still, the dream won’t go away. And your lack of action really gets you down. How come, when you have the means, when you want something so bad, you just can’t do it?

What’s going on?

You’re Not Lazy, You’re Not Unmotivated, You’re This.

Traditional self-help advice encourages us to chase our dreams, live the lives we’re capable of, and make the most of ourselves.

Fine. But in 2022 we can be forgiven for looking at that advice with a wary eye. There’s a lot going on. We’re tired. We’re anxious. We’re watching the news for the next king hit. There’s a huge case for doing nothing right now, except surviving. For putting those dreams on ice.

The problem is when we continually fail to act we don’t feel good — it takes us in the opposite direction. It makes us slap negative (and unnecessary) labels on ourselves: Lazy. Unmotivated. Lacking willpower/discipline. A failure.

Which makes things worse.

So cut yourself a break. Let go of those labels. Stop judging yourself. Shift your mindset so you can go after your dreams in a practical, consistent way.

 Here’s how to do it. 
1. Hide your goal from yourself.
Big dreams are good. A relentless focus on the outcome is not. When you focus too hard on the end game it makes your goal seem too big and too hard; it will overwhelm you, and make you anxious, every time you go near it.

When you fail to act on it, it will fill you with thoughts you’re not good enough. So write it down, seal it in an envelope and hide it deep in your undies drawer. Don’t peep. Just know it’s there. Then get to work.

2. Give your project a fun name.
When they were little my kids used to call my writing “yabahooey”. Trust me, it’s impossible to take yourself too seriously when you are “yabahooey-ing”. Give your project a fun name, something that reminds you that it’s at some level fun for you because, well, why else would you do it?

3. Stop saying “this is hard”.
Every goal worth chasing is hard if you look at it all at once. When Sir Edmund Hillary set out to climb Mount Everest he didn’t camp at the base with Tenzing Norgay and chat for hours about how hard it was going to be.

They made all due preparations, began climbing, and “knocked it off” one day at a time. It’s the same with any goal of substance: Some obstacles you haven’t anticipated will rear up. Other things will be easier than you thought. You can’t plan for everything.

If you train your mind on how hard it is, guess what it will be? So don’t keep saying it’s “hard” or “huge”. Keep it neutral. “I’m climbing Mt Everest.” Then make a plan.

4. Put your doubts where you can’t reach them.
Shove your doubts right up on the highest shelf in your wardrobe where you can’t reach them. Shakespeare called doubts “traitors” primarily because they make us afraid to attempt, to try, things.

It’s true: They are premium fuel for the procrastination tank of life. They have the power to make us do nothing at all. Accept you have doubts — but know that everyone does. Don’t let them shut you down; proceed in spite of them.

5. Create (pleasant) habits.
We all know obsessions — goals if you like — need to be wrapped in inhabits. A habit anchors you: It keeps your butt in the chair, it keeps you going, and it builds momentum.

A simple trick at the outset is to make your habit pleasant. Create a nice space for yourself to work in, and line up a coffee and your favorite music. Make it something you look forward to so you’ll want to go there.

Remember, daily is best. Some people might be able to pursue their goals just once a week on Sundays, but I don’t have that kind of focus. If you act every day, you’ll see progress. And you’ll send yourself a psychological message: I can do this. Besides, if you have a bad day, it’s only one day lost.

6. Be fascinated by your “bad” days.
One of my colleagues has a line he uses with sports teams when things go wrong: He gets them to throw their arms in the air and say “How fascinating!” It shifts the focus from WHAT happened to WHY it happened, which is much more useful.

So when your project all goes belly up, just say “How fascinating!” Even if you don’t figure out the why, it lightens the load.

  Photo SD-Canva Lic 
Karen Nimmo

Karen Nimmo


Clinical psychologist, writer. Editor of On the Couch: Top writer in InspirationLoveSelf ImprovementMental Health,   PsychologyRelationshipsLifeLife LessonsEntrepreneurship

Article credit and social network links below…


Scan & Share QR Code


☯ Translate »