Livekick Team | Jan. 26, 2018
Procrastination. The struggle is real. And it’s particularly real when it comes to health and fitness goals. We know we should be eating healthier, moving more or taking steps to fix a health issue but we don’t know where to begin.
Quick exercise: stop reading this post and think about the last time you procrastinated. We’ll wait.
What was happening in that moment? What was happening in your life overall?
The chances are you were hearing self-critical voices while in this “procrastination space”. Perhaps the voices were saying "You're lazy!" or "You need to wake up earlier and go to the gym!" or "These piles of work will never go away!" And maybe on top of that voice is another voice defiantly claiming, "You're not the boss of me!" or Give up now! It's better to give up that to try and fail."
Whatever is happening between these dueling voices, it’s important to simply become aware of the conversations. There is an inner power struggle going on between the critical part, trying to control what you do, and the other part, resisting both being controlled and avoiding the possibility of mistakes or failing. The power struggle creates an inner feeling of “stuck” which often results in procrastination.
Control + resistance = procrastination. It’s simple math. But silly voices like that aren't going to detemine your decisions anymore. Below, we have shared helpful tips on moving forward and ending procrastination.
- Lists are friends.
- It sounds silly but it’s super easy to procrastinate when the goal or objective is not clear so the first step is to make a list. Make a list of everything you need or want to do. Don’t worry about making the list “perfect". The goal is to simply to dump all ideas onto paper.
- Baby steps.
- If the goal is to eat healthier but you have no idea what that looks like, feeling overwhelmed is completely normal. Try breaking down the goal into smaller steps. Maybe in week one, research what exactly is healthy eating. Week two might be going to a seminar with a local nutrition coach. Try purchasing a new vegetable you’ve never heard of the third week. Breaking down the goal into smaller steps is key to maintaining momentum over the long run.
- Make a timeline.
- Once the small steps are clear, get out the Google Calendar and start scheduling due dates for specific accomplishments. Make sure to be realistic of your available time and work to not overwhelm by scheduling too much on one day or in one week. Seeing tasks mapped out in a calendar does amazing things to the brain. It makes tasks just a little more real and seem just a little more manageable.
- Tackle the stuff you hate.
- Figure out what’s currently stirring up the most dread and start by completing this task first! It sounds crazy but it’s quite effective. Sometimes referred to as “eating the frog,” the idea is that once you’ve eaten it, the rest of the day will seem much more manageable because the worst is over! Dreaded tasks often hang over our heads causing unnecessary stress and anxiety. Eating the frog makes a clear path for productivity.
- Identify the barriers and push past them.
- Even if you’ve checked everything off this list so far, eventually you will hit a wall (or walls). When you find yourself actively resisting a task, take a break and physically step away from whatever it is you are working on. Ask yourself why you’re feeling resistance. Are you bored by the task? Are you scared you’re going to do poorly? The key here is that a barrier cannot be overcome if the reason for the barrier is unknown. Oftentimes, the barrier is fear. Fear of not being good enough or a fear of failure. Once the barrier is identified, visualize yourself completing the task successfully. What will that look like? What will that feel like?! Then plan out a step-by-step of what needs to be done in order to push past the fear.
- Eat some cake!
- Wait, what? A fitness company just told me to eat refined sugar? While it's okay to indulge every once in a while, we mean a metaphorical cake. Possibly the most important aspect of this procrastination puzzle is to reward yourself upon accomplishing a goal. When you eat the frog, cross items off the to-do list or succeed in achieving a goal, it is imperative to take a moment and give yourself a big ol’ pat on the back. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. The important thing is to recognize the hard work and reward yourself for the effort, not just the results.