I have really been putting this post off for quite a while. It seems that every time I think to post it, something gets in the way. Well, I always seem to allow something to get in the way….television show, reading, or finding something interesting online to read about.
It is now December 31, 2017. I just completed my last class for my Master’s degree. In the past four years, I have gained about 25 pounds, had no time for extra-curricular activities, not much time to workout, not much woodturning done, and not much of anything was completed on time. I stayed tired quite a bit and didn’t have as much spunk as I did a couple years back. I’m not one to make resolutions but this year I am implementing some goals to encourage myself to become more physically fit like I was before I started my Master’s degree. I know that I can do it and I am extremely motivated to do it. Motivation is always a plus.
Procrastination used to be a big problem for me. I never really enjoyed the moments of challenging myself. It was uncomfortable. I hated being uncomfortable. I felt that way plenty of times growing up. I lived in a dysfunctional home, was abused in different ways, and I was picked on for being over weight. I was extremely super self-conscious until around the age of 30. My life changed dramatically. I was more outgoing, respected myself more, worked out daily, ate very healthy, lost over 130 pounds and for the first time in my life, felt good. What I learned during that time was that my mind set had to change in order for my body to accommodate those changes. I find that many people still have a hard time grasping that. I have known many people who had some sort of surgery on their stomachs to lose weight only to gain it back. I always feared surgery. I know one man who passed away in the middle of his surgery. I wanted to take a proactive stance and lose the weight on my own which is something I never had to courage to do.
I have learned a lot in school the past 4 years. One of the most interesting topics I learned and have been reading about is the concept of procrastination. I always assumed that since I procrastinated a lot, that I was lazy and became self-conscious that others saw me as lazy too. That was some negative thinking on my part. I had a habit of personalizing a lot of stuff around me. Procrastination was putting off today what I could do tomorrow but that task or activity never really got completed. I’m not so bad at procrastination now. I do have to admit, getting my degree did cause me to fall back into some of the habits but I am putting forth some effort not to completely fall into the old bad habits.
Being in the helping field, I see that many people put off things for many different reasons. Depression being the biggest obstacle, which I can completely sympathize with them. I spent my 20’s with major depression and there were days I didn’t even get out of my pajamas, let alone make the time to complete a list of daily chores or activities. Another reason besides depression that people put off certain things is that their schedules are hectic. They are awake at 6:30, work until 5:00 PM, many have their kids to tend to until they get home late, then dinner if they don’t pick up something fast food, homework, showers, some people have farms to tend to, and maybe catch the evening news although many people stopped tuning into the nightly news these days. These people may go to bed at 10 or 11:00 PM. That is a long and busy day. They don’t have much time to pencil in anything else.
Aside from busy schedules, there are many reasons people procrastinate. Many people think that they have to be in the mood to pay their bills, run on the treadmill, clean out the garage, or take out the trash. I used to be the same way. I would clean out the fridge when my body led me to the fridge with a trash bag in hand. Then, I knew I’d be ready. The one thing that I failed to realize, is that my body never led me. I always had to muster up some courage, some inertia, and just get the job done. There were times I didn’t feel like sitting down and watching all of my money go to someone else. But it had to be done because I enjoyed having heat in the winter time. I failed to realize that productive actions always happened before motivation. It was after I started doing what I had planned on doing, my brain would kick in and those happy hormones followed and I would complete my task. Then, I got to celebrate my achievement knowing I would have electric for the next month.
Another reason people procrastinate is they think that no one else feels the way they do about completing their activity. For example, I tried losing weight so many times. I remember years ago watching Oprah and some lady wanted some change in her life. She got up every morning and was at the gym before her family got up. It showed her running on the treadmill, doing sit-ups, all kinds of stuff that I wanted to be doing. She looked comfortable doing it though. She looked like a morning person. She was a lot skinnier than I was. What I did not see was the days she was much heavier when she was panting, and sweating, and crying because she wanted to give up. They didn’t show those clips so in my mind I only saw how easy it was for her at that time doing what I wanted to be doing. I had an unrealistic expectation of working out. I’m sure it was not comfortable for her to get the kids to bed and her go to bed at 10 or 11 and have to get up at 5 in the morning. Looking back, I’m sure there were many days she struggled with her thoughts of wanting to stay in bed. Eventually, I became the person who was at the gym at 6 am. It took a long time to get there though. I started out not even being able to walk 1/2 a mile.
Fear is another reason people procrastinate. Maybe they have a fear of failure. Maybe they have a fear of being judged in public. Maybe they even have a fear of success. I know growing up, I always heard a certain person tell me that I would never amount to anything. Deep down on the inside, I believed it and I had a very hard time (and still do if I were to be completely honest) getting over something someone told me many times growing up. Sometimes people hold on to fear because they failed at what they are trying to do again. For example, if they were a business owner and the business failed. They fear that it will fail again if they try again. Well, they won’t know if they don’t try. Plus there are a lot of things they have learned from the time they started their first business and now. There are many reasons people may struggle with fear.
I have learned that I procrastinated for many reasons. Working out made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t strive for my goals because I never thought I would make it. I have lived much of my life holding back on my pursuits in business and personal life because I feared I would fail. I don’t want to live that way anymore. For the first time in my life, I accomplished a goal. I graduated with a Master’s degree. I never in my life thought I would ever have a degree, let alone a Master’s degree. I learned that I can do things I simply have to keep at it. Keep engaging myself. There are many dreams out there just floating around. There are just as many procrastinating reasons floating out there too. I write this to ask you to think about what it is you want to do in this life. What have you always wanted to do? What is holding you back? What are your fears?
Coming soon, I will be writing about ways that people can overcome procrastination. And remember, things can change overnight but change is usually something that happens over time. Change isn’t always a bad thing either. It can be scary. It can be intimidating but it is so worth the challenge. You can do this.
Until next time….