Five Steps To Stop Procrastinating And Achieve Your Goals Today

“The two rules of procrastination: 1) Do it today. 2) Tomorrow will be today tomorrow.” Vincent T. Foss

Susan Daley was a successful entrepreneur selling promotional products. She enjoyed making decent money while having the flexibility to work at home. Susan recently took over a colleague’s account, a huge growth opportunity. So why did she spend her mornings playing solitaire in her messy office rather than making phone calls to prospects?

To procrastinate is “to put off doing something”, or “to postpone or delay needlessly”. Sometimes we avoid doing the tasks that must be done because they are unpleasant or boring, or because we have poor time management skills or are lazy. And yet, often it is the tasks we most want to do that we put off, resulting in much internal pressure.

In Susan’s case, she loved building relationships with potential clients, helping them to better serve their customers and employees, and making a good paycheck to support her family.

So what was going on?

Awareness is the first step. Think about your excuses for not accomplishing your goals. Everyone has his or her own pattern of procrastinating. Here are eight examples:

– Fear of change, rejection or failure
– Need to be perfect (I can’t do it perfectly so I won’t start)
– Lack of time
– Too much stress, pressure or anxiety which leads to paralysis
– Overwhelm on how to start (task is too big, don’t know how to do it, etc.)
– Self-doubt or lack of confidence
– Disorganization, indecision
– Other priorities, big (work/family crisis) and little (need to check email first!)

Do these excuses sound reasonable and logical? That’s often the case. The problem is that if you buy into the excuses, you don’t follow-through on the steps needed to achieve your goals. Procrastination can feel good in the moment, but then creates stress. This becomes a vicious cycle.

Overcoming Procrastination

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt Disney

Getting into action alleviates the stress of procrastination almost instantaneously.

Here are the five simple steps:

1. Identify the task to be done
2. Identify the first or next step to accomplish the task
3. Commit to a time when you will begin the first step
4. Be aware of your pattern of excuses
5. BUT begin the first step in collaboration with the excuses

Susan outlined the steps needed to organize her files and her office to have ready access to client information. She set daily and weekly goals for contacting prospects and clients. Working with a coach provided the structure and accountability to stay in action on these tasks. She developed strategies to counteract the fear of rejection that was fueling some of the procrastination.

Don’t worry about eliminating all the excuses, or analyzing too much why you are procrastinating. Getting into action actually reduces the grip of the inertia and overwhelm of procrastination. As Susan found, it can be helpful to have partners and strategies to keep the excuses at bay.

You’ll feel more confident and relaxed as you experience the success of reaching your goals. You gain momentum and if you begin the task again and again, you WILL ultimately achieve it.

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Motivation and Momentum

What Do You See?

One of the most difficult parts of goal achievement is simply getting started. It’s easy enough to dream and plan, but many people get stuck in this phase indefinitely and avoid taking action. Planning and dreaming might make you feel like you’re doing something about your goals, but if you never actually take a step forward you’ll never achieve them. In order to see measurable progress and start your momentum, you have to step out of your comfort zones and take action.

When you finally do gather your courage and begin moving forward, what usually happens? You realize it’s WAY harder than you thought it would be, right? It feels like you’re trying to run uphill. You keep tripping over obstacles, facing setbacks and delays, dealing with fear and anxiety, and fighting a daily battle to stay motivated.

It’s during this difficult phase that most people give up. They decide that “it isn’t meant to be” right now, so they set their dream aside and vow to try again later. Or worse, they resign themselves to a mediocre life because they don’t believe they have what it takes to succeed. They’ve “failed,” so they’re not going to try any more.

You Are Not Alone

Have you done this? Most people have!

However, this doesn’t have to be the end of the story. You can pick up your dreams, dust them off and try again. But this time you should know about a little something called Momentum.

You see, the difficult phase I just described is what happens at the beginning when you’re trying to gain momentum. Most people quit during this phase because they think it’s ALWAYS going to be this hard. What they don’t realize is that every effort they put toward the achievement of their goals will build on the previous efforts. With every step forward the process gets easier and easier. Finally, they’ve put so much energy and effort into the process that momentum begins to take over. Suddenly they realize that they don’t have to push so hard to keep moving forward. It becomes fun . . . even easy to achieve their goal.

This same experience can be yours! All you have to do is keep moving forward. Keep working toward your dreams and never quit. Momentum WILL take over eventually!

What Can You Do?

If you want to get momentum working even more quickly for you there are a few ways to do it, but they can be summed up in one sentence:

Be willing to work harder, faster and take bigger risks than you have in the past.

The reason why momentum can be delayed sometimes is because many people take very tentative steps toward their goals. They’re afraid to really give it their all, so they hold back much of the energy and power they could be devoting toward their goal. Even if they’re not aware of it, they may feel more comfortable working at a slower pace, so they avoid taking big risks and instead take baby steps.

There’s not a thing wrong with this approach if it suits you! However, if you want to make faster progress and build momentum quickly, think about taking bigger steps and giving your full energy and focus toward making it happen. By doing so, you’ll push through the difficult beginning and find yourself coasting before you know it.

Failure Doesn’t Exist

Failure?Failure Doesn't Exist

Have you ever held back on doing something because you were afraid of failure?  Most people have!  Let’s face it; no one likes to fail.  None of us likes to feel like we’re ineffective, weak or lacking in any way, and that’s exactly how failure makes us feel.

However, you may be surprised to know that failure doesn’t exist – until YOU say it does.  In the dictionary, failure has several definitions:  1)  a failing to do or perform  2)  a state of inability to perform a normal function adequately  3)  a fracturing or giving way under stress  4)  a lack of success.

Look carefully at those definitions and you’ll probably realize they have one thing in common when it comes to goal achievement:  failure is a PERCEPTION.

If you believe you have failed, then you have. Also if you believe you don’t have the ability to succeed, then you don’t.  And if you believe you can’t handle the pressure of achieving your goals, you can’t.  Finally if you believe you’re not successful, you aren’t.  Failure only exists in your own mind!  The moment you decide to give up or stop working toward your goals, failure is born.

But what if you never do that?  What if you continue working toward your goals, one step at a time for as long as it takes?  There’s no failure then, is there?

This insight should be very encouraging if you’ve been working toward goals and not yet seeing positive results.  Simply keep going and you cannot fail!

Here are three tips to help you stay strong and focused on your goals:

1) Never give yourself an out.  Most people do this without even realizing it.  They are willing to work hard on achieving their goals, until the going gets too rough or their motivation dwindles.  Don’t do that!  Commit to making your goals happen, no matter what!  Never quit, never contemplate admitting failure, and never lose your inner determination.

2) Don’t get hooked on a specific time frame for completion.  It’s okay to set a general timeline. Just be aware that some circumstances will be beyond your control. So you can’t say for sure when your goal will be achieved.  If you do that, you’re just setting yourself up for failure!  Instead, get a general idea of when you’d like your goal to be completed. Then take it a day at a time and focus on making progress, not reaching the finish line in as little time as possible.

3) Finally, be sure that you don’t view obstacles and setbacks as failures.  The two are completely different.  An obstacle, setback or delay means only one thing:  it’s not time for your goal to be completed yet.  That’s it!  It doesn’t mean you failed; doesn’t mean you’re weak; and doesn’t mean you’ll never achieve your goals.  It means you’re not done with your project yet.  You’ve got to keep moving forward and find a way around or through the obstacle.

 

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3 Different Ideas to Goals

Many of you have heard of the SMART or SMARTER goals.  These are wonderful acronym phrases for you know what a goal should be.  I enjoy these acronyms and think that they are wonderful, but I will take just a few moments and explain 3 simple helps with goals. (If you want the longer version to this article then click here J the added portions will be in another color.)

First, the goal you set has to be something you really desire and I mean really desire.   When you set goals you tell others so that they can help you.  This helps you decide if the goal is something you really desire or not.

Deciding what you want to achieve can be really hard at times!  As you think about goals and what you want there are always people to help you and help you get started.  You just have to want it bad enough to share so you can have help and correction.  If you are not willing to have others correct or encourage you then what you want is not worth it to you.  Simply change to a different goal.

Second is this goal has to be woven into your life!  Written down, talked about, and worked on.  Goals that are set do no good when you don’t do something every day for it!

I have found that when it comes to weaving goals in my life it is best, have it written down and to have statements about the goal everywhere, affirmation statements if you will.  For example, if my goal is to exercise every day I will not only have that written down someplace where I can see but I will post post-it notes everywhere saying things like “Exercise makes me feel good about myself”  “Exercise makes me a healthier person” or “I love exercising.” These are simple statements but you see them enough and work towards them you will have a new desire to exercise.

Third part is there should always be room for adjustment.  Just because you set a goal and want it doesn’t mean that it is set in stone.  Make sure you can correct if the path is not the right one.  Fight for your goal but don’t be unreasonable!

I have set many goals that I have been told were unreasonable or out of reach.  I decided when making those goals that there was more to this goal than just reaching the end.  As I worked and worked and worked I found that I was not going to be able to reach some of these goals.  But as I thought about it I found that the goal made me reach higher than I ever would have had I not set them.  I am not saying go out and set goals that are all unachievable. When you want to have an adventure into someplace new or unfamiliar then set a goal and go for it.  This will be the only way you can get enough knowledge about it to set better goals the next time around.

Goals are amazing and they really do make people grow and build better relationships with others as we all work together to become better and reach new heights!  Good luck with the New Year and goals that you have set!