It is easy to do. I used to do it in my teens and twenties spending hours in front of the TV watching shows that didn’t really enhance my life in anyway. I can’t recall a single episode of The Facts of Life or Mr. Belvedere. Ever hear of those shows? Well, hours of my life were spent watching them.
My diet of fast food TV didn’t slow me down. I even killed my time in my thirties. Then I hit forty and time hit back. I started to think time is a little more limited than when I was younger.
Now, something in my brain makes me feel sadness if I binge watch TV shows on Netflix or Amazon. The little voice in my head asks “Why are you doing this? You could be working on that graphic novel. Or editing the two other novels you wrote. Upload them on Amazon and sell them to make your $100,000 goal. Why are you watching, yet, another episode of Portlandia?”
I know I have not reached my personal goals because I procrastinate. But exploring that deeper, I know that procrastination is not something that happens on its own. It needs thoughts to make it happen.
So what are the thoughts that keep us from completing our goals? Excuses. “I’ll do it later.” “I don’t have the time right now.” “When my kids are a little older.” “My work is not good enough.” “People will say, ‘Who are you?’ ‘You’re not good enough.’” “I’m not good enough.” “I won’t be accepted.” “I will be rejected.” “This won’t amount to anything. It is a waste of time.” “I should be doing something else.” “It’s too much work and it may not work out in the end.” “I can’t get up that early just to write.”
Do any of those thoughts ring a bell for you? Sound familiar? Do some of them rattle around in your head?
What we think usually comes true. I’m not saying if you think you’ll go to your mailbox and find a check for a million dollars that you will find a check for a million dollars. You didn’t do anything to make that possible. You didn’t put any action out into the world to warrant that type of return.
In order to stop the procrastination you have to recognize the cognitive thoughts that are making the procrastination happen. Those thoughts are most likely cognitive distortions. Those distortions are automatic and fly under the radar of conscious thought which is why they are so effective. Almost like subliminal messages you’re sending to yourself. They are the lies that disguise themselves as rational, logical truth.
Be mistaken no longer. They are not the truth.
Those thoughts are not helping you. You have wants and goals. The reason you haven’t gotten those things, at this point, is because of those thoughts. You may have tried in the past and gave up when things didn’t “work out”, you still decided to give up because the “give up” thought was produced by a distorted thought.
The great thing is, you don’t have to keep those thoughts. You don’t have to listen to them. You can negate them by stopping them when they happen and replace them with other more helpful thoughts.
Over time you won’t even have to try. The helpful, progressive thoughts will be the more dominant thoughts and happen automatically. Wouldn’t that be great? It’s like pressing a button in your brain to only produce thoughts that are going to keep you moving in the direction that will get you to complete your goals and obtain those things you want.
Don’t study the folks who gave up because of their failures. Study the folks who are successful despite their failures. Decide which one you want to be and follow their path. Each of those paths leads to one particular destination. Only you can decide which way you will go.
And remember I said failures, because there will be some. And that is okay. Have as many failures as you want. Failure is not the end. They are part of the journey to achieving your goal.