What Will You Change - This Time?

Mar 01, 2015

This year is the year that I promised myself I'm going to beat procrastination. I've been aware that I have a procrastination issue for several years now, but not until recently did I realize how much damage this does to me in my daily life and professional development. So I decided I'm going to change.<!--more-->

When fighting procrastination, we often say things like <em>"This time, I'm going to do &lt;annoying thing that we have to do&gt; right away!"</em> or <em>"I will not wait until the last minute this time"</em>.

This time.

I've often said things like these to myself. This time, I'll go through with my workout schedule. This time, I'll write that paper right away. This time, I won't eat so much unhealthy stuff.

In 99% of the cases where I said these things, I failed. Utterly. Why?

Well, why not? I realized I never really wanted to change. Each time, when I made these promises to myself, in the back of the head my <a title="The Lizard Brain by Seth Godin" href="http://vimeo.com/5895898" target="_blank">lizard brain</a> said <em>"but if you don't, you'll still be fine!"</em>. I was dead-set on my goal, determined to do it - for the first few minutes after I had decided to. Then, slowly but surely, my decisiveness eroded, and comfort zone took over.

I've now understood why that happens. Our mind is a powerful tool, but making tough decisions alone isn't going to change anything. In order to stick by them, we have to make visible, tangible changes.

Consequently, we shouldn't say <em>"this time"</em> unless we're aware that we need to change something right away.

<em>"This time, I'll tell everyone out there what I'm going to do so I'll be forced to do it."</em>

<em>"This time, I'm going to the gym on a fixed schedule together with a friend."</em>

See how different that is from just making a decision and trying to stick to it? Let's create external factors that force us to live up to our words. Let's make a plan. Let's tell everybody. Let's do whatever helps us execute instead of postpone. Then we might just be able to do it - this time.