Got a big, hairy scary goal you’ve been procrastinating on?
There are a number of reasons why you may be stalling:
1. You’re unclear on the exact steps you need to take to reach your goal.
You may have a vague idea of the steps, yet if you don’t have a clear enough vision of how to achieve your goal, you’re going to stall. Simples.
If you don’t know the first steps to take – and I mean the *really* small steps mapped out with absolute clarity – you’re going to stay stuck in procrastination, overwhelm and uncertainty.
Get so clear on the first steps that you can see yourself doing them in specific detail.
Research different success formulas for your goal and see which one works best for you (We all have our own styles and preferences, hence why I don’t believe in ‘one size fits all’ formulas!).
Break your steps down into actions that take 5 minutes to do if you have to. Set yourself up for success!
2. Your goal is too big.
I’m all for setting big juicy goals, but if your goal scares the daylights out of you and leaves you stuck in overwhelm and procrastination, then you need to reassess the goal and split your goal up into smaller goals.
One of the keys to moving past procrastination is to set yourself up for success rather than failure – and the first step is to make sure the goal you have is big enough that it stretches you and excites you, yet isn’t so daunting that you freak out and hide away from it!
3. Your goal isn’t yours.
Is what you say you want what you really really want?
If you’ve set a goal because it’s what you *think* you should set, yet you actually don’t want it – you’re going to procrastinate like crazy.
Perhaps you’ve seen other people’s successes, or you’re doing something because you think your peers, family or friends expect it of you.
Perhaps you think it’s the next step you *should* be taking in your business or your life.
If so, it’s time to get real and honest with yourself.
Get clear on whether the goal is something you truly want – or if it’s someone else’s goal.
It’s your business. Your life. Your choice.
Don’t be sucked in to doing things to please others.
Cut the crap, save yourself time and suffering and decide.
If it isn’t your goal, ditch it.
Get a new goal that inspires YOU, otherwise you won’t enjoy it and will likely give up along the way (which actually, is a good thing as another person’s goal isn’t worth spending your time pursuing!).
4. You’re not clear on your WHY.
You may want to make 10k per month in your business so you can have financial stability.
But is just having money enough of a reason to be motivated and inspired to achieve your goal?
We often give superficial reasons of why we want something, which is why we often don’t have the enthusiasm we want to achieve it.
There’s pretty much always a bigger motivation underlying. And when you can find this bigger motivation, you’ll likely swing into action feeling inspired and driven.
Dig deeper. Keeping asking yourself ‘why?’ until you get to your biggest motivation.
Using our example of money and financial stability:
Why do you want 10k per month?
If it’s for financial stability – why?
Is it because you never had stability before?
Because you want to provide for your family?
Because you want to prove to you and others that you can make money in your business?
Because you want to leave a legacy for your children?
Keep asking ‘Why’ until you get to the root cause of why you’re motivated.
You’ll know when you’ve reached that point, as it should light a fire in your belly and motivate you to take action.
5. Your goal isn’t specific enough.
‘I want to earn a stable income of 10k per month’ is a great start, yet needs to be more specific.
If you don’t set your sights on a specific outcome AND a date by which you’ll achieve it, you’ll keep putting it off.
It’s easy to set a vague goal for the future and tell yourself that ‘some day’ you’ll achieve it. It feels nice doesn’t it?
Yet it isn’t until we put something in concrete and make it specific that we actually commit to achieving it. #thingsjustgotreal
So make your goal specific with what you want and by when. e.g. ‘I want to earn an income of $10,000 per month by September 10, 2017’.
This way you’re committed to a clear outcome and can track and measure as you move forward.
What business goal have you been vaguely setting for some time in the future?
How can you make it more specific and commit to it?
6. You’re waiting for motivation or confidence to arrive before you act.
Feeling confident comes through DOING, not thinking.
And motivation won’t always be present.
Sure, you may find motivation to start, yet sometimes motivation can be challenging to conjure up – especially when what you’re tackling is something you’ve not done before and you’re finding it a challenge.
The trick when this happens is to focus on what you want and why, then keep going IN SPITE of how you feel.
If you did everything based on how you felt, you’ll get nowhere fast (other than on the couch binge-watching Netflix, or is that just me?).
Whether you’re scared of change, success or failure… it’s worth remembering that fear is a universal experience.
The problem is that most people see fear as a sign of weakness.
Yet it’s a natural human response to pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and trying something new (as well, of course, if your life is in danger and you’re being chased by a predator… even if you’re thinking of being chased by a predator).
There’s a belief that when you’re confident, fear will go away. However that isn’t the case.
It’s simply that your relationship with fear changes so you can handle it better.
Whenever I publish a post, stand on stage to speak, or even sometimes when I’m seeing a new client for the first time, fear raises it’s head.
My fear says things like ‘Be careful… don’t go putting yourself out there! What if people don’t like what you have to say?’ or ‘Be careful… what if you can’t help this person? Maybe you’ll fail this time…’.
I tell my fear ‘Whatever!’ and return my focus back to my task.
If you’re feeling fear while you’re taking the action, use it to your advantage.
Fear can actually heighten performance as you’re more alert and focused – provided you claim power over your thoughts and drive the energy to where you need it most (not to running off the stage and out of the room!).
The antidote to fear is to see it for what it is, to recognise and acknowledge it – and move on in spite of it.
Because if you don’t take action, your fear increases and keeps you even more stuck.
So if there’s something you want to do that you’re being held back by from fear, know that the fear will subside once you’ve taken action.
What gives fear power is you listening to it for so long!
8. You’re too results focused
You want results NOW (Ahhh, wouldn’t it be nice?).
You start taking action toward your goal, then you get frustrated as you’re not seeing any results.
So you stop because you’re frustrated, and you procrastinate even though your goal is something you really want.
What’s happening here is that you’re too focused on the results you want.
With all the ‘I made 10k in 5 days’, ‘overnight success’, ‘Lose 10lb in 10 days’ messages, we’ve being conditioned to think we can get results almost overnight.
Yet most of what we want takes time, persistence and commitment to achieve.
The best approach is to have a clear, simple system and take pleasure in the process of moving towards your goal.
Engage fully with each task and celebrate the little bit of accomplishment you experience each day (hint: if you worked on your goal at all, that’s accomplishment enough!).
If you stick with it you’ll eventually see the fruits of your labour.
9. You’re looking for roadblocks.
Perhaps you’re looking for all the reasons you think you can’t achieve your goal.
You’re not skilled enough. Smart enough. Wealthy enough. You don’t have enough time.
Or perhaps you’re blaming other people or circumstances on why you can’t move forward.
We can come up with some pretty marvellous stories to convince ourselves to stay stuck.
All these excuses are likely to be connected to fear.
If you’re blaming people or your current situation for why you can’t move forward, you’re giving over your power and control to things that shouldn’t have any impact on what you do in your life.
Answer this question: If I offered you a million dollars to spend just 20 minutes a day working towards your goal, would those excuses still exist? Or would you find a way to make it work, regardless of your situation?
See these excuses for what they are – a way to mask fear and keep you from moving forward.
Move excuses out of the way and take responsibility for all your actions and your life (believe me, no one wants to be the reason why you couldn’t go after your goals, especially those who love you. Surely you wouldn’t want to burden them with blame?).
Step up and make space for the things in your life that you really want. No one else will do that for you.
10. You’re waiting for the right time to start.
Is there ever a moment in your life that feels like the ‘right time’ to start a new project?
They’re very rare these days aren’t they?
We all have full schedules and a never-ending to-do list, making it seem a sensible conclusion to put things off until we have more breathing space.
And I get that sometimes, it isn’t the right time.
Sometimes you need to think and explore before deciding to act. In that way, procrastinating can be good.
Yet if you’ve been procrastinating on something you know you want, and you’ve been wanting for a long time, realise there will likely never be a perfect time to start until you create that time yourself.
Saying you don’t have the time really means you’re not making the time.
So make the perfect time now. Re-prioritise and declutter your life to make the space you need to achieve your goal.
A simple question to ask when decluttering your life is:
Is this activity more important than me getting me to where I want to be?
So there you go. The 10 main reasons people procrastinate. Which ones do you tend to use?
This article was originally published on the Huffington Post.
Melissa Smith helps entrepreneurial women get the energy and mindset they need to take bold action and maximise their productivity, profits and impact.
Melissa runs the Limitless Fempreneurs community, where she shares resources and training to help female entrepreneurs maximise their energy, mindset and performance. Join here.
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