One of the areas I am extremely talented in is the area of procrastination. In fact, it’s constantly a heated discussion point between my husband and I. It could be about anything…
“Can you make an appointment with the doctor to check out your failing eyesight?”
“Could you send these boxes to the recycling centre?”
“Could you help to send these shoes to be repaired?”
If I was truly honest with myself, it wasn’t that I didn’t have the time to do these tasks, I procrastinated because I disliked doing chores or activities that took me out of my comfort zone. Leaving all these tasks undone just adds to my guilt levels and eventually, I end up feeling worse. This BBC article sums it up really well and states that procrastination is an emotional regulation issue.
Psychologists like Tim Pychyl at Carleton University in Canada and his collaborator Fuschia Sirois at the University of Sheffield in the UK have proposed that procrastination is an issue with managing our emotions, not our time. The task we’re putting off is making us feel bad – perhaps it’s boring, too difficult or we’re worried about failing – and to make ourselves feel better in the moment, we start doing something else, like watching videos.
Are you procrastinating in any areas of your life? Your marriage? We need to realise that procrastinating never accomplishes anything. It’s never easy to take action especially when humankind is so resistant towards pain and we only gravitate towards activities that give us pleasure.
The same article suggested a method of overcoming procrastination… just get started.
Though we might know the benefits of taking action (like exercising), the mind can certainly decide in a few seconds that it’s just too much effort and perhaps exercise could wait another day. Thinking and talking about taking action is not enough. We need to be intentional and take baby steps to actually do something about it.
Here are 7 common reasons we fail to take action in life:
- We are afraid to change – Change is never easy, but in life, we are either growing or dying. Change requires us to move out of our comfort zone.
- We don’t want to fail or lose – We usually do things that we are good at, and fear doing things that we are not good at.
- We value pleasure over pain – It is much easier to give in to your child’s temper tantrums than to work through the difficult challenge of discipling and training him / her.
- We choose distractions over destiny – We choose short term gains or goals. A lot of people cannot focus on what is the most important thing to do first. So we just drift along, allowing whatever calls our attention today to take over our long term priorities. We might have a desire to spend more time with our family but other distractions easily pop up and we forget the intention.
- We over plan and under commit – It’s so easy to keep overthinking a situation and never move because you can’t get clarity on a situation.
- We don’t want it (bad) enough – There’s not enough motivation and conviction to move forward.
- We are not aligned to our neurological levels (identity, values, beliefs, motivations, attitudes, behaviours, actions) – Self-awareness is a key to unlock the door towards action.
JUST GET STARTED
Mel Robbins, best-selling author of the 5 Second Rule says that the 5 Second Rule closes the gap between thinking about what needs to be done and actually doing it.
The rule is pretty simple. If you have a thought about wanting to take action towards a goal, all you need to do is count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 backwards and get to it. Don’t allow your brain time to dispute your instinct with reasons why you should only work on it later. Read more about this amazing concept here.
So what happens after we start taking baby steps? Starting is just one aspect of it. We need to work really hard to ensure this new action becomes a habit.
MOVING FORWARD WITH A VISION PLAN
How do you know what to do if you don’t really know where to go? How do you envision your marriage to be?
This year, I wrote a vision statement for my life and created a vision board. I have always wanted to create something beautiful like this but never got around to it (procrastination again). So I took the opportunity during this MCO to take action and complete it! I love how it looks but now that I have gained clarity about my direction in life (my WHY), with some ideas on strategies and goals, I really do need a support structure to get there. The next challenge for me would be to sit down with my husband to create one for the family.
You can definitely do something like this for yourself or with your spouse! Here are some questions for you to ask yourself so that you can get started on this process:
- What values are important to me and my family?
- What do I want to achieve for my life? For my marriage / family?
- What do I need to do to reach my goals?
- What are the areas of my life I need to cut off?
- Who can help keep me accountable with these goals?
Remember, if you feel overwhelmed, just pick one item, and then get started on that. As Dory so wisely puts it, “Just keep swimming…”