Even if you’re on the right track-you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
– Arthur Godfrey -Radio and television personality.
Procrastination is a bad habit. It is the destroyer of goals and dreams and achievement. If you procrastinate you should look to replace the habit of procrastination with the habit of action. A good slogan to remember is “You can’t be great if you procrastinate.”
The best day to start a project is today. In school, students often put off until the last minute writing a report or doing an assignment. Finally, when the fear of failure outweighs the discomfort of having to do the report, they are motivated to start and find that the project really isn’t that bad. Sometimes they realize that if they only had started earlier, they would have had more time and might have done a better job. Then, they swear that next time they will start the day the assignment is given and get it done earlier. But, next time they fall into the same procrastination trap.
People procrastinate because they pay closer attention to the comfort of the moment than to long term pleasure and long lasting satisfaction. For example, it would have been much more comfortable on those cold, windy mornings to stay in bed rather than to get out and run. However, it would have been impossible to achieve my long term goals of running the Boston Marathon if I hadn’t exercised diligently each morning. The long term satisfaction of accomplishing my goal outweighed any short term pain or discomfort of early morning training. When I did, in fact, qualify for and subsequently run the Boston Marathon, all the work and sacrifice was more than worth it!
Remember, your mind can only focus on one concept at a time. To move from a life of procrastination to one of immediate action you must shift your focus from the pain of the immediate action to the pleasure of the eventual outcome. By placing our attention and emphasis on the pleasure to be derived, you will be motivated to move forward with your project. The anticipated pleasure will generate the passion, energy and commitment necessary to complete your project and achieve your primary desires.
As soon as you identify a project, take some action, no matter how small, to begin the project. A project is much easier to complete, once it has been started, even if the first step is small. If the task is large or complex, break it down into several smaller projects that will be easier to tackle.
Establish deadlines for each part of the project. Make it a game. If you finish a project before a deadline, reward yourself. As you begin, you may start slowly and with small steps. But as you move forward, you will pick up momentum.
If “any job worth doing is worth doing well,” then any goal worth having is worth pursuing now! Procrastinating only creates “negative momentum” (see Momentum) and actually pushes you further away from the achievement of your primary desires. You can either move forward or slip backwards. Which direction are you moving? What are your primary desires? Make a small start today!