Is it because we’ve set too high or challenging of a goal? Or is it because we’ve failed to take the necessary (and consistent) action to make that goal a reality? (I emphasis consistency here because it’s one thing to get a gym membership in January, but another thing to be the only one in that empty gym come February or March.)
I’ll admit, when it comes to procrastination I have found myself guilty many times pulling the famous “all nighter” to write a ten page essay I had all semester to write. I always seemed to be able to get things done just in the nick of time and then used the excuse of being able to “work better under pressure.” As I’ve grown older I began to realize that there are some deadlines in life that are completely out of our control. How many goals and dreams, or even relationships do we miss out on because we let that little word procrastination (or what we call life) get in the way? The older we get, the more excuses we seem to have (not enough time, money, energy) and before you know it, age somehow becomes the very excuse itself!
Almost 2 years ago, I made the decision to start traveling. (Note how I said decision, and not goal?) What’s the difference between the two? It’s simple, one involves action (“cision” from the root in latin meaning to cut, and “de” meaning from.) There were many circumstances in my life at that time that could have led me to make a different choice (for starters I was just scraping by on a waitress salary, trying to recover from a crashing real estate market with tons of unpaid debt.) I had to cut myself away from the excuses and actually take a specific action step, and then find a way to make it happen.
When I stood in line to get my passport I barely even had the money to pay the fees let alone book an airline ticket anywhere, but I knew it was my first (and necessary) step in the process. Some people may see that backwards and think, well what good is a passport if you don’t have the money to travel anywhere? I hate to say it, but those are probably the same people that are still sitting on their couches dreaming of all the places they will one day go, while I on the other hand am 8000 miles closer to my goal. Of course, there were other steps along the way, some of which required hard work and a few sacrifices, but what I think is more important to focus on is that annoying part that keeps us from DOING.
I’ll tell you a little secret. This very blog has been the act of procrastination. My intention in setting out on my journey across the world was to travel and write. While I managed to get the travel part down, I’ve left my friends and family in the dark wondering where in the world I am, and where on earth all those fantastic travel stories I promised are. There are many excuses I can give you, but the one that seems to be the biggest of all (and maybe you can relate) is FEAR.
Fear of failure? Fear of the unknown? It’s scary sometimes to make changes or to do something that might be a little outside of your comfort zone. But isn’t it scarier to think of all those things you could potentially miss out on by not doing it? When you really break down the word FEAR it means False Evidence Appearing Real. Your mind will come up with all of those excuses as a natural defense mechanism, but the question you have to ask yourself is, are those excuses really protecting you, or are they keeping you stuck in the rut you call a comfort zone? And as they say, courage is not the absence of fear, it is acting in spite of it.
Well today is a new day!!! So think of one of those goals or dreams you’ve been putting off, (travel included.) Think of WHY you want to accomplish it, write down the very first action step you need to take, and in the words of Nike Air, Just do it!!!! You will be amazed at how that one action step will be simple to do, and will begin to create the momentum that you need to continue through with your goal. And will you succeed? Yes you will indeed, 98 and 3/4 percent guaranteed, (that other 1/4 isn’t enough to stop you is it?)
Need some ideas to get you going? What are some things that motivate you? How have you been able to overcome procrastination?