Almost a week ago, many of us were working on our resolutions/intentions/goals for the year. And for those of us who have gone through the process, everyone has good intentions about getting things done. Until they don’t.
Sometimes it takes a week, sometimes a month, but by the end of the first quarter, you know the status of those resolutions. Either you are on your way in some form or fashion or those babies have been flushed down the toilet for the current year and they may show up again next January.
This whole scenario fascinates me, and the reason is… I am guilty. And, yes, I have beat myself up about it for years. Here I am, a smart, capable woman who has been successful at many things and yet, there are things on my resolution list that can seem insurmountable. You would think I was trying to climb Mt. Everest.
What I realized is… it’s not about doing it and failing. After years of personal experience, I now see what some people would call “failing” to actually be a way of learning, fine-tuning and coming up with something better. So, it’s not failing that stops me.
What stops me is… getting started. The initial kicking off – no matter how excited I am about something – is the scary part. The fear of getting started shows up as procrastination:
- I think I’ll rearrange the paper clips one more time in my top desk drawer and then, I’ll be able to start. It’ll feel less cluttered.
- I couldn’t possibly start something during a Mercury retrograde – then it’ll really be effed up
- After making copious lists of things to do, I shrink back. There’s so much to do, I don’t even know where to start so I’ll just keep looking at this list and hoping I get inspired.
So, I started thinking about the overwhelm – in my case, getting a home ready to sell, being interrupted by nice people who may want to buy the house, stopping everything to go into cleaning up mode if a house showing is happening, dealing with new home and long-distance moving issues, and restructuring the radio show and all that entails. And, even though I am beyond excited… the list feels overwhelming. Hence, procrastination sets in.
With all of that cropping up, a whole bunch of resources have also risen to the surface to help me gather my momentum and just do it. Perhaps you, too, may be in the same wobbly procrastination boat. I want to share some tidbits and resources I’ve run across which may help you also:
Read or listen to The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks
Could Upper Limiting yourself be the problem? It’s the ultimate good/happy/successful life barrier and lots of people upper limit themselves all the time – sort of like waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Ask yourself the question… If not now, when?
Read 10 Move You Forward Questions About Beginnings and Endings by Susan Bishop of Unlocked Box
To End Procrastination, Look to the Science of Mood Repair
Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal, 01/08/14
Focuses on the research of Dr. Timothy Pychyl, author of Solving the Procrastination Puzzle , which helps procrastinators see how attempts at mood repair are sabotaging their efforts and helps them learn to regulate their emotions in more productive ways. (So, instead of rearranging the paper clips and feeling successful at doing that, I may spend 20 minutes on a project on my list and help get me closer to my goal. You know… how do you eat an elephant?)
More Rational Resolutions
Angela Chen, The Wall Street Journal, 12/31/13
This article takes a look at goal factoring and a more logical approach to achieving your goals. I particularly liked the discussion on “structured procrastination” which is, if you’re going to procrastinate, forget sorting paper clips. Start reading a book that’s on your list, or listen to a podcast you’ve been meaning to listen to, or exercise for 30 minutes – something that is productive for you and helps you feel as if you’ve made some progress.
All in all, what I am finding is that NOW is the time to be extra kind to myself – to not beat myself up but to encourage myself and just start taking the steps. Even a few small steps – a few easy changes – can put me on the right track.
And, of course, when all else fails… I head over to Pinterest to find all sorts of encouraging feel-good messages because just seeing them, saying them out loud and repeating them throughout the day is helping me take one bite at a time:
You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.
Remember time lost cannot be regained.
Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Think big, start small… one bite at a time.
Little by little, they say, the bird makes its nest.
I commit to living in my zone of genius now and forever.
For those of you who are riding in this boat with me and for those of you who have mastered getting your stuff done… I would love to hear your secrets, your tips and what keeps you moving forward. No more beating ourselves up. Let’s do this.