We’ve all experienced procrastination…and it’s a dream stealer. Far too often we justify it by saying, “It’s just not the right time. I have to work. I have to travel. This. That. The other thing…. I’ll start when things settle down”
The end result is that we never get started on the goals we’d LOVE to see accomplished in our life.
THAT ENDS TODAY!
Why We Procrastinate
I’ve come across an interesting study that seems to explain WHY we procrastinate. It sheds some light on what we can do to stop waiting and start achieving once and for all.
A team of psychologists joined with the University of Konstanz in Germany to find out if there is any link between how we think of achieving a task or goal and our tendency to postpone it for “another time.”
The study, published in the journal Psychological Science, recruited a group of students to complete a questionnaire that dealt with mundane tasks like opening a bank account.
The students were told to fill out the questionnaire and email it back within three weeks. The students would also receive payment once they’d completed the questionnaire.
What the students did not know is that some of them were given questions that required “nuts and bolts” types of answers, while others were given questions that required more abstract thinking.
For the “nuts and bolts” group, the questions required straightforward answers. So for example, the question could be on how to open a bank account. The answer, of course, would involve driving to a bank, talking to a teller, making an opening deposit, etc.
The abstract questionnaire asked the students to think about implied personality traits. For example, what kind of person opens a bank account, or what are the traits of a person who keeps a diary?
The psychologists recorded the response times of both groups to see if there would be any significant difference. There was. Those that had to answer the questions abstractly procrastinated.
Those who had to answer the questions concretely sent in the completed task much sooner. “Merely thinking about the task in more concrete, specific terms makes it feel like it should be completed sooner and thus reducing procrastination,” said the study’s authors.
Steps to Achieving Your Goals
So how can this help you achieve your goals? Simple. Break your goals down into highly specific action steps, so you don’t put off getting started.
If your goal is to lose 10 pounds, make a specific list of actions you can take.
- The first action could be to get yourself a new pair of walking shoes.
- Next step, walk around your neighborhood every day for 15 minutes.
- Another step could be to increase your water intake to 8 glasses per day.
- The next step could be to eat at least one green salad every day.
- Another step could be to add fruit to every meal.
Remember, if you are doing something every day to move toward your goals, eventually you WILL get there. The important thing though, is that you get started.
There will NEVER be a perfect time. The perfect time is NOW.