We have been sold such a bill of goods with this idea that it takes, oh, I don’t know, 30 days to change a habit.
This is crazy! Like let’s say, for example, you struggle with traffic 40 minutes every day to get to work, and then you discover another route that would take half your drive time off, would cut your traffic time 20 minutes. How long do you think it would take you to change that habit?
Change can be quick and easy.
I don’t believe that habits are these Sisyphean-like, push the rock up the hill every day torture. No! When you find a better thing, then you change, like that. Change can be that easy.
Another thing is, procrastination gets such a bum rap.
Honestly, my procrastinating days are some of my most productive days. You can find out exactly what I’m procrastinating on, because the thing that I used to procrastinate about, the thing that used to be scary, gets done.
Like when I was working on my book proposal, which was really scaring me, I started getting incredibly productive with other stuff I’d been putting off for months and months and months, and my house got really clean. Can I get some high fives on that?
Then, when I started getting comfortable with the book proposal, but then I had to write sample chapters (yikes!), writing the book proposal looked really, really easy. Because my fear had moved.
Here’s what I want to say about procrastination.
Here are the reasons we procrastinate, and there are sometimes good reasons.
Fear is your Friend.
Reason number one is we’re scared. Yeah. By the way, fear is your friend. It’s like a flag in the sand saying, “Treasure below.” If you didn’t care, you wouldn’t have any … You wouldn’t care. You wouldn’t have fear, but when something is important, ooh, we get nervous or scared about it, so we want to look for the things we’re scared of, because that’s a good sign we’re heading in the right direction.
So we procrastinate because of fear. Now, we have fear either because we don’t know what we’re doing, we’re not prepared, or we’re trying to take steps that are too big, and we know it.
Because we grew up on these big action movies where you’re supposed to make grand gestures. You’re either taking steps that are too big, you are not ready yet, or it’s the wrong thing.
By the way, there are just way too many coaches who tell you to do crap that you really shouldn’t be doing, and then they wonder why you aren’t doing it.
Because it’s not aligned.
It’s not what you should be doing.
It’s either totally not your thing, your vibe, your happy place, your values, or you’re not ready, or it’s too big and too scary.
Here’s what you do.
“Stupid Small” Baby Steps
If this is something you really want to do, if you’re procrastinating about something that’s really important to you because you’re scared, then SHRINK IT DOWN to the smallest step imaginable. Do less than you’re capable of.
The fastest way to conquer the world is to take really tiny baby, baby steps. Do less than you’re capable of. Make it stupid small, and do it!
Give yourself a success.
Keep track of every success.
What happens is every time you check off having taken an action, you build more confidence, more self-esteem, and more momentum, and then you take another baby step, and another baby step.
Tomorrow’s baby step, or next week’s baby step, or next year’s baby step, which will feel like a little itty-bitty nothing baby step, would have been a huge, too-big step in the beginning.
As we move faster and faster, our baby steps just get bigger and bigger and bigger without us even noticing.
So number one rule for procrastination is, make sure you are not trying to do too much.
Do less. Make it stupid small.
Like right now I’m writing a new sales page for a new program, and it’s totally different from anything I’ve offered before. Usually, whipping out a sales page, not a big deal. This time I’m kind of freaked out and nervous about it, so what I’m doing is, I am limiting myself to 15 minutes a day.
Now, honestly, I could spend hours writing it, but I have a rule that I only get to work on it 15 minutes, and ding, ding, ding, 15 minutes is up, have to put it away.
This means I’m not scared, and I actually do it, and it will be done in no time. So if you’re procrastinating, see if the steps are too big and if you can make it stupid small. Hashtag stupid small.
Another reason we procrastinate is timing. Are you really ready to act? Not to be perfect, but to take the first step?
Do you have the information you need? Your baby steps can be doing research. Is this really the right thing for you?
Honest to goodness, I first had the idea to write a book proposal back in 2008, nine years ago, and then I started getting requests for book proposals from publishers starting in 2011. Big publishers. Then I signed with a big agent in 2012. I was not ready to write a book proposal. I was not. I even had my book launch and took the workbook that I had made by myself and was publishing at OfficeMax, then published on Amazon and took it to number one of all books in the U.S. and then number one in three categories in Canada, number one in the UK, number one in Germany, number two in Italy, number three in France.
Remember when I told you that the best way to get productive is to procrastinate about something? I was so scared of writing a book proposal that I thought nobody would think worse of me if I had a book launch and became a best-seller instead. Nobody would notice. It wasn’t the right time to write my book proposal. Now is the right time, and it was easier and more fun than I expected. Because I was ready.
Check in with your Goal
Is it really the right goal? Whose goal is it? Does it turn you on? How will it change your life? Really make sure that you are energetically aligned, that your values are aligned, that it isn’t making you do something that is against your values.
If you’re procrastinating, there’s information there. Are you ready? Are you prepared? Do you have the information that you need, or do you need to read or hire a coach or a mentor to get the information you need?
Don’t do something just because other people are doing it and you heard you’re supposed to be doing it, and you’re not ready yet. You can hurt yourself.
I have a friend who … Wow, I think they hired one of those $100,000 coaches and did everything their coach said, and they went bankrupt. Actually, I know a few people who’ve done that. So make sure it’s your goal. Make sure it’s aligned, and find your way and take baby, baby, baby steps.
What I want you to take away with you is that change can happen like that.
It doesn’t take a million years to change a habit. It’s the second you find a better way, habit has changed.
If you’re procrastinating, take a look at whether this really is your goal. What are you resisting? Maybe you’re resisting doing something that you shouldn’t be doing, that somebody else told you you should, and it’s not your thing.
Do you have the information that you need to move forward?
Finally, are you taking small enough steps? That’s probably the biggest takeaway and the easiest is, the smaller the steps, the faster you’ll go.