There’s a difference between the people who say “I’ll have a fresh start in the new year.” or “I’m already halfway through the week, let’s wait till Monday!” and those who say “There’s no time to lose, I’m starting right away.”.
What is the difference? Performance. Change. Results.
We’ve all said it probably more than once. But why wait for a new week or even year, when every day is a new day? We all have different reasons and excuses as to why we procrastinate, but deep down inside we know we have something we need or even want to do. For some reason though, we keep putting off actually doing it. It is because you’re waiting for the right moment? What if ‘the right moment’ never seems to come?
When we procrastinate, waste time and put things off till a later date for whatever reason, we rob ourselves of potential we will never know we had.
So why then, do we procrastinate?
It all boils down to two things: Pain and pleasure. What we don’t do or do on our to-do list due to either avoiding pain or gaining pleasure, respectively. There is a mental fear and/or hesitation when it comes to experiencing the former.
Let’s look at it this way: Have you ever delayed starting a new fitness routine and perhaps even hiring a personal trainer to get you started, even though you knew it was important for you to do so in order to get in better shape and be healthier and fitter?
This is because you focused on the pain of doing so, i.e. working hard and putting in the time and effort to do those workouts.
What if you look at it in a different light? Say you have a wedding to attend (could be yours, could be someone else’s) where you’ll be meeting family and friends you haven’t seen in a long time. You want them to see you at your best, and you want to feel your best. You would probably bite the bullet and get your act together immediately, because you are focusing on the pain of showing up at the wedding unhappy with your physical state, and rather have the pleasure showing up in shape, healthy and comfortable in your own skin.
It is important to know the reason behind your tendency to procrastinate. Getting to know this would help you correct this behaviour.
Ask yourself why you have procrastinated in the past. More often than not, it would be due to the pain associated with taking action eg. Being uncomfortable working out, not enjoying the task.
When we enjoy doing something, on the other hand, we usually don’t procrastinate as it is something we look forward to doing. If you want to change a habit, you have to change your mindset.
When you procrastinate, easy things get hard, and hard things get harder.
Here are a couple of things that happen when we procrastinate:
Wasting precious time
Ever heard the saying ‘Time and tide waits for no man.’? It is every bit true. When you put things off because you are uncomfortable doing what it takes, you often make yourself busy by doing several other sub-important things that don’t matter as much (eg. Checking social media, Cleaning your room, Taking a nap in the name of feeling better after doing so, etc), in order to excuse yourself from what you actually need to do. And how about all that time spent not working on your goal at hand? Gone. You can’t get it back.
You miss deadlines
You set a goal. You aim to achieve it by a certain date. You keep putting off starting it because you are uncomfortable making a change in your lifestyle. You also assume you have more than enough time.
As the date draws closer, you realize you actually do not have enough time to meet your goal by your targeted date. You then push the date back further or even worse, give it up altogether.
The date finally arrives and it dawns upon you that you are nowhere close to where you're supposed to be. Has this happened to you before? Imagine how far you've have come if you started working towards your goal when you said you would. Think about this before making any decision to delay a task.
You feel stuck
If you want to make a change in your life, you have to do something about it. If not, you will constantly be stuck in the present. If you're sick and tired of feeling sluggish, unhealthy, and out of shape, you have to get moving. If your job is sucking the life out of you, switch things up. You don't have to make a huge change within a single day. It takes micro-steps every day to make a difference, and you will see it with every positive step you take.
You feel bad about yourself
When you start to question where all the time went and realize how much more you could have accomplished, it is inevitable for you to feel bad - to feel bad about not completing what you are fully capable of having gotten done. And then you start feeling bad about yourself. Feelings of guilt, distaste, and anger towards yourself. All these negative feelings often bottle up inside you as you have no one else to blame.
When we procrastinate, it only leads to a decline of self-worth and low self-esteem. Do you deserve this? Absolutely not. Procrastination can be a sign of something more than just a bad habit - it could be a sign of stress and a serious lack of mental wellbeing. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.
Before it gets too dark and dreary, let us take a look at the benefits of NOT procrastinating....
You feel a sense of relief
Remember all those times you put things off till the last minute? Remember the unbearable stress and pressure you put yourself through all the way till you finally completed your task? Now, remember the feeling of lightness and sense of relief you felt the moment you finished/achieved it?
Imagine if you never procrastinate ever again - imagine how much less stressed you will be. Less stress = better sleep = less binge eating = better health = lesser weight gaining tendencies. Experience this lightness throughout your life. You deserve it!
You know what i'm talking about; Fear Of Missing Out.
When you get things done right away when then need to get done, you are no longer a prisoner of procrastination. Nothing holds you back. Time is in your control and you have the freedom to do all that you want to after completing your task. When you put things off till later, you rob yourself of opportunities you would never know you had. You automatically become unavailable to everything else life has to offer because you have unfinished business.
By taking immediate action and getting things done when they should be, you open yourself up to many more opportunities like achieving that fitness goal; be it shedding those pounds or adding another plate to the barbell, or even spending more quality time with your loved ones.
Ever regret not doing something and then sitting down to sulk about it not being done when you know you very well could have? Regret is one of the worst feelings to have. It's a complete downer and makes you feel lower than ever. It is also the main cost of procrastination. Want to never feel that way again? Get your butt off the couch and get sh*t done!
Want to try something new? Want to get fitter, stronger, healthier, become the YOU you've always wanted to be? Well, it has never been easier - all you have to do is to remember that fear of regret and let that motivate you to push on and push forth.
Boosts our mental health
Procrastination puts us under pressure and in an unhealthy state of constant stress, knowing you have something to get done. This leads to loss of sleep, lack of self-care, poor health and even depression when prolonged. We fall into a state of decreased mental wellbeing and self-worth. Remember the last time you achieved something you set your mind to and the feeling of absolute joy when you reached your goal? Now that's a positive feeling to have. If you want to achieve something, don't hesitate. Do yourself a favour and get on it right away and you will feel so much happier and better physically, mentally and emotionally.
So friends, to summarize it all up, stop waiting for tomorrow, next Monday or January. The year may be coming to an end but that doesn't mean you have to wait till then to get started on your goals. Don't rob yourself of the future joy and health your body deserves. Start showing up for life. Start showing up for YOURSELF. Got a new year resolution? Start now and if nothing else, you'll have no excuse not do keep going at it 'cause 2020 is already here!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“It’s been 12 years since I’ve been into fitness and personal wellness. This runs alongside 9 years of experience in the F&B industry.
Throughout this time, i’ve undergone several ups and downs. My own experiences with restrictive eating habits, over-exercising, poor self-esteem and coming in and out of being a hormonal mess has helped me identify them in others as well. Making relevant changes to my lifestyle boosted my confidence levels and made me less easily manipulated. I felt that if I could be the voice of reason for someone else the way I wish I heard that voice, I could certainly make a difference in someone else’s life.
As a certified personal trainer under Gold’s Gym, my duty is to enable you to bring out the best version of yourself. On the side, I also run an online bakery that caters to both healthy and cheat day treats *sniggers*. Ironic much? Well, I am a strong believer in balance. It is the only way to be happy in life while achieving your goals!”