You know that saying "don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today" - yep we've heard it, yes its antiquated (Benjamin Franklin asserted this back in 1882) but it resonates with all of us! (yes I'm talking to YOU - I know somewhere in your subconscious you are validating reasons to NOT do that onerous task that is lingering in the back of your mind......) We are all guilty of delaying tasks because lets be honest, by postponing decisions it reduces anxiety? Right??? WRONG???? Procrastination leaves a heavy burden over us making us helpless and powerless. You end up lethargic, you lose your willpower and often spend more time on menial tasks whilst you put off the more urgent ones. The more you put things off, the more they consume you and the further you are from reaching your full potential. Now let me tell you about my shortfall in not getting my arse out of bed to get to an early morning class. I kept coming up with excuses until one morning, it happened.......
Generally in our household, either my alarm goes off if I'm working a day shift or a small person comes in and wakes me from my slumber. Now if its the latter and I have a little extra time to lay in bed, I generally will. But what do I do then? I grab my phone, check social media, see if The Iconic have a sale...... Nope....... I'll check my emails and see if anyone else has sales??? (Does anyone want to give me a discount today???) Nope? jump onto Lorna Jane, have a quick squizz, all whilst half asleep! Now don't judge me, a staggering 90% of Aussies check their phone first thing in the morning! So why is this so bad for us??? Studies have shown that checking our phones first thing in the morning jolts our brains into a wave of high stress from the moment we wake up. It causes feeling of paranoia, worry, fear and irritability all which have been linked to a weakened immune system. In other words, we're setting ourselves up for failure for the day ahead. So what happened on this particular morning for me....? My lovely husband declared he was going to get to our early morning class so I thought I should go too! The alarm went off at 6am, I contemplated telling him to F*&% off but then thought better of it...... I didn't have time to look at my phone so I threw on some activewear, attempted to tame the wild beast that is my hair and off I went..... 45 minutes later I returned home and I was invincible!
I walked in the door with a pep in my step - I was like "hey kids, whats happening? Who wants a hug, I know you want one......" ( insert WTF emoji from my kids about now....). Now I know you coffee drinkers say " I need coffee to function" first thing in the morning but here's the kicker: Did you know a study that looked into exercise to 'wake up the mind' showed a 12% improvement on a cognitive test for those who exercised first thing in the morning as opposed to a 6% improvement for those who drank coffee first thing. I swear the data doesn't lie peeps, the facts are facts and I cannot refute them.... :) So why did I feel so awesome after exercise? Why did I also feel such a sense of accomplishment for getting out of bed and fulfilling that desire to do an early morning class that I had been delaying for so long?
Breaking an early morning sweat gives you a rush of endorphins, serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are vitally important for mood regulation. Dopamine enhances the feeling of satisfaction and motivates you to do the activity again. Whilst serotonin helps regulate mood, sleep and appetite. Both of these neurotransmitters are elevated post workout making you feel as though you can take on the world!
By making a conscious effort to commit to a task, you feel a sense of accomplishment. It takes discipline, routine and determination to make the effort and when your body realises how good you feel afterwards, you appreciate how the commitment is totally worth while!
Once you overcome the resistance of procrastination and take the first step, it empowers you to continue forward and makes your goals more attainable.
So what can you do to stop procrastinating?
Overcome the resistance and take the first step! This might mean bringing a friend along to a class...?
Reward yourself for your effort! (Lou and I are really good at this - hello new workout tights!!)
Be cognisant of your personality - some of us are perfectionists and it is these people who tend to procrastinate more as we want things to be idyllic before we commit.
Write your goals down - my husband works on the 3, 5, now theory; where do you want to be in 5 years? 3 years? and now? How can you make it happen? By breaking down goals into more tangible objectives, they become more realistic. Also, by writing them down, you are making a conscious effort to commit and keeping yourself more accountable. Has any one seen the classic Ryan Reynolds movie Van Wilder? His catch phrase was "write that down" - so pertinent!!
Finally, break them down. If you have one big goal that seems unobtainable, break it down into more achievable ones. If they are within reach, they are more likely to happen!
All right then - you've heard the science, you've seen my example now lets make it happen! What's the task that you have been delaying? (now we all have something we keep putting off.....even if its something as simple as the ironing - who actually wants to do that???)? What are you going to do about making it happen? No more excuses, no more validation, its time for an intervention - its GOING to happen!!