Self Sabotage – The Procrastinator & Why We Do It
This week’s blog is the beginning of a four-part series on the phenomenon of self-sabotage.
Are you always racing the clock?
Do you ride the edge of tension with deadlines and social engagements?
Do you tell yourself you perform better under pressure?
Chances are pretty good your self-sabotage specialty is procrastination.
Don’t feel bad, every single human on the planet struggles with this at some point.
When you feel overtired, stressed, and mentally drained, the last thing you want to do is finish your work, pack for your trip, or clean the whole house – so you put it off until later.
But eventually, later becomes now, and sometimes, it even becomes too late.
But when you find that later is always finding you with too much left to do, then it’s time to look to the cause of the problem and figure out why you always wait until the last minute to get things done.
Putting It Off
Research has shown that people who describe themselves as chronic procrastinators, also reveal higher levels of stress, anxiety, and even depression.
So, if you find yourself always giving in to the lazy feeling of putting off the things you know you’re going to eventually have to do anyways, the time is now – not later – to uncover why you keep leaving things and letting them pile up so you still have to do them, only with less time.
Ways To Retrain Yourself From Procrastinator To Proactivator
1. Recognize when you’re procrastinating – If you start an important task, only to stop immediately for a coffee break, or put off doing something until you feel motivated to do it, or even pack your schedule with other easier but less important tasks that you’d rather do… then you’re procrastinating.
2. Dig deep to figure out WHY – Dreading something because it’s hard work or not fun isn’t the real reason why you keep putting off the things you need to do. If you’re avoiding a task because you aren’t organized, then it’s time to look at organization strategies.
If you put things off because you’re afraid you won’t finish them perfectly, it’s time to look at the self-sabotaging beliefs behind perfectionism. Remember – Finished is always better than Perfect.
If you’re afraid that completing a job successfully will only come with the reward of more hard work and the expectations that come with success, then you need to look at why that success scares you.
3. Work on Anti-procastination – First, forgive yourself for your previous procrastination patterns and work towards the Get It Done mentality that will help you overcome them.
Commit to your tasks, create accountability by sharing your schedule with others and encourage them to check in on your progress, and set up a reward system for when you’ve completed something in a timely fashion.
Of course, the easiest way to not put things off is to do them as soon as they hit your To-Do list. Turn off all distractions and knuckle down by telling yourself that you choose to do it now, instead of you have to do it eventually. Give yourself power over the task, and crush it – before the deadline.
“A day can slip by when you’re deliberately avoiding what you’re supposed to do.”
— Bill Watterson
If you want to stop the self-sabotage and finally get out of your own way, the key is to understand why you’re doing it — what need is it filling?
Then apply a little creativity to identify healthier, happier, and more productive ways to meet those needs.
Here’s a simple guide to help you begin the journey of rewriting your self-sabotaging programming:
The cure is Self-Awareness
1. Inventory – Reflect back and get curious about your own self-sabotage.
- What does your self-sabotage look like?
- How does it typically start?
- Are there any unhealthy patterns?
By taking the time to reflect and notice any repeating patterns, you can more easily recognize when it’s time to take over and kick those traits to the curb. You can then take a moment to pause and get familiar with what’s happening in your mind and body – what’s triggering them, and how it feels physically.
2. Challenge – Once you’ve spotted your self-sabotaging habits, it’s time to challenge what they’re actually doing for you.
If you want to stop procrastinating, you first need to realize that it’s helping you deal with your own fear of success. If you want to stop over-committing, you need to recognize that it fills your need to feel useful by ignoring your own needs.
So ask yourself what your self-sabotaging habits ‘do’ for you – and then do the harder work of uncovering some underlying issues that you need to work through. Childhood trauma, feelings of inadequacy, even a pleasant life without challenges to build resilience can all lead to self-sabotaging behaviors.
3. Create a new pattern – This is the fun part.
Once you’ve spotted your negative self-sabotaging habits and rooted out the cause of them, you can do the fun work of making a new pattern, one that serves your end goals and helps you grow with confidence and healing.
Think about who you really want to be – and start aligning your actions to that potential. Use affirmations to help ease your negative self-talk, so the next time you find yourself turning to your old self-sabotaging ways, you can confidently choose your new, self-affirming solutions.
Here is my Affirmations Video for Success & Wealth that you can use to help stop self sabotage and put you in the right mindset to achieve all you want in life.
Finally Have Compassion
Most importantly, be compassionate. Old habits die hard and you will most likely find yourself falling back into old patterns. Just stop, recognize that you’re trying, and remind yourself of why these patterns didn’t actually work for you before – then give yourself the opportunity to do better.
Until next week,