Let’s get curious about procrastination, shall we?
Do you consider yourself a procrastinator? First of all, if you do, you might want to consider releasing that story and label for yourself. More about that below.
Secondly, how has procrastination shown up for you in the past? Maybe it looks like…
- You put things off until the last possible moment
- You avoid making a decision, whether it’s something simple like what to have for dinner, or as serious as whether or not you should leave a relationship or quit your job
- You tell yourself you need more information but then you never gather more info or you do an exhaustive amount of research that leaves you more confused and overwhelmed than before you started
- You put the same important item at the very top of your To Do list, day after day after day after day…
- You avoid thinking about the situation altogether and feel shame or guilt every time you remember it or someone brings it up
What does procrastination like for you? Write down all the ways that you procrastinate.
And then (this is the important part) sit back and look at your list without any judgement.
This can be tough and I’ll tell you why.
Procrastination is generally a form of resistance.
“What you resist, persists!”
Q: Who said this? A: More self-help gurus than can be listed here! The concept originally came from Carl Jung.
Examples of what we resist:
- A potential bad outcome. Maybe you fear something bad will happen when you finally take action. Like someone else might get upset and cause a confrontation.
- A potential good, in fact could be outstandingly GREAT outcome
- The potential of failure or making a mistake
- The potential for mind blowing success
- The potential loss of something
- Making the wrong choice (another flavor of failure)
- Being judged
- Being rejected (another form of judgement)
- Stepping into your power
All of the above can leave you with a foreboding sense of dread which can feel heavy, constricting or even painful. And so you resist that feeling and put things off. And then your resistance brings up your own stories about the situation.
And you might have noticed that not all of the above items are necessarily “negative”. Generally, I don’t like putting things into either positive or negative baskets. How you feel about success or failure is all a matter of perspective.
The very notion of your ultimate success might scare the pants off of you! On the flip side, you can view a past failure as the best thing that ever happened to you.
Either way, your perspective about a past situation is a story that you believe.
I like to say that You Live The Stories You Believe…
That means, if you believe the story, “I’m a procrastinator” then you will always look for and find the evidence to make that story true.
It becomes your own self-fulfilling prophecy. Attempting to go against that story will always bring up resistance because when you’re attempting to do challenges what you believe to be true about yourself.
So when you feel resistance, whether the concept is “good” or “bad” it’s time to get curious as to what’s really going on…
Generally in these stories, you’re either the villain or the victim. Plus, there can be a lot of judgement! “Why can’t I just make a decision about this? Ugh, I’m such a loser!” or “If I keep putting this off, I’m going to screw everything up and disappoint everyone.” or “Ack! I keep forgetting to take care of that. Shit. What’s wrong with me?”
Stories like these can stir up feelings of guilt in a massive way.
Ugh. Not fun.
But if you look at your list without the lens of judgement AND you get super curious as to what’s happening and why, you have a wonderful opportunity to shift your perspective and understand what’s really going on.
How to release procrastination
Try out this simple process — CURIOSITY, AWARENESS, WRANGLE
Yep, that’s a nice little acronym to help you remember . . . CAW!
Here’s what it can look like:
- CURIOSITY Identify how procrastination shows up for you: “I wonder how I procrastinate? What do I avoid doing or making a decision about?” Be curious without any judgement. This takes practice!
- AWARENESS Observe yourself in the moment whenever you can. Catch yourself procrastinating and again, get super curious about it: “Wow, that’s so interesting that I keep putting off applying for that scholarship. I wonder why? What might I be avoiding or resisting?” The more you do this, the easier it gets.
- WRANGLE your stories and release what no longer serves you: “If the old story is that I don’t think I deserve a scholarship, I choose to put that story aside and write a new one. I also release the notion that someone else deserves it more than me. And while I’m at it, I’ll also let go of the story that I’m just going to fail so why bother even trying. The new story I choose to believe is _____________ .
As a recovering procrastinator, I can share that ultimately my resistance stemmed from underlying beliefs that I wasn’t worthy. That story of unworthiness caused me to self-sabotage in many different ways, procrastination being only one of them.
Remember, this is your journey. You follow your own unique path. Use curiosity and awareness as the tools that will bring you closer and closer to your own heart and soul connection.
You’ve got this! The mere fact that you’re reading this is proof that your soul is calling you to transform.
Please share your questions and experience with procrastination below!