The Secret to getting yourself to do stuff
Do you often find yourself needing to give pep talks to your inner procrastinator about the need to simply “bite the bullet” and accomplish a certain task? Or constantly remind yourself that since you know what needs to be done, you need to stop putting it off and just get to it? Do you sometimes wonder if you are innately flawed in this particular area… or if you simply were not meant to be successful or thin or rich, etc.?
Everything you know about overcoming procrastination is a lie.
You don’t need more drive, accountability or motivation. This is the lie we have been told and continue to tell ourselves about accomplishing tasks. If this stuff was going to work it would have already.
Some years ago, Oprah Winfrey was talking about her reluctance to work out regularly and how she would continually procrastinate. Her life changed once she realized that the discipline actually comes from doing it. There is no amount of information, guilt, fear or external motivation that can compare to the power that taking just some, small level of action will have on our chances of taking more and then more action in that category. As Oprah so aptly put it…”The discipline comes from doing it!” Brilliant!
Try these strategies with your worst procrastination area:
- Give yourself some credit. Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished in other categories. Sure, you may be behind on your taxes or your TPS report, or perhaps you have not worked-out in six months—but it’s important to take stock of what you have done. Make a list.
- Sidestep your brain’s wiring. Our brains are wired to help us be consistent as part of our survival. Psychologist Dr. Carrie McCrudden explains that, “Our brain has a reward system and rewards us with a dopamine hit when we do what we have always done—even if the behavior is not that good for us.” Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. If we try to change our behavior or habits too dramatically, we will have to go without the dopamine and that will make us feel less good, or even bad.
- Pick the teeniest, tiniest possible first step. This is counter-intuitive and counter to our culture of accomplishment but try it anyway. Soon your brain will provide a dopamine hit for the new habit and that old pattern will be broken without all of the drama that you might have experienced trying to make big changes all at once. Nobody likes drama!
“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”– Leonardo da Vinci