07 May How to Stop Procrastinating and Start Doing What You Really Want to Do
The one thing that drives me crazier than anything else is seeing people waste their potential. And yet I see it every day: people talk about how they want to write a book or start a business or travel the world, or whatever, but that’s all the ever do — talk.
Most people distract themselves with the day to day and hope that someday, sometime, what they really want out of life will just happen.
But if you ask anybody who’s accomplished great things, they’ll tell you that that’s absolutely not the case — it’s not some sort of mystical process; anybody can do it.
Start by killing the friction
If you find that you keep talking about doing something but you never actually take action, the first thing you need to do is figure out where that friction is coming from.
For instance, it could be that you just don’t have the practical knowledge to get from where you are to where you want to be. Or it could be that you’re trying to do too many things at once and you never get past a superficial level with any of them.
Or maybe you’re holding onto an old dream that you don’t actually really want any more…but you’ve stuck with it for so long that you don’t really know what else to do.
Once you’ve figured out what’s causing you to hold back (and it could be a combination of several things), then you should systematically get rid of it all.
If you don’t have the knowledge, then use free resources or get a coach. If you can’t commit, then try to figure out what your passion really is, instead of your interests.
If you have outdated dreams, then think about what it is you really want, down deep — and not just “A big house with a lot of rooms in a posh neighborhood” — think about what’s underneath that.
By wanting that, do you really want a feeling of security, or a sense of accomplishment, or what? By figuring out your underlying want here, you can look for a new dream that still fits the bill and that you will actually want to work for.
Then get focused…
One of the most important things that you can do to stop procrastinating and doing what you really want to do is to say no to everything that isn’t that.
To do that, you have to be extremely focused.
Now of course I’m not saying that you have to lock yourself away in a tower and only focus on your passion and nothing else — we’re human, and that means we need a variety of experiences and interests.
But it does mean that you have to choose one thing that you prioritize over the others, and that you have to consistently prioritize it, even making it into a routine.
And get some momentum going
One of the biggest killers of action is overwhelm, and correlatively, momentum breeds momentum.
If you find yourself putting off doing things because all of the tasks seem so huge, try to break them down into tiny steps.
It may seem silly to put “Open a specialised Word doc for the project” or “Write the first paragraph” on your to do list if you’re planning on writing a book, but if you can start out by ticking off a lot of little things, then your brain responds to each little victory positively, building momentum that can keep you going.
Finally, check in regularly
Once you’ve got your momentum going, you should check in regularly, both with yourself and with someone else.
Checking in with yourself helps keep you on track — when you’re just starting out with a goal, you should set up some milestones or even scheduled times to stop, take a step back, and make sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing.
Checking in with someone else is crucial for your accountability, and it helps kill the temptation to skip “just this once” (which can totally derail your momentum!).
So although it’s been said before, you should definitely find an accountability partner — somebody who won’t let you slide and who you know you’ll feel comfortable regularly checking in with. This could be a mentor, a friend, or even a mastermind group, if that works for you.