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Three Ways to Fix Your Procrastination Problem...Right now!

Procrastination is one of the biggest problems people come to me for help with. Even when they have great ideas, create detailed plans and set clear goals they still often run into the problem of putting off doing anything to make those ideas, plans or goals a reality.

I feel that problem in my soul because there was a time in my life where I was the ultimate procrastinator. I've always had creative, unique ideas and the ability to plan them out and set some really kickass goals based on those plans. I mean Kick. Ass. Goals.

However, there was a time in my teens and early to mid-20's that I also had the uncanny ability to come up with ten thousand reasons why now wasn't the time to get anything going on any of them. A few of my favorites were: "I'm just way too busy. I don't have time for that." and "That's just way too much right now. It's too hard and I won't be able to get it done." and the ultimate nonsensical excuse "That's going to take way too long to get done."

I had a bunch more, too, including specific nonsense for specific situations but those were the go-to b.s. I told myself regularly.

So what happened in my life was that I did very little of any of the truly exciting, fun and fulfilling (and potentially lucrative) things that I had floating around in my mind. I watched as other people came up with the same or similar ideas and brought them to reality and I talked about them a lot. "Man, what a bummer! I had that idea like 2 years ago and now look at those guys doing the exact thing and killing it!"

News Flash...ideas don't get you money or anything else if you never do anything but dream about them.

I still worked and did quite a bit. I enjoyed my time with my friends hiking and camping and playing a lot of golf, I was 1st assistant PGA pro at a municipal golf course, I taught golf, I trained dogs and I coached at-risk inner city kids so I did a lot. It's just that I could have done so much more.

One of my favorite lines from any song is from the song "Round and Round" by Tevin Campbell and it goes "Nothing dreamers but dreams. Sittin' idle in a boat while everyone else is down the stream. Nothing comes from talkers but sound. We can talk all we want to but the world still goes around and 'round." Young Mr. Campbell dropped that line in 1990 and it stuck with me immediately but it took me the better part of 5 years to really realize what it meant and to, more importantly, internalize its message.

Once I internalized that message I started to figure out why I was doing what I was doing and at that point I was on the road to getting it put in my rearview mirror. So, if you're a procrastinator I feel your pain and I'd like to help you, right now, get on the path to putting procrastination behind you, too. Here are three things that will help you stop putting things off. 1) Make sure your "Why" is big enough.

When you have something in your mind that you want to do it's important to determine why you want to do it. Dig deeper into the idea, plan, goal or action. Determine what you will get from it once it's completed. What will you get from it while you're in the process of doing it? Who will be impacted? How will you feel while you're doing it? How will you feel afterwards? Will that be the end of that thing or will that be the first step that facilitates another and another? All of these questions need to be answered to determine if your "Why", the reason you want to do whatever it is you're thinking of doing, is big enough. Your "Why" should pull you forward toward it. It should make it impossible not to do it. Once your "Why" is big enough it changes from something you want to do into something you need to do. 2) Make it more unpleasant for you to NOT do your thing than it is to do it

Often at the root of procrastination is the idea that doing whatever is in our heads is going to bring us more discomfort than not doing it will. We think "Sure it's a great idea but what a pain in the butt it's going to be to (insert actualizing steps here)." so we talk ourselves out of it. However, our Ego doesn't want us to feel like we're quitters so instead of just saying "Meh, I give up on this." and forgetting about it, we just postpone it. We put it off until some unknown and usually non-existent time in the future so that we don't have to take the self-esteem hit of "becoming a quitter". Now there are a ton of flaws in that whole thought, action and reaction process and the underlying belief system that supports it but for now we're going to focus on just the one aspect, which is to find a way to make not doing your thing more unpleasant than doing it seems to be in your mind. Think of who will benefit from you doing it. Who will your action make better? Wife? Kids? Co-workers? Or is it a larger group that will be impacted, like people in your neighborhood, city, country or even the world? How will they be impacted if you do not do your thing? Will their lives continue to be the same or get worse? How will missing out on the benefit of your actions impact them? Would their lives be much better if you did your thing? How much of a difference could you make by acting? How will not acting make your life better? Will your circumstances change? (think of your "Why") How will they change? What will those changes look like? How will they feel? Would you enjoy the circumstances of your life more after doing your thing? What will you be able to do then that you can not do now? How will you feel about yourself if you do your thing compared with how you'll feel about yourself if you don't? Will you feel like you've let yourself down (maybe again)? Will you regret not being able to help your family live how you want them to live? Will you regret not being able to see the improvements that come to the lives of people from your thing? Are you able to live with all those negative feelings and thoughts that come from not doing your thing? Does the relatively minor inconvenience of actualizing your thing outweigh all those negatives? If so then your "Why" isn't big enough and you will find more comfort in doing nothing than in doing your thing.

3) Countdown to action and move!

The last one is the simplest of all. Think about your first step. What's the first thing you need to do to begin actualizing your thing? Are there steps before steps? Determine what the very first thing is; the smallest possible thing you need to or can do to bring your thing one step closer to reality.

Is it getting up and writing down a brainstorm session? Is it writing a general outline? Can you draw a diagram? Do you need to reach out to someone for information? Do you need to find a phone number to enlist someone's help? Do you need to write your pitch?

Find the smallest *first* step you need to or can take. It must be the smallest thing you can do to get the ball rolling.

Once you have that solidly, precisely and clearly in your mind, give yourself a countdown timer starting from 5 going to 0 and when you hit 0 you do that first step. Don't think about it, DO IT! 5...4...3...2...1...0 get up, get that number and call that resource for the information you need to bring community housing to homeless veterans, get up and grab a pencil and diagram that million dollar idea onto a sheet of paper, focus and rock out a brainstorm session that will help you see your path to starting your first small business. These are all things that I've done after giving myself a countdown timer. Things that may have slipped past me if I hadn't brought things to a simple point of Do. Something. Now. however small it was. After the first step the second is easier, and easier still for the third and so on.

Applying these three steps to your mindset will make it easier for you to make procrastination a thing of your past. Now that's not to say that the acts themselves, your specific thing that you're doing, will be easy or made to be easier. As we've all probably heard countless times before, the best things in life aren't easy. What will be made easier is the initial act of getting going on your thing, whatever your thing is. Good luck! Get up and try one of these right now!

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