Procrastination: 7 Causes, 7 Cures
Does procrastination ever stop you from doing what you really want to do with your life? Maybe you have the
dream to get in better shape, go back to school, start your business or to start investing money in the future.
But you can always do it tomorrow right? But then tomorrow comes, and you don't feel like doing it again...and
so goes the sad saga of procrastination.
When does it end? If you've been wondering about this, here are seven causes of procrastination and seven cures
that will help you put an end to procrastination today and see major improvements to your personal development and growth.
Cause #1: No Written Plan
You've probably already heard that failing to plan for something is pretty much planning to fail. This is
because if you don't have a written plan to guide you step-by-step through something, you'll be paralyzed by
The writer Mark Twain once said: "The best way to do something great is to start now, and the best
way to start now is to make a written plan, break it into small steps and start on the first step now."
Not bad advice, and this is the first cure for the disease of procrastination: follow Mark Twain's advice.
Cause #2: Buying Your Own Baloney
Every time you tell yourself you're going to do something that you don't end up doing, you're lying to yourself.
But that's not the main problem...the problem is that most procrastinators really do believe that they ARE going to
take action....just not now. So they rest assured that if they don't take action now, there's always tomorrow. This
is a pitfall to people who want to attain success.
The cure for this is to stop believing yourself when you say: "I'll do it____," and to instead work
on a plan for starting right now to fulfill your commitment.
Cause #3: Approval Addiction
Many times, the problem with procrastination has nothing to do with not following through. Instead, the problem
is with making a commitment that you don't really want to fulfill just so that you can please someone else. It
might feel very good to tell someone yes, a very bad to tell them no. But if you end up going back on your
commitment later, you'll eventually burn your bridges with that person.
The cure for approval addiction is to exercise your "no" muscle. Practice saying no to things that you know you
won't follow through with. Don't say "I'll think about it" or "I'll get back to you," because this is just verbal
procrastination. Instead, get comfortable with saying no...and when you do, your "yes" will be much more
Cause #4: Perfectionism
This is without a doubt the leading cause of procrastination, and the hardest one to overcome. Perfectionism
causes you to delay taking action or to take forever to complete something because of constant revisions and
excessive planning. This kind of procrastination is based on fear that if something you do is not good enough, that
YOU aren't good enough.
The cure for this is to separate your identity and sense of self confidence from your performance, even when you
do something well. This will take the edge off of perfectionism and keep it from paralyzing you.
Cause #5: Too Many Options
You might have heard the saying: "if you chase after two rabbits you lose them both." If you're someone who has
diverse interests, you'll struggle with procrastination until you learn to make and cultivate a certain degree of
selective ignorance in your life. Too many options can cause you to get stuck in analysis paralysis and never get
around to focusing on one thing only.
The cure for this is to sit down and write down all the things that are most important to you, and to start
focusing your attention only on the things which you have time and energy for. Chances are, if you do this and get
to work, you'll have time to the less important things later. If not, at least you'll have done something instead
of being paralyzed by too many options.
Cause #6: Indecisiveness
If you're in the habit of saying: "let me think about it." Or of doing hours and hours of opinion seeking before
coming to your own decision about something, you've fallen into the habit of indecisiveness and it's time to get
rid of it before it takes your dreams from you. One of the most common character traits of highly effective and "lucky" people is that they are decisive and
not influenced by the opinions of others.
The cure for this procrastination is to develop a state or set of criteria by which you can make all your
decisions: decisions about your health, career, relationships and your finances. Having a long-term vision will
help you to build decisiveness by asking yourself the question: "Which will be the best decision for helping me
reach my long-term goal?"
Cause #7: Sheer Habit
Too many people buy into the myth that procrastination is character trait which is somehow "in your blood." In
reality, procrastination is nothing more than a habit -like any other habits that can be broken through consistent
repetition of more preferable behaviors. If you've fallen into the habit of procrastination, it's likely that there
are patterns in your life with this habit.
The cure for this is to develop all of the following habits: always have a written plan for something you want
to achieve, acknowledge that now is the only time you can ever live in, get rid of perfectionism and accept that
failure is a natural part of the learning process, focus on a few key goals and trust in your own wisdom instead of
being swayed by the opinions of others.
Now you know what you need to do...don't think about it... ...just get started.
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