Back in September last year, I wrote a post on how to stick to your plan.
In April this year, someone left me an interesting comment. It said, ‘yes but what if you are always procrastinating?’
The question resonated with me. Mainly because I used to ask myself the same question. I was the one not starting, always procrastinating. I was the person that didn’t go after what I wanted. I would think about pursuing my goals all the time, yet do nothing.
Often the hardest part can be getting started. If you are having trouble, here are some questions to ask yourself.
Work out what is holding you back
What is stopping you from getting started? It could be a multitude of things. There is usually a reason we procrastinate.
Are you afraid of failing?
Fear of failure is common. Most likely you may be thinking – am I good enough? What if I fail? What if my idea is not good enough? What if I start and don’t finish? If you are thinking remotely in this ball park, it could be good old fear that is holding you back.
The best way to overcome fear is by ‘doing’. Take a small step – achieve success (yes even a small achievement is good). Take another small step – more success.
Think baby steps, at least in the beginning. Building up your confidence will help deal with the fear.
I have written about fear a few times on this blog (mainly because I have to regularly deal with this emotion myself). Related posts are how to conquer your fear and don’t let fear win – instead kick its butt.
Ultimately, once you have gotten over your initial fears, you need to start thinking big. You need to KNOW you can achieve what you want. Fear will no doubt resurface as you work towards your goal but at least you will have some solid examples of success to remind you what you are capable of.
Are you waiting for something?
Perhaps you need more money to get your project started? Perhaps you need to line up partners or financial backing of some kind? If you are starting a business, these can be valid reasons for delaying your project. They can also be excellent avoidance tactics.
If this is the case, perhaps the question you should be asking yourself is – are you using waiting for something, merely as an excuse? All too often people use timing as a reason to never start. As we all know, if you are looking for an excuse not to try something, you can always find one.
Are you sure you know what you want?
Sometimes the problem is we are not sure what we want. We have a vague idea of what we want to do but no true direction or clarity. Vague notions will not be enough to give you a serious call to action.
You need a concrete idea or project to start working on. Fine tune your initial idea, so you know what it is you want to achieve. Remember, you can always pad out and build on your idea as you go along.
Do you want your goal badly enough?
Take for instance, you want to write a novel. But you are not prepared to sit down regularly and write.
Your thoughts may be saying you want something but your actions may be expressing something completely different. I don’t mean to sound harsh but maybe whatever you are not starting is not something you actually want. Maybe it is something you just think you want? Maybe money or fame is what you are chasing – yet the actual work to get there holds no appeal.
Perhaps it simply means you are on the wrong track and you need to find something you are more passionate about.
Are you committed?
Depending on what your project is, it may take a lot of hard work. While hard work can be fun at times, it can also be difficult and exhausting. Long hours, time away from family and friends, restrictions on your social life. It takes focus, determination and drive. If you are not fully committed to achieving your goal or plan, procrastination will easily take hold.
Are you willing to make sacrifices?
More then likely, achieving your dreams or starting a major project will take sacrifices. This may either mean some relatively small changes to your lifestyle or some big life-changing ones.
Either way you have to ask yourself the hard question – are you prepared to do what it takes?
Are you feeling overwhelmed?
Overwhelm is another common reason for not taking the plunge and starting. Your start-up to do list could look and feel overwhelming. Too much work? Too much to do? Too much preparation? Not sure where to start?
The easiest way to move past the feeling of overwhelm is to start. Again, think baby steps. Break the initial tasks down into smaller actions. Work through them in an organised manner. Write out a plan of attack. The trick is to get started. You don’t have to have all the answers right at this moment.
The key is to work out what is holding you back. You need to work out why you are procrastinating? Once you have worked this out, you can take the necessary action to break free and take the next step.
Moving forward is about being bold and brave. You got this!
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