A recent caller to my radio show began by telling me what a terrible guy he was— addicted to procrastination. He said he was paralyzed and couldn’t do any of the things he wanted to do. Of course, I immediately thought, don’t believe everything you think! Isn’t procrastination really just an illusion? You can stop putting pressure on yourself. You don’t have to do any of those things you’re worried about. The evidence is that you haven’t done them and you’re still here, aren’t you? If you really wanted to do something, wouldn’t you simply do it? Procrastination is one of those excuses, born of fear, that we use to keep ourselves stuck.
Let’s say that you now want to push past the illusion and get started. First, forgive yourself for doubting that you can achieve whatever you set out to accomplish. Give thanks for the wonderful gifts you are now ready to share with the world. According to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, acknowledged as one of the true giants of creativity, the way to get something done is to start it. The act of beginning an enterprise, no matter how small a beginning it is, ignites power. We’ve all had a brush or two with procrastination, but the story doesn’t end there. I have used such helpful tactics as putting a date on the calendar when my task will be completed, “assigning” myself to sit at my desk until the job is done, even checking myself into a hotel room and not allowing myself to leave until I’ve made the progress I need to make. Just getting started generates an energy and excitement that helps push you forward.
It also helps to surround yourself with people who are doers. Being around people who are active and engaged and willing to boldly begin generates energy, too. Stop the excuses you have come to rely on to explain why you don’t get the really important things accomplished in your life. The main reason you haven’t completed what you say you would like to is that you have refused to begin. All the excuses are just that, excuses. In your heart you know this is true.