What's stopping you? - Procrastination

EP7 What's Stopping You?

All smokers know they need to quit smoking. All students know they need to do their homework in order to pass their degree. Sally knows that exercise is going to be great for her and has made a commitment to start getting fitter.

So why is it that we don't always do the things we know we need to do, when they need to be done? Who or what is stopping us? It's called procrastination.

Let's go back to Sally. She's feeling more positive about her goal of getting fitter because she's changed her associations and created a new empowering belief that, 'exercise is great for her.' On Friday she's really excited because next Monday is when it starts. She's going to get up early on Monday morning and go to the gym. All weekend she's feeling really excited and happy and she’s even telling her friends about it. But then Sunday night, that voice inside her head comes back and starts planting the Seeds of Doubt. It starts feeding her stories, such as, "it’s going to be cold and wet tomorrow" or "you're not going to get your normal amount of sleep" or "you haven't got all the gym clothes to feel comfortable." So Sunday night before she goes to bed she's setting her alarm and she says to herself, "I'll see if I get up."

Monday morning comes around, the alarm goes off early and what does Sally do? She hits the snooze button!

So what happened here is Sally’s subconscious mind was in charge when the alarm went off. Remember that the subconscious mind, that voice inside Sally’s head, is there to protect her from pain and keep her comfortable, and what's really painful and uncomfortable early on a Monday morning, is getting out of bed!

What Sally’s done here is a classic case of procrastination. Procrastination is when we defer something that's really important to us and we’ve already decided we know we need to do. It’s when the pain of doing something, exceeds the pain of not doing it, so we put it off.

The really important insight here for Sally, and for all of us, is to remember that the subconscious mind is programmed to protect us from immediate pain. What this means is, we will instinctively procrastinate to prioritise short term comfort and immediate reward, over sometimes difficult, but really important steps to achieve our goal.

The importance of exercise in Sally’s life and the positivity achieving a goal is really clear in Sally's mind now. But what she hasn’t done is work out a way to deal with hitting the snooze button when the alarm goes off.