In my last blog post, I introduced you to my friend, Amy, the chronic procrastinator who wanted to attend nursing school but couldn’t seem to get herself registered for classes.
Today, meet Liz, another consummate procrastinator, who had a dream of writing a book but couldn’t seem to continue with the writing process she had begun months earlier. She had constructed an outline; drafted actionable steps to getting it written; completed the first couple of action items, and then got sidetracked by life. Every day, there was one distraction after another – a friend needed her and asked her to lunch, a potential client called and wanted to meet via the phone at the last minute, and she needed to schedule a doctor’s appointment. All were valid, but none forwarded her toward her goal. Ultimately, Liz’s avoidance revealed that she was procrastinating – and she hadn’t even realized what was happening.
After some careful review, Liz realized that there was a subtle issue getting in her way. To uncover the hidden challenge, Liz used my Reflective Process; a system of questions engineered to help dig deeply into the psyche to examine the underlying conversation within, and identify the limiting statement inhibiting action. Once Liz clearly identified her limiting statement, she was able to acknowledge its source and release it.
To use my Reflective Process, respond to each of the instructions below in writing.
- Have you clearly stated your goal in concrete and easy to understand terms so that a 4th grader could make sense of it? Define your goal in writing using a 4th grader as your audience.
- What are your reasons for accomplishing this goal? (fame, money, status, personal happiness, internal drive, passion, fun, revenge, contribution, someone said you should)
Don’t judge your answers, just be honest and write them down.
- How will it make you feel to reach your goal?
- What theme(s) are present in your answers thus far?
- Are your reasons in alignment with your values? How so? (Describe how your goal supports or represents your values.)
When Liz used the Reflective Process, she learned that her goal was clear and concrete, but the reasons to accomplish it were not in alignment with her values. Through this process she learned that her initial reason for wanting to write a book was because someone had told her she “should” do it to further her career.
At a deep level, Liz truly wanted to write a book, and she had a powerful message – but writing a book just because someone had told her to do so was not motive enough for her to start writing. Liz wanted to write a book to help others. Once she took the time to identify her internal conflict Liz was able to re-define her reasons for writing and her procrastination ended.
Try out the Reflective Process yourself. Focus on a project or action that you’ve been procrastinating on. Walk through the process. See if you can get clarity so you can move beyond what is inhibiting action.
If you need additional assistance, I have lots more tips and techniques for overcoming procrastination and eliminating obstacles. Email me at the address below.