Help I’m Stuck! How to Stop Procrastinating and Get Back in the Game
We all put things off. Whether it’s starting an exercise program (again), getting a job search underway or just cleaning out your closet, taking that first step can be daunting. You want to get going, but something holds you back.
That something can be anything from laziness, to fear, to not knowing where to start. Whatever the reason, there is only one antidote. Take Action! You’re probably thinking, easier said than done. I hear you, but if you don’t do something, you’ll just stay stuck.
You don’t have to be motivated or inspired to take action. All you need is commitment. You can wait until you’re good and ready or… you can just do it. No magic, no shortcuts. By making it more complicated than it needs to be, you have a great excuse for staying stuck.
Start by zeroing in on a specific goal, for example, starting and maintaining an exercise program. Next, on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being least important and 10 being most important, give it a rating. The higher the rating, the more likely it is that you'll stop procrastinating. A rating of 5 or less is a lower priority, which may explain your inertia. Putting lower priority goals on the back-burner frees up energy for higher priority goals.
But what if starting an exercise program is a top priority and you’re still stalled out? Start by layering in accountability. The first layer consists of carving out time for exercise and entering it in your calendar. It's official, you've now made a commitment to yourself. Treat it as you would any other commitment. Be responsible and show up!
The next layer of accountability is enlisting the help of others. Choose a trusted friend or family member to be your exercise coach. This significantly increases the likelihood of success. Ask for support in holding you accountable to yourself and to your goal. This can be done by giving him or her a progress report on a regular basis. Ask your coach to offer encouragement and not to scold you in the event of a lapse. You are now part of a team. Maintain this strategy for as long as you need it.
The last layer of accountability is building in rewards. You earn rewards for using your credit card, why not reward yourself for achieving your goals? A reward can be anything you value such as a special activity, something you you've been wanting or just some time to yourself. Point systems can also be very effective in helping you stay on track. For example, give yourself one point every time you exercise and when you've earned ten points, redeem them for a reward.
Finally, maintain your commitment by remembering what it was like when you were stuck. New habits take approximately sixty days to become second-nature so be patient, it will get easier. You can apply these strategies to any goal by tweaking it accordingly. So be uninspired…but take action anyway. Be afraid…but take action anyway. Be lazy…you get the idea. Once you've taken that first step, you're on your way.