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> Back to Self-Care Excerpts List

Self-Care Excerpt from Don't Weight

Procrastination: the first of three tools to end it!

As I was writing this book, I kept putting off writing this section. I am not kidding. I am not making this up. I would scroll down the manuscript, see this section in red (which meant it was not finished yet), and then I would scroll right past. I did this at least fifty times! Then I said to myself, "this must be an opportunity for me to further explore the nature of, and possible solutions for, procrastination!" (Did you notice how I did not beat myself up, how I saw this as an opportunity to learn? I really do practice the skills I teach.)

Procrastination is a complicated topic. There are entire books dedicated to this one subject. I include this topic because procrastination is often one of the problems that gets in the way of healthy living and self-care. I want to give you the first of three ideas to help reduce procrastination.

1.) "Just Start"

Tell yourself to "Just Start". This concept is quite different than the usual message we have been taught to give ourselves. You know the phrase: "Just Do It(". That sneaker slogan is very familiar. Many people use this concept to force themselves to accomplish goals and tasks in their lives. If you use this concept, you will have a tendency to think of the entire task:

  • For exercising: You tend to think of doing your entire workout.
  • For walking: You tend to think of the entire mile or two.
  • For cleaning: You tend to think of cleaning all the drawers, the entire room, or the entire house.

There is a real problem with "Just Do It".

This type of thinking can CAUSE procrastination.

It is intimidating. Where will you ever find the time when you will be able to do the entire task? Even if you find the time, where will you get the energy for it all? I have a better phrase for you to tell yourself:

"Just Start!"

There is a big difference between getting yourself to DO a task and getting yourself to START a task. It only takes a moment to start. You only need a little energy to start. It is not intimidating to "Just Start". It is just a little thing.

  • "Just Start" your workout. Dress, pop your video in the player, and warm-up. That's all. Just start. Commit to starting, and you will probably enjoy doing the rest of your workout after you have started.
  • "Just Start" your walk. Get dressed and do the warm-up for your walk. The momentum will probably carry you through the rest of your walk.
  • "Just Start" your cleaning. Pull out one drawer, or one closet, or one corner. Just clean that. You may choose to clean something else after that.

There is one important condition when you commit to "Just Start":

After you "Just Start",
you MUST give yourself
permission to keep going
OR to stop.

I know. This sounds backward. However, if you always force yourself to keep going, then starting is the same as doing the entire task. You will find that you end up with the same resistance you had to forcing yourself to do the entire task. And that would be reasonable. If you always finish the task once you start, then "Just Start" would have turned into "Just Do It(". It seems odd to say giving yourself permission to stop doing the task will help end procrastination. But it is true. Take the pressure off. Once in a while let yourself stop after the warm-up, sometimes go home after only a few blocks, or only clean one small area and be done.

When you can choose to do the entire task
OR just do part of it, then you are free to "Just Start".
When you "Just Start", you just ended procrastination.

"Just Start" is the first of three unusual ideas for reducing procrastination. Good. New ideas have a good chance of making a difference. To reduce procrastination, you will hear more about the other three following ideas:

  1. Just start!
  2. Dangle a carrot or fill your gas tank, whichever you need.
  3. Add one more client to your list: that client is YOU.

Remember, you choose. You experiment. You assess the effectiveness of your choice. If it worked, enjoy. If your choice did not work, just try again with another choice!

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By Kelly Bliss M.Ed., A.C.E. author of Don’t Weight, Eat Healthy & Get Moving NOW!
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