I’ve been a procrastinator since I was in elementary school. My favorite thing to procrastinate on at the time? Science fair projects. Remember those? I would come home from school and nervously announce to my mom that the project was due tomorrow and uh I hadn’t started on the paper or the tri-fold board thingy- do they still make kids do those or is it all digital now? Anyways, she would then proceed to freak out and I would cry and she would cry and then we’d get the glue sticks out and get to work. Usually, around 10 pm I would go to bed exhausted with the project unfinished and thinking I was going to fail but in the morning, I would wake up to a completely amazing project that my mom stayed up until 1 am finishing for me. Shh! don’t tell Mrs Keiser and yes my mom is a saint. You would think after doing that once I would learn my lesson, right? Wrong! I did this year after year and oh boy when they added history fair projects in 6th grade, my mom was really happy.
Fast forward to now and I no longer procrastinate on deadlines that involve others or important work deadlines but I do procrastinate on achieving my own personal goals like public speaking at events or healthy eating. I often get frustrated with myself because it feels like I am working so hard for someone else’s dream life but not my own. Can you relate?
As a life coach, I am really passionate about reading personal development books and according to Coaching with NLP for Dummies (Yes, I really read this, don’t judge), the author says that the main reason we procrastinate is because of a concept called secondary gains. So what’s this fancy psychology term? A secondary gain is the underlying benefit that you get from an unwanted habit so in this case procrastination. So if you are really being honest with yourself, why are you procrastinating? Are you scared that your paper is going to suck and your going to get an F and so by pushing it off, you don’t have to face your fears and you get to do something relaxing? Would you rather be binge watching Netflix instead of exercising because you’re exhausted from a long day at work and that feels like the only “me” time you get in a day?
What if I told you, you can have both? because guess what, you can. So here’s what I want you to do, I want you to identify what your secondary gain is and then I want you to schedule time to do that guilt free because heres the thing, we usually feel guilty about our secondary gains right? The whole time you are watching Netflix, you can’t even fully enjoy it because you’re like, “Ugh I SHOULD be working on my paper or I SHOULD be going for a run” so I am giving you permission right now, to let go of the shoulds. Let’s focus on the wants. Ok? Promise me you’ll do it and I promise I will too.
Lots of love,