Overcome Procrastination with Compassion, not Anger

By the time people come to me, as a life coach, they are often at the point of intense frustration, anger, anxiety and/or overwhelm and resignation.

Whatever it is they’re trying to do doesn’t seem to be working and they are often desperate for an answer.

The good news here is that there is an answer and it is always: have compassion for yourself.

Lets take procrastination as an example:

Coaching client: I just can’t get myself to focus, what’s wrong with me? I shouldn’t find it so difficult to get some basic life admin done. I need to fix myself, quick!

Me: What if there’s nothing wrong with you, what if this is normal?

This is typically how a session might start. What if procrastination is simply normal human behaviour and nothing to get upset about? Once you can begin to understand it, accept it and be compassionate with yourself about why you are struggling to take the actions you want to take, you can then start to move forward.

So here’s the truth of it:

  1. Our brains don’t like doing new or difficult things
  2. Whatever it is you are procrastinating over is either new, or difficult in some way
  3. Your brain therefore warns you not to do it – “this is hard, why not sit on TikTok instead”
  4. Most of us listen to our brains and decide not to try. This soothes our brains and we get a nice feeling of ease, albeit temporarily

The point here is that THIS IS NORMAL. There is nothing wrong with you for going through this pattern of behaviour and it is nothing to get upset about.

Ok, but what can I do about it?

Well, if you do want to break through your pattern of procrastination I would urge you to start looking for the pattern outlined above and start to identify where you could make an intervention.

Perhaps at step 2 you could start to identify what it is you are finding difficult about the task – maybe you don’t have all the information, maybe it is tedious and boring, or maybe you’ve done it before and didn’t get the results you wanted? Identifying the issue goes a long way to coming up with a solution, using your rational brain, instead of through anger or force.

Or at step 3 you could have a word with your brain and say “thank you for warning me, but I know it is hard and may be uncomfortable, but I would actually like to get on and do it anyway”. By acknowledging your brain’s concerns instead of trying to fight them, you can get a much smoother path through to completing the task.

But the VERY FIRST STEP is to:

  • Look for the pattern
  • Understand the pattern
  • Acknowledge this is human and normal and nothing has gone wrong

Have compassion for yourself and the rest will follow.

Need some help with this?

If this resonates with you, but you’re finding it difficult to identify the pattern in yourself or what interventions to take then get in touch, as I know I can help you figure it out

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