“I have 30 prospecting calls I have to go through in the next two weeks and every day I found a reason not to do it,” complained my client Sarah about trying to build up her law practice.
“Everything sits ready in front of me, but I find every possible excuse to walk away, even if it’s just to reorganize my files.”
“I am determined to do the task but every day I don’t. If I don’t get to it soon, I’ll run into serious cash flow issues,” she worried.
“Are you romancing your bad habits?” I asked.
“The way you’re talking about it sounds as if you’ve created a story and now this story has taken on a life of its own. It’s controlling what you can or cannot do.”
“You say ‘every day’ but the truth is you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. You’re locked into not making these calls because the concept of ‘every day’ ensures you walk away from the task that you’re trying to accomplish,” I observed.
As I talked to Sarah, I realized her mind has come to a conclusion that she would have to remain that way because every day she didn’t do what she wanted. She was romancing this state of mind.
The narrative she created of not being able to prospect was like a love affair – destructive but addictive.
Every day, she would come back to her list of prospects with a hope for a better outcome, feeling like something was being done – even if it meant just thinking about it. After all, she invested so much effort into that relationship – daily worries about not getting clients… exhilaration at the thought of potential income she would get from making these calls… nagging guilt that another day had yielded no results.
“Would you be willing to end this love affair and let go of this relationship between you and your sabotaging habits?” I asked Sarah.
I knew exactly how she felt.
Doing taxes has been my Achilles heel for years.
I would find thousands of reasons not to do them until the deadline was looming over my head.
I bet you can relate…
We all feel resistance in our life, especially to completing tasks that we don’t like.
But here comes the good news. Yes, there is some. I’ll get to it… eventually.
Over the years, I’ve realized that the hardest part is to get started. Duh! Pretty obvious, isn’t it?
Here’s a light bulb moment.
Once you do, you will recognize that the task you’ve been trying to avoid for so long is actually not as difficult as anticipated.
In fact, avoiding it puts more emotional strain on you every day since you know you should do something, but you don’t.
The emotional cost of procrastination outweighs the discomfort of performing the task.
You feel like a failure, ashamed, and puzzled over your inability to get it done, yet you find “perfectly logical” reasons why not to. It’s like when you know you need to dump a guy you’ve been dating but you don’t, because you’ve invested so much time in this dance.
So what do you do?
First, ditch the guy. Like yesterday.
Second, split the task into shorter chunks.
It’ll position you for more success than expecting to do it all in one sitting.
To get my taxes done, I assigned 15 minutes a day for that task.
Completing just 15 minutes of accounting would give me a feeling of progress and satisfaction. I didn’t feel behind anymore.
As days progressed, those 15 minutes would turn into hours, because it felt so darn good to be on top of things. My taxes got done on time. My accountant loved me. I popped the champagne.
“You have to give yourself permission to do just two or three calls each day without anticipation of tackling all 30 at once,” I recommended to Sarah. “You might end up liking the calls so much, you’ll complete all 30 in no time at all.”
Procrastination affects us all. So without dragging my feet, I’m gonna ask you strait up…
Are you in love with the way things are?
Where is resistance showing up in your life?
Would you be willing to let go of your “lover” and be open to a different experience tomorrow?
Start by dismantling your story.
It usually starts with “I’ll never get it done…”
“It’s too difficult…”
“I don’t know how to do it; why even try?”
“I hate doing…”
“I’m not good at…”
That’s your story of yesterday. It doesn’t determine your future. Don’t get hooked on it.
Tomorrow you’ll fall in love with a “can-do” attitude. That’s the love affair you want.
Get going, my friend.