For those who routinely put things off to another day, procrastination jokes are not funny.  (You’ve heard the one about the author who planned to write a book about procrastinating but never got around to writing it).

We all delay getting things done from time to time, but people who habitually procrastinate tend to be very self-critical. When we coach individuals who describe themselves as procrastinators, they often report various internal persecuting self-talk, for example:

  • “I don’t know how to do it.”
  • “I don’t know where to start.”
  • “There’s no reason to try because I won’t get what I want anyway.”
  • “Coming up with excuses is easier than facing my fear of failure.”

With internal conversations like that, there’s no wonder getting past procrastination can be so challenging!

This is a great example of how the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™ can operate inside of yourself, persecuting you for not producing what you said you want.

When you procrastinate, your self-criticism and anxiety goes up.  To sooth your anxiety about not doing it right, (or whatever you tell yourself) distractions such as Facebook, YouTube, online games, shopping or eating when not hungry can temporarily relieve your angst.  With more distractions available today, it is no wonder that many people say that they feel like a Victim of their own procrastination.

When you get nervous about a situation and allow that anxiety to stop you, procrastination may be your reactive strategy or behavior.  This is akin to the avoiding characteristic that is part of the Victim mentality.  (When in the Victim role we often say to ourselves: “I am powerless here.  I will just stand back, disengage and not take responsibility for what is mine to do.”)

Learning to reframe and hold your focus on what you want will help shift your inner state toward passion and give you energy for action.  This is the role of the Creator in TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)®.  A Creator focuses on and clarifies what they want, rather than allow the procrastinating voice to win.

By shifting your focus from the problem of not getting something done, toward what you really want, the result will be a more positive inner state.  When you feel positive emotions, you are far more likely to want to get into action.

The key here is to give up knowing exactly how everything is going to turn out.  Needing to have all the answers, or understanding all the steps to complete a project, before you start, will stop you from getting into action today.

Another strategy to address procrastination is to forgive yourself for putting off what you say you want.  If you continually persecute yourself for what you didn’t do, you will never have energy for what you really want and taking action to create it.

We can be our own worst Persecutors, relentlessly consuming ourselves with negativity and demeaning self-talk.  Catch yourself when that voice arises, give yourself a break and switch your focus toward what you most care about.  You will immediately feel a shift in your inner state.  Even if it’s a slight shift, you will be on a new path.  That new energy will allow you to get past the procrastination and take just one Baby Step toward what you most care about.

And that’s the magic of Baby Steps we will write about next week.  Just taking one step, and seeing how it goes, will get you into motion and you will no longer be persecuted by the frozen energy of procrastination.