“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step.”
Ancient Chinese proverb
The most common problem is procrastination: we all know what we need to do but still spend hours upon hours doing something easier, like household chores, or escaping reality by sleeping, watching TV, or being online. Even these small efforts can sometimes feel like we’re reaching for the moon.
Here, then, are 6 powerful tips to help you stop procrastinating and get you on the road to lasting happiness.
I would love to know if you found these tips helpful to get you started — or if you’re already on your way. Drop me an email or give me a call at 914-510-2882 and we can set up a time to chat. Good luck!
1. Don’t strive for perfection—strive for “good enough”
“Striving to better, oft we mar what’s well.”
Maybe you’re not sure where you are going. Maybe you don’t think your goal is worthy enough. So you think and think and think and try to come up with the perfect, fail-safe plan. You want to protect yourself so that you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never be rejected, and you’ll never feel hurt or have any difficulties. Except that the “perfect plan” doesn’t exist. So stop waiting for it. Go with a plan that sounds “good enough.” Remember that your plan is not set in stone. The best plans are the ones that adapt and change to meet with changing conditions. Embrace the change and when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
2. Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill
“Putting off an easy thing makes it hard. Putting off a hard thing makes it impossible.”
George Claude Lorimer
By overthinking and over researching you are not only trying to avoid making mistakes but also making mountains out of molehills. The more time you spend putting something off, the worse it grows in your mind. This makes a little thing into a 500 lb. gorilla threatening to ruin your life. So plan a little and then take action. Sometimes you don’t even need a plan because it’s something you’ve done before and you know what needs to be done. Stop thinking and just do it no matter how you feel about it.
3. Stay in the moment
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
When you start to look too far into the future, any task or project will start to look overwhelming and send you back to surfing aimlessly on the Internet. You can’t see the whole staircase anyway because it will shift and reveal itself along the way. So set your focus back to today, snap out of overthinking, and reconnect with the present moment. The simplest way to do this is to keep your focus on your breathing for a minute or two. Try saying, “come” on the inhale and “go” on the exhale. Let your thoughts come and go without judgment and try to stay with your natural breath. Welcome back to the present! Now just take the first step.
4. Embrace uncertainty
“Sometimes you’ve got to embrace the unexpected. The things we never saw coming often take us to the places we never imagined we could go.”
The good news here is that you don’t need to be certain what your passion is to follow your passion. Just do the best you can with whatever comes your way. Notice what life is bringing you and follow what interests you. Is it a course? A book? A place? A walk in nature? You don’t have to know where you are going. You just have to know what resonates with you. What are the themes in your life? What feels magnetic? Even if you don’t know what your passion is, there is still something that interests you. Start there. Start small. Trust your internal navigation system and embrace uncertainty.
5. Make a decision—any decision
“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”
What you do or fail to do always sends signals back to you about who you are. If you find yourself procrastinating, you automatically lower your self-esteem by signaling to yourself that you are weak and indecisive. The way to really build up your confidence and self-image is to take the confident action you want to take over and over again. Don’t worry about making a mistake. As long as you learn from it, it will still move you forward and build momentum. The key is to keep moving forward by making decisions.
6. Eliminate “should”
“A year from now you may think you should have started today.”
There are a lot of things you “should” do. But thinking about things in this way robs you of your personal power and makes you feel as though you aren’t in control. The truth is, you don’t really need to do anything. You always “choose” what to do. When you begin to think this way, you put yourself back in control and regain your self-esteem. So choose to start now and it will magically be easier to do.