Procrastination is the one common thing that stops most people from taking action. You know you need to work out and exercise if you want to keep your body fit and slim, yet, you choose to procrastinate and not do it. Basically, we all know what we need to do to achieve the results we want, but because we procrastinate, we often fail to get what we want in life.
The difference between someone successful and someone unsuccessful is that the successful person feels and looks at things differently.
One person treats exercise as something fun and exciting, but another can look at it as something painful and difficult to do.
And it all depends on how you think about the task or work you’re going to do, when you look at it from a painful perspective, it is hard to execute, and you will procrastinate.
But if you look at it as something fun to do or something that you love doing, highly likely, you will do it and you won’t procrastinate.
Therefore, it is all about managing your thoughts and how choose to look at things.
Take Arnold Schwarzenegger as an example. Working out in the gym every day is difficult and painful to many, but not Arnold. This is what he said about working out…
“The only way to be a champion is by going through these forced reps and the torture and pain. That’s why I call it the torture routine. Because it’s like forced torture. Torturing my body.
What helps me is to think of this pain as pleasure. Pain makes me grow. Growing is what I want. Therefore, for me pain is a pleasure. And so when I am experiencing pain I’m in heaven. It’s great.
People suggest this is masochistic, but they’re wrong. I like pain for a particular reason. I don’t like a needle’s stuck in my arm, but I do like the pain that is necessary to be a champion.”
Rewire your brain and reframe your mind to overcome procrastination
As you can see, it is all about how you think, your perspective, that truly matters.
Take writing as an example. Some people love writing so much that they can spend their entire day sitting in front of their computer chunking out words.
These people love to write and share their thoughts. And they will not procrastinate when it comes to doing the things that they love – writing.
On the other hand, there are people who hate to write. They find it something challenging because they always run out of ideas and look at the blank screen without typing.
Like what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, you have to look at the work/task as something rewarding, something fun to do, and something that you will look forward to doing.
I have been writing and publishing articles on this blog for more than 2 years. And I keep doing so every day. I love it.
Why? The reason is that I don’t look at it as something boring. Instead, I choose to look at it as something fun where I get to share my ideas with my readers, with you.
So, every time when it is time to write, I don’t feel mundane or look at it as a painful process.
Plus, I’m working full-time on this blog right now. Hence, it makes me feel that what I’m doing is impactful. I’m inspiring others to pursue their goals and dreams. And that is why I created my own course, Goal Setting Formula.
Besides, I don’t think writing articles as something painful. It is not something difficult to do or something that is really hard as compared to other hard labor such as construction workers who have to work under the hot sun.
Therefore, I feel proud that I’m able to work from the comfort of my home and sharing my ideas to help and inspire others.
How to rewire your brain to beat procrastination
Now that you know it is your thinking that makes you procrastinate, so what you need to do then is to reframe the way you think.
Here are a few ways how you can do so…
1. Stop catastrophizing
First, stop catastrophizing the matter. No matter what task or work you need to get done, don’t make a huge deal out of it. Don’t tell that it is something difficult to do, something boring, or something so painful that you will want to avoid.
Most people procrastinate because they treat the action as something painful. And the first step to overcome procrastination is to get rid of catastrophizing the matter.
The thing is that challenges, boredom, and hard work cannot kill you. I know it is difficult to work at something that you think is painful, but it will not kill you.
Hence, tell yourself something like, “This may not be my favorite task, but I can get it done.”
Remember, overcoming procrastination is largely about managing your thinking. How you think makes the work/task easy or difficult.
2. Take one small step
Trick your mind into taking just one small step, right now.
They are all the same. These techniques are meant to trick your mind into taking small action steps so that you will put yourself into the action momentum.
For example, if you need to write an article of 2,000 words, it may take you 2 to 3 hours to do so. It is a huge and difficult task, right?
But you don’t have to tackle it all at once. You can break down the task by writing just 100 words. Just take one small step and start small.
The key is to make the action as small as possible so that you can work on it right away. You want to get yourself into the action momentum and once you have gained the momentum, it is easier to write then next 100 words, 200 words, and so on.
What if you always procrastinate on making sales calls? Well, commit to doing just one call. Yes, do just one call.
The key is to put yourself in the mood. Once you started calling, you switch-gear and go from stagnant to action. And the drive will come.
Thus, take just one small step right away. Remember these wise words from Lao Tzu:
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
3. Make it fun
Yes, make it fun. If something isn’t fun or exciting, you will never want to do it. Think about it, why do you think some people are able to wake up at 5 AM because they want to watch a football match?
There are also people find it hard to wake up early to get to work, but when it comes to playing golf, they are able to wake up early to get to the golf course.
As what Arnold said, he looks at pain as something good because pain gives him growth. And whenever he experiences pain during his workout sessions, he feels great.
Hence, reframe your thinking and make your work something fun. If it is not fun, then find a way to make it fun.
There is a word called “gamification”. And I have seen many businesses applied this technique to boost sales.
One example is where people use lucky draw or something like a “fortune wheel” where you can spin the wheel and try your luck to win gifts and coupons. It helps increases transactions and sales because people find it fun and they wanted to take part.
So, how can you make your work fun? Be creative and gamify your work.
4. Give yourself an irresistible reward
This is the carrot-and-stick method of overcoming procrastination. And it works. If you want to learn more about pain and reward system, read this book from Daniel Pink called Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.
Sometimes, the work can be boring and painful to do, and you can’t seem to find a way to make the process fun. So, what you can do then is to give yourself an irresistible reward for completing the work.
For instance, if you like to play games, use it as a reward for getting your work done. After you have spent an hour or two completing a difficult task, reward yourself with 30 minutes of game time.
The key is to make the reward something you really look forward to achieving.
If the reward is not something you want, you will never have the drive to work on the task.
So, what kind of reward do you love to have? What do you look forward to achieving? Make them your reward.
5. Think about your “why”
Another method to rewire your brain to overcome procrastination is to think about your “why”. Why do you want to do the task in the first place?
People who procrastinate tend to focus on short-term pleasure like avoiding the stress and doing something more pleasurable, but they don’t focus on the long-term gain, like achieving their goals, etc.
Ask yourself, what are the benefits you will get if you complete the task now?
If you are a blogger, writing and publishing a blog post may not give you any reward in the short-term, but in the long-term, there are plenty of benefits you can gain from it.
Procrastinating your goals and choose to do something convenient may give you the pleasure in the short-term, but in the long-term, you will feel the pain of regret because you choose to enjoy now and suffer your future.
Therefore, focus on your “why”. Think about why you want to do the work or why you want to achieve the goals that you set in the first place.
I bet you want to live better and achieve greater success in life, but these things will not come overnight. This is why it is easy to procrastinate and do something more comfortable like playing games and watching movies.
So, never take your eyes off your purpose. Focus on your “why” and keep the reasons in your head all the time.
6. Ask better questions
We can change the focus of our mind by asking questions. When you ask yourself why you’re so unlucky, your mind will work on that question and give you the answer. Like Google search engine, you get what you search for.
Thus, learn to ask better questions. Instead of asking why you’re so unlucky, ask yourself why you’re so lucky. And trust me, your brain will search for the answers and they will make you feel good.
When you are facing difficulties, don’t ask yourself “why me”, instead, tell yourself, “try me”. When you do this, your perspective changes and so with your mood. When your feelings change, it will be easier to focus and do the right thing.
Apply this principle to overcoming procrastination.
Ask yourself better questions and talk to yourself in a positive statement to boost productivity.
Instead of saying, “I have to do this”,
Replace it with, “I choose to do this”.
Instead of saying, “I must finish this”,
Replace it with, “Where can I start”.
Instead of asking, “Why is this so difficult”,
Replace it with, “What if the one small thing I can do now?”
Instead of thinking, “I will never have enough time”,
Replace it with, “I must make time to play”.
Change your thinking and you will change your reaction. Change the way you think and you will change your life.
So, ask better questions and use better statements when you talk to yourself.
If you want to get rid of procrastination, you must change your thinking. Reframe your mind to think that the task is something fun, exciting, and something you really look forward to doing.
People will never procrastinate on something that they love doing. Hence, learn to be passionate about what you need to do. Switch your thinking and make yourself looking forward to doing the work.
And if you need more resources to help you beat procrastination, read this book, The Now Habit, written by Neil Fiore.