Why do we Procrastinate on the Very Things We Want SOOOOO Badly to do???

Jun 5, 2017 | Blog

By trade, I’m a wellness coach. Health is not just something I want for myself…but it’s something I’m deeply passionate about helping others to reach. In some cases, that means creating an exercise plan. For others it means getting out of a toxic job that is sucking the life out of my client and into a role that makes them come alive (thereby making self-care more accessible).

No matter the pathway…the destination is the same. We are trying to head toward wholeness. Toward living a life that is in alignment with our core values.

Also…no matter the pathway…what I find to be almost hysterical in its universality is that every one of the people I speak with is highly motivated. I work predominantly with those who identify as being highly sensitive and/or introverted. Not only is this group typically motivated, therefore, but they are also deeply conscientious. They want to heal. They are willing to do the work to get there.  And here is the best part…they usually LIKE the work. But for some reason…any time people want to embark on this new change…this new task…something stops them.

Examples that come up with those I work with include:

  • I really want to get started on an exercise plan. I ENJOY exercise when I do it. But for some reason…as soon as I know I should be starting I find something else I really need to do FIRST. 
  • I like healthy food. I really do. And I don’t even find that THAT much more expensive. I just can’t seem to find the time to cook. 
  • Meditation? Love it. Even if all I can do is five minutes. I love it. But WHY CAN’T I JUST SIT DOWN AND DO IT!?!?!

I used to have compassion for this as it came up. Maybe not empathy. But DEFINITELY compassion. Any time I wanted to do a thing…I just did the thing. I might have stumbled and clawed around for a while. But I did the thing. I got help from others…sure. But I just got the thing done. 

And then I decided to start my own private practice.

Wouldn’t you know…the same exact dilemma started to come up for me.

It’s the wildest thing. I am completely at peace when I am writing for my website. I feel utterly lit up when I am speaking with my private clients. It feels like I am exactly where I need to be….doing exactly what I need to be doing.

But even so… I have one hell of a time sitting down to do the thing. 

What IS that?!?!

Why is it that we find ways to procrastinate in doing the very things we care so deeply about? We are motivated to do them. We have the capacity to do them. We have the knowledge we need to get it done. And yet…

From what I have gathered from my own experience, it seems to be broken down into two main things.

First – any time we are venturing into territory where we are reaching for what we want and not for what what another person wants…it is more challenge. Self advocacy is difficult. There is nothing to lean on except one’s own backbone. I’m more than happy to be the backbone for someone else. I’ll defend friends and family. And more recently I have gotten better at advocating for things I need. I need sleep. I need relationships. I need time alone. But my own practice? I don’t need to open my own private practice. I just really want to. So I’m making a case for myself to myself for a thing that is composed solely of desire (an intangible and ethereal force).

Second – no matter how much we are motivated or how much information we have…we also need to know and practice the evidence-based skills associated with success. Mainly, that means:

  1. Setting a specific and tangible goal week by week…day by day.
  2. Monitoring progress by keeping track of that tangible goal day by day.
  3. Arranging the environment so that its conducive to success (that can mean arranging one’s calendar as well as arranging one’s physical elements around them).
  4. Recruiting support from other people. It can be in the form of accountability from a coach or change partner, or it can be a loose kind of support (a cheery text message from a friend you have asked to help hold you accountable).
  5. Treating/Rewarding the positive behavior. We aren’t actually that much more sophisticated than puppies when it comes to behavior change. We need positive reinforcement.

I knew about the skills already (I’m a coach. Of course I knew about the importance of using skill-power). But I don’t think I quite realized the power of shame to disrupt my willingness to get really vulnerable and do a thing simply because I wanted to do the thing.

So now I’m aiming to make a commitment to myself. For myself. I want to commit to spending as much time on the health of my business as I spend on the health of my body. And vice versa. At least…I want to get to that in the long run. In other words – I want to develop more business fitness.

In the short-term…I simply want to make a commitment to complete at least one tangible thing every day in my business. Today, for example, I have connected with clients, and I have completed this blog entry. That’s two things. Tomorrow…I hope to do more of the same.

How do I plan to monitor my progress? Well…today, I am going to head to staples and organize that crap out of myself. I’m going to get a written planner (I’ve tried the electronic versions. I really wanted to like them. But this old fashioned girl just can’t get the swing of it. Why the f*** do I need to enter the location of every to-do list item in these e-calendars? Sheesh.

In terms of arranging my world…I think that is going to come down to figuring out how to navigate doing my work with this puppy I have adopted. I used to get up and start my business work first thing in the morning. But with Remi? Oh no. That’s not happening. She wants to get up for a walk NOW. She needs it. Otherwise my part lab, part Australian shepherd, part cheetah…puppy will bark me out of a condo.

But when I get home? I can have my desk arranged so that I can get started on work right away. No funny business. Just my business.

In terms of recruiting support…I have actually enlisted the help of a coach (even coaches need coaches).

And the reward? I think I want to try something light and silly. I want to try and find some stickers and place them on my planner each time I successfully complete the task. I never thought of myself as a sticker gal, but my niece is crazy about them. I’m planning on picking her up from school today. Maybe I’ll have her pick some out.

So that takes care of the skills section…but what about that icky part? That part about the challenge of self-advocacy? The part where I somehow justify to myself that I deserve to have time for myself doing things that I just want to do rather than only need to do?

I am justifying it in two ways.

First – I am passionate about helping this population of people. I cannot tell you how often I have started conversing about this topic (the topic of high sensitivity) and had another person say “Oh my God…THAT’S MEEEEE.” So many people fall in this category and don’t even realize it. Upon getting an understanding of what it is and how to practice self-care around it…their eyes light up. “Yes!” They say “You’re right! That does seem to help me. But no one else seems to get why.” 

So even while I enjoy doing this…and even though it feels like its just for me…it’s also for all those others. Those brave highly sensitive people who are finding ways to fully engage in the world and share the gifts that come with being more sensitive…but who also want to maintain some semblance of sanity and vitality along the way. I think many of them don’t even realize it’s possible.

Upon discovering that there was such a thing as high sensitivity, I know I felt an immediate sense of relief. Because I realized that I am not alone.

I want to help others realize the same. More importantly, I want to help them fully come alive.

What is something that you really want to do…something you know you have the capacity to do…but that you haven’t yet been able to start? What do you think is holding you back? What might your life look like if you took the leap and got started?