I will stop procrastinating…. tomorrow
We will all be guilty of procrastinating in some area of our life, when it comes to exercise and nutrition, procrastination techniques become even more cunning. Even as an athlete I have become quite skilled at procrastination, and rebutting the butt becomes challenging, such as…. “BUTT I am tired, I need this nap instead of going for run, I deserve a nap, yea I do, I’m going to sleep, not train, great idea, listen to your body” hmmmmmm, Now in some cases this may be valid BUTT most of the time there is a good rebuttal, self dialogue goes something like: “ I can do a less intense or shorter duration session to lift my energy, I know I always feel better after training”
For anyone, fit, unfit, healthy , unhealthy, athlete, non-athlete, motivation levels will waiver, focus deteriorates and enthusiasm diminishes. In these ‘states’ it can hard to stay on top of nagging BUTTs that discourage you from taking action and inevitably achieving your goals. Lets explore why we procrastinate and what we can do about it.
Think about your mindset….
are you a perfectionist?
are you afraid of failure?
do you get overwhelmed?
is there fear of disapproval?
do you feel “you’re not enough”
or even have a fear of success?
All of the above will encourage procrastination, lets look at the perfectionist as an example. A perfectionists mindset will be centered around “ If I can’t do it perfectly, then I may as well not do it at all” … does this sound familiar? You stay on track with nutrition and exercise for a couple of days then you have a ‘slip up’ or miss a session, as a result your mindset says “oh well I haven’t done it perfectly like I should have so there is no point continuing to stay on track this week, its all ruined, I will start again next week”
Okay so now you have an idea as to WHY you procrastinate (by the way – laziness is another reason for procrastination but one of the above mindsets will likely be behind your laziness) lets look at ways to move forward.
1. Explore disadvantages and advantages to completing the task at hand
I’ll use exercise as an example.
What disadvantages could come from a training session?
– less time to complete work
– have to go outside when its cold / wet
What advantages could come from a training session?
fitness improvement / weight loss
stay true to my goal and commitment
feel better about myself
After listing the advantages and disadvantages, weigh up your argument and when the positives out weigh the negatives, you know what to do. The key to this is, be HONEST with yourself.
2. Take it one step at a time
“The moment where you have so much to do, that you decide you’re not going to do any of it”
When a task is overwhelming it can immobilize you. Write the task down, break it into to smaller tasks and give yourself a time frame to complete them. Often clients say getting themselves organised for the week with good food is overwhelming when they start to think about what to eat, when to eat, where, how and so on.
Step 1. Flick through your recipe books, choose two – 3 meals for the week (use extras left over for lunches)
Step 2. Write down ingredients for shopping list and add items that are you weekly essentials for breakfasts and snacks.
Step 3. Plan time to go shopping
Step 4. Plan time to pre-cook meals for the week / get organized
3. Make a commitment to someone
There are three main ways to make a commitment in order to achieve your health and fitness goals.
To yourself – write your goals down and read them regularly
To your trainer and/or nutritional coach – it goes without saying that this level of accountability will ensure you stay on track with results (for this to work you must attend all your sessions!)
To a friend, colleague or family member. Agree to a time and day to exercise together, keeping the commitment to each other with inspire both of you to stay consistent. (Note: Choose this person carefully, they need to be reliable)
4. Stay aware from the vampires
“Go on, one pizza won’t hurt you….” – No doubt you’ve been in this situation, if you’ve had a long stressful day, we all know what the result will be. The simplist way to avoid this is stay away from the people who seem to ‘nag’ at you to skip a training session or have a few too many treats. Not so simple? Set boundaries and expectation, help the important people around you understand what your goal means to you and why you want to exercise and eat well. By explaining to them that you will be a happier, healthier and more energetic person, able to enjoy your life, you are asking for thier support and raising the likelyhood of achieving your goals. It’s also an opportunity for you to inspire them.
Also worth mentioning is activities can act like vampires, draining you of your energy. Be aware of the things in your life that take away your energy to exercise and eat well. An obvious step is to remove yourself from these activites, but as life has it, this isn’t always in our control. Just be aware of the effect that certain people or activities have on you, then develop some techniques to help you deal with this, for example taking a 5 min walk on your own outside to rejuivinate. This will leave you less likely to procrastinate and then able move forward towards goal achievement.
In closing, remember that if you are procrastinating from a task there is generally a reason why, address the reason why you are procrastinating and the tasks themselves will unfold naturally.
With the above tools, you will set yourself up for success, towards a better life.