How to Stop Procrastinating and Overcoming Laziness
I get letters all the time asking me, how can I stop procrastinating? I procrastinate, I self-sabotage, I put everything off, and I never get stuff done. I procrastinate and I just don’t leave enough time to finish things.
So I’m going to tell you some specific, really effective techniques, to stop you procrastinating. Let’s start right at the beginning.
Many of my clients have come in across the years with problems of procrastinating. You know what, they all go back to the same thing. A fear of rejection.
I’m gonna write this book, produce this article, do something, but inside, I’m really scared it won’t be good enough. And the fear of failing, the fear of rejection is so bad, instead of doing what I know I could do, I procrastinate and I never do it.
You know why you never do it? Because it’s easy to go, well, I could have, woulda, shoulda, written that book, written that play, being on stage, got promoted, gone after the job of my dreams.
But I had this problem you see with procrastination and so I never did it. That is less pain than going after my dreams, and they went, oh no we don’t want you, oh no we don’t like that, but oh no that doesn’t interest us at all.
So it’s a fear of failure, and a fear of rejection. And the fear of rejection is really powerful, because not that long ago we could die from rejection, if you lived in a tribe and you didn’t conform, and they banished you or cast you out, you might die.
And we have this primitive fear, I’ll die if I get rejected. No, you won’t, no you won’t. You’ll bounce back and be stronger than ever.
So, first of all understand what I call, what lies beneath, what lies beneath procrastination is nothing more than a fear of being rejected, a fear of not being good enough. And if you have that fear, you’re in very good company, it’s the most common fear in the world.
So now you understand, okay I’m lying on the sofa, watching netflix, I should be working on my business, working on my website, working on my tool, working on something I’m making, and I’m not doing it in case I get rejected.
And then you tell yourself the truth, you know what, the only person who can reject me is me, the only person that has the power to reject me is me.
And when you understand that you can’t really be rejected, on the days of dying from rejection went a long time ago years ago survival was a numbers game, you belong to a tribe, there’s a lot of you, you’re safe.
Today you can live in an apartment, get amazon deliver everything, never see a soul, and you won’t die.
So understand the fear of rejection, but how do you overcome it? Well that’s the first step, I’m doing this because I’m scared of rejection, but I’m actually now rejecting myself, I’m stifling my talents and shutting down who I am and I can’t be rejected.
The second thing is to recognise that your mind always does what it thinks you want, when you say it would kill me if I were to open a business and it failed, it would kill me if I put all my money in this product and nobody bought it, and you just don’t do it.
Procrastinate, and now you have to understand how to dial it, what you want in this, what you do you go I want this, I want it, I want it, I want it.
I have chosen it, chosen it, chosen it, and I have chosen to feel great about it. Those two sentences, I’ve chosen to do this, and chosen to feel great about it, and I want this, want this, want this will change your mind.
So you probably know that 25% of people who buy a membership to a gym never go, they plan to, they intend to, and they just don’t go, maybe they go once or twice then they don’t go again.
So you got a gym membership maybe you got the DVD in your living room, maybe you’ve got the exercise rope, and the exercise ball, and the die and the bands, and they’re all there and you’re not doing it.
So how can you make yourself do it? First of all you go I want to work out, I love working out, I feel so great when I’m working out, I’ve chosen to work out and chosen to love it, love it, love it, and that will get you to the gym, and then when you’re on the machine, in the class, say it again, I love this, I love it, love it, love it, want it, want it, want it.
I’ve chosen this and chosen to feel great. You see your mind really has no idea whether what you’re telling it is right or wrong, true or false, good or bad.
I used to work with very overweight celebrities, and I’d take them training with marines, and the marines would be running in snow, in mud, in rain and they’d sing a song, I’m a marine, bring it on, and the celebrities would go, oh no, you know, its too muddy, its too cold, my legs hurt, my knees hurt.
And you see they told their mind, I don’t want to do this. And the mind said, stop. But the marines told their minds I want to do this, I love this, I love running in cold and rain, and they did it.
Many of our clients say, you know, I go to a speaking gig and I was so terrified until you told me the truth, your mind cannot tell the difference between fear and excitement.
Another thing is oh god I’m so nervous, I’m so excited I want it, I want it, I want it. I have chosen it and chosen to feel great about it.
I love speaking on stage, I love getting to my boss with ideas, I love talking to potential customers, I love putting myself out there, and showing the world who I am, and what I have to say.
And you see its what I call lie, cheat, and steal. Lie to your mind, cheat fear, cheat procrastination, steal back the phenomenal confidence you were born with.
No baby is born going oh I love this crib so much, Ill just stay here, they can’t wait to get out they’re little escape artists, they’re always wriggling, and running, and jumping and moving, and when they go hey mommy, look at me in the pool, look at me on the slide, look at me on the swing.
Go and sit in a childrens park or playground, hang around the pool, and there’s a little kid going hey look at me, look at me, look at me, cause they don’t have procrastination, they don’t have fear of rejection.
The fear of rejection is acquired, procrastination is acquired. Anyone try to keep their kid in bed on Christmas morning.
I would be shocked, cause they’re out of bed at 5am cause they’re so excited, on their birthday, they’re excited, they don’t know what procrastination is, and that’s good news for all of you because it means you learnt it you acquired it, and guess what, you can reactivate, remanifest, regenerate, and recreate whatever that passion for life, you had as a little kid that would jump in a puddle and think it was exciting.
Go out in all kinds of weather and find everything thrilling and exciting be excited by storms, and rain, and sun and snow. You can’t keep little kids on the couch, they are balls of energy.
And you were born with phenomenal self belief, I want you to reactivate it, to remanifest it, to regenerate it now by using those magic words. I have chosen this, and chosen to feel great about it, I want this so if you’re lying on the couch, binge watching a series, say I’ve chosen to switch this off, to apply myself and I’ve chosen to feel great about it, to feel really really great about it.
And one more thing, which is very very important, human beings are wired to work for a reward. And then they feel great about themselves, as kids we know school says okay you do lessons, and then you get play time and that’s your reward.
Parents know to say, tidy your room and then you can have cake, finish your lunch and then you can go out to play. So small children do very well if they get the reward, as we get older we forget, we kinda go, oh I got all this work to do my favourite show is on, and we think I’ll watch the show and then I’ll do the work, I’ll eat a lovely dinner and then I’ll do that, and we don’t do it.
And what I find immensely helpful is to remind ourselves of the reward, I’m gonna make a yummy coffee, a great smoothie, and eat something yummy, but first I’m gonna earn that, I’m gonna make a few phone calls I don’t wanna make, look through my computer and do rid of stuff and earn that reward.
And when I come in at night like, ah my favourite show is on later, its something I love, billions, but first of all I’m gonna do something I don’t really want to do.
Make some calls, do some admin, and that’s my reward, when I finish the calls I’m gonna watch that show. And so if you can always give yourself a reward for something you’re going to do, you feel so great.
If you take the reward up front, you never feel you’ve earned it, you lie and say yeah I’m not really enjoying this show because in the back of my mind I’m gonna be like coulda woulda shoulda done that work.
I should’ve done that first, but if you do the carrot and stick, make three calls and then have the most amazing breakfast and make two calls and reward myself with some screentime, I’m gonna work on my website and do something important, and then sit down and watch my favourite show and really enjoy it because I’ve earned it.
Earn your reward, tell yourself I want this, want this, want this, I’ve chosen to work first, take the reward second, I’ve chosen to feel great about it. Lie, cheat, and steal. If you tell your mind what you want, I want to be motivated, I want to move forward to do things first, to acquire to weld and wire and fire in those habits of success until I feel like I’ve always had them, your mind say oh I can help you out here.
You go, I can’t be bothered with any of that, its too tiring, too hard, to boring, your mind goes yeah, watch more netflix, eat more potato chips, it does what you tell it, tell it better things and it will do better things. Your mind works for you, don’t work for it. I hope that helps you.