January 11, 2018

How to Stop Procrastinating: 7 Powerful Steps To Stop Procrastinating And Pursue Your Passion

 

You’re ready for a life change. You know the Lord is calling you to do something different with your life. Not just like buy a new bible or pray a little bit longer or try that new Sunday school class.

No, He wants you to do something big. Radical. Scary (yikes). And he’s been wanting you to do it for a while now…like maybe even years. But your too scared to jump out there in faith and start whatever it is that he’s been wanting you to do.

So you procrastinate. You let everything including the kitchen sink (hey the dishes have to get done, amirite?) get in the way of following God’s plan for your life (ask me how I know).

Every time the Holy Spirit starts poking prodding you to start the project ( in fact that’s what we’ll call it throughout the duration of this post, the project) you’re all ” is this really what I’m supposed to do? If only I could get a sign”

And because no clouds roll back like a scroll, no dove descends upon your shoulder, and no booming voice from heaven proclaims “yes my child this is exactly what you must do. Go forth and use thine talents in the name of the Father Son and the Holy Spirit” you act all brand new like you aren’t sure your really being “lead” or not.

Well, lets establish something.

If the project is challenging, outside of your comfort zone, scares you a little (or to death) and it will glorify God and serve people, it’s prolly God’s will.

Well…shoot.

Trust me, I feel your pain.

 

So now what. You’ve got big scary project staring you in the face, haunting you at every step but you can’t seem to take that next step to actually doing it. You procrastinate and put everything before this project but I’m here to tell you something.

You are reading the words of the queen of procrastination. I’ve been “working” on this blog for the past 2 years (yeah, i know, it’s completely ridiculous) too terrified to hit publish on my first post. And yet here you are right now reading it.  So if there’s hope for me then I promise there’s hope for you.

But how? I hear you ask. Well that’s what this post is all about . I’m going to show you how I’ve gone from the queen of procrastination to the girl that (sometimes) says let’s do this!

 

What Is Procrastination?

But first let’s look at the definition of procrastination so we are all on the same page. Dictionary.com defines procrastination as such:

“The act or habit of procrastinating or putting off, or delaying, especially something that requires immediate attention.”

Pay extra attention to the words like habit and immediate attention because I believe this really highlights the meaning perfectly. The habit of delaying something requiring immediate attention is exactly what I’ve been known to do for years.

Wouldn’t you say that something the Lord wants you to do requires immediate attention? Yet, I’ve put the Lord off for 2 almost 3 years. Procrastination of this magnitude and duration weighs on you heavily. Procrastination can even start to affect your health which the main reason why I’m discussing it on a blog about health.

Let’s go over the ways in which procrastination affects your health.

How Procrastination Affects Your Health

Physically: Procrastination leads to stress and stress leads to: sleep issues, lower immunity, headaches, backaches, and even heart disease and high blood pressure. Also when you have a high level of stress you are more likely to engage in substance abuse like drugs, alcohol, sex, or food, in order to cope with the stress.

Mentally: When we procrastinate, we are stressed. But ummm didn’t you just talk about this, I hear you ask? Yes, I did but stress has a whole host of problems associated with it.

Not only does it affect us physically but it also affects our mental state. The mental strain caused by procrastination can cause anxiety and depression. When you always have tasks that you’re avoiding like the plague or are too afraid to tackle, you never have peace of mind.

Spirituality: Peace of mind is something that Jesus talked about over and over again. He said Do Not Worry in so many different ways (Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:27 for example) and yet we still don’t get it.

We worry like there’s no tomorrow. We worry about how much we worry. Worry, stress and procrastination are like 3 peas in a pod (okay so that’s not an actual saying). Procrastinating all of the important tasks in our lives leads to stress and stress causes us to worry, which Jesus clearly tells us not to do.

If we are stressing out all the time which we’ve already established is something Jesus advised against, our spiritual walk will suffer.

When we stress out and worry we show a lack of faith in Jesus and His power. We aren’t showing Him that we trust Him and His plan for our lives.

I hate to say it but I’ve been telling Jesus that I don’t trust Him for about 3 years or so by my procrastination.

Lord, forgive me.

How To Stop Procrastinating: 7 Actionable Steps

So how can we stop procrastinating? How  do we get out of this rut and finally start “the project”? Well, let’s jump right into this 7 step plan and find out. Follow these action oriented steps to stop this destructive pattern for good:

Step 1: Bookmark This Article

I know it may sound bossy. It is bossy but this is why I’m being so demanding.

Because I’ve been there (sometimes I am still there). I’ve read a million different articles about how not to procrastinate and I never actually follow any of the advice. So instead of reading 5 more articles like ” 23 Tips To Stop Procrastinating Overnight”, just read this one, over and over until you have followed all the steps and completed whatever project the Lord is calling you to do.

You don’t need a million different tips. You just need a few powerful tips that work. I pray that this post will contain those tips that will set you on your way.

Stop allowing yourself to be pulled in so many different directions and listening to too much advice. Reading article after article post after post only slows you down and hinders you from action. Taking action is the opposite of procrastination so if we want to stop procrastinating, we need to start by taking that first step toward accomplishing the goal.

Bookmarking this article is that first step. Then I’m going to lead you step by step to the finish line. So bookmark this article, put it on your home screen on your smart phone, print it out. Put it wherever you think you will see it and reference it.

And okay, I’ll be generous . Maybe you read this article and it doesn’t speak to you. I understand. No hard feelings, truly. What I care about most is that you do find one article that speaks to you, you follow the steps,  you stop procrastinating and you start doing what the Lord would have you to do.

That’s really all the matters to me. Whoever helps you get there is up to you. But if you are feeling this article so far then let’s go ahead and go to step two (assuming of course you have already bookmarked this article)

Action Plan: Bookmark this page or add to your home screen.

“I hate to say it but I’ve been telling Jesus that I don’t trust Him for about 3 years or so by my procrastination.”

Step 2: Pinpoint Why You Procrastinate.

Okay, so now that this article is bookmarked we can get to the heart of the matter. Why do we keep putting the Lord off? There’s a reason why we keep saying “not now” when it comes to starting “the project.” There’s a passion that God has put on our hearts but for some reason obstacles keep getting in the way of us actually following it.

My own personal reason for procrastinating on this blog for so long was fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of success, fear of failure. Any possible scary scenario that I could dream up in relation to this blog, I did.

I had my imagination working over time creating all sorts of silly and unlikely scenarios. And you know what? Some of those scenarios could actually happen  (although its doubtful) but I don’t care because pleasing the Lord and using the talents he gave me to help others is more important than those things that may or may not happen.

Now obviously these feelings didn’t come to me over night and in the next step I will discuss some of how I have overcome my fears but lets first get back to you because we can’t move on to the next step without you really digging deep and pinpointing exactly what it is that is making you so hesitant to begin this new adventure.

Here is a list of reasons why we procrastinate:

– Fear of Failure

  • We are scared that we will look foolish in front of other people
  • Scared that we will disappoint our family and ourselves
  • Scared that we will see that we don’t have what it takes to succeed

– Fear of Success

  • Afraid of how your life will change if you succeed
  • Afraid that some people will be jealous
  • Afraid that some people will look at like you’re money hungry
  • Afraid you will open yourself up to internet trolls if your project involves social media
  • Afraid to put yourself in a spotlight Afraid to be different Afraid of being a leader

– Fear of Change

  • Fear of new responsibilities
  • Fear of new decisions that will need to be made
  • Fear of unknown
  • Might need to quit job
  • End relationships

– Fear of Being Known

  • In other words, you are afraid that your life won’t be as private as it is now if your project really takes off.

– Lack of Control of the Situation

  • Having to trust in the Lord, fear of unknown

– Lack of Faith in God

  •  Unsure of what He wants you to do, scared He won’t be there to lead and guide you through it, that you won’t feel His presence

– Lack of Faith in Your Talent

  • Not sure if you’re ready, if you know enough, if you’re smart enough, have enough experience

– Being Unsure of What God is Calling You To Do

– Lack of Support From People Around You

  • Spouse/kids wouldn’t like it
  • Friends would think you were weird
  • Coworkers wouldn’t understand

-Laziness

  • Project is too hard
  • Is a lot of work
  • Time intensive

These are just are few of the reasons why you might be struggling with procrastination. There are clearly tons of reasons why so if your reason is not listed here maybe they will help jog some sort memory for you and help you figure it out. If you truly can’t come up with a reason, I would pray about it and see if God will reveal it to you.

And keep in mind that there’s not necessarily just one reason why you procrastinate. There could be a lot of reasons why, It could be a combination of several of the ones listed and some more that you haven’t discovered yet. Regardless, just keep in mind that you need to come up with at least one reason why.

You don’t necessarily have to know every single reason why. Again, because getting bogged down in step two will keep you from moving on to step 3, don’t dwell on this too much. I’d hate for you to procrastinate and never move on to the other steps.

Do this exercise to help you find your why: When you feel moved to start working on the project but you hesitate and put it off, what are the thoughts that run through your head? How do you feel? Write it down. Do you feel guilty, anxious, a little panicked. Realizing how you feel when you think about the project might give you some insight as to why you haven’t started yet.

Action Plan: Choose a reason for your procrastination from the list above or come up with your own reason.

Step #3) Deal with your demons.

Okay so now you’re armed with some knowledge as to why you haven’t started the project but so what. You’re still going to keep putting it off right? Knowing why you procrastinate is only half the battle. The other half is facing the reason head on.

“But wait….how do I do that”. I mean if it was as simple as knowing then nobody would procrastinate and we would all do what we needed to do at all times. But of course this is not the case. So what can we do to deal with our demons? Well I will tell you.

You have to get help.

If you are a chronic procrastinator like I was (and still sometimes am) and you procrastinate for any of the reasons that we talked about earlier then its unlikely that you will be able to change all by yourself.

And guess what? That’s totally okay. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help. In fact its oh so right.

Now that’s not to say that I like asking for help, because I don’t but I have asked for help. Time and time again and I’ll share how in a minute. But first let me say why you need to get help with this.

You need to get help with this because this may not be a problem that can just be fixed with a few tips. if you have legitimate fears of failure or whatever the case may be, it’s not something you just snap out of. You don’t necessarily just read an article or two and say “Sweet…Never procrastinating again”  Ummm, not gonna happen.

If you make a habit out of procrastinating (which is kinda the definition) then you are probably dealing with some deep psychological stuff here that you can’t cure by reading another “57 More Ways to Guarantee You Never Procrastinate Again” article or something else equally as dumb and unrealistic. I want you to fully change your life because this is serious.

“So now you’re still going to ignore something except this time it’s your fears and doubts that have kept you trapped all these years.”

For so long God has been patiently waiting for me to use my talents to glorify Him and serve others. And I’m guessing that if you’re reading this post that He is waiting on you too. I have to admit part of the reason why I’ve finally starting writing again after years of being prodded by the Holy Spirit is because, well, frankly I’m nosy.

I want to know what the Lord has in store for me with this writing thing. Aren’t you curious to see what He has in store for you? If you are, then you can’t keep letting this obstacle of fear or whatever it is stand in your way. That’s why  you’re going to get someone to help you face your fears/demons head on and these are some ways to do it.

Now, I will admit none of these ways are radical. These are standard ways to get help when you want to change your life. There’s no need to come up with new ways when these old ways work just fine:

1) Online Counseling: Don’t scoff at online counseling. I’m not suggesting something that I haven’t done myself so please hear me when I say that online counseling works. There’s something about having someone listen to you without judgement that can really change your life.

I still remember the name of my online counselor because she made that much of an impact on me. Just google online therapy, choose one you think would work for you and talk to them about the issues you are having with procrastination and what it is that’s holding you back.

They will give you tools and strategies to help you understand why you keep hitting roadblocks and ways to overcome them.  As you move through the program you will find yourself more willing to tackle the project and less worried about how it will turn out. This also a cost effective way to get help.

2) Group therapy: One form I recommend is group therapy through the YMCA. They are called Restore groups. Sharing your problems in a group will help you find someone who can relate to you and then you won’t have to go through this alone.

3) Books: I’m a writer so you know I had to put reading on the list as a way to help with procrastination. Reading is obviously powerful and many books have the power to change the course of your life (case in point: the Bible). I would suggest reading a book that deals with the psychology of procrastination.

Or if you already know you procrastinate because of one of the reasons listed above, search for a book on that specific reason. For instance if you have a fear of failure then search for books on the fear of failure. I just went to Amazon and typed in fear of failure Christian and two books came up that look like they could be really helpful: Make Your Mark and Brave Enough ( I can’t vouch for the advice or theology of these books).

4) Face to Face Therapy: It works if you are honest with yourself and with the therapist. If you don’t think you can be honest as in brutally honest then it would be best to save your money. There would be no benefit to you.

Action Plan: Go to your city’s public library page or Amazon Kindle store and research books on procrastination or on whatever it is you think is holding you back. For instance if you think fear is what is holding you back look up books on how to overcome fear). Put a book on hold at the library ( and actually pick it up) or purchase a book ( and read it).

Which ever method (or some combination of them all) appeals to you, please try one. I believe you will start to see personal growth like you’ve never seen before. Then you will naturally want to move on to step 4.

Step 4) Create SMART goals

SMART goals stand for:
Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Timely

They are revolutionary ways to set goals. These goals specifically define what it is that you are trying to accomplish. This is exactly what we need as fellow procrastinators.

We need to set one smart goal and focus on that one goal only so the project does not overwhelm us and is something we are more likely to achieve. I believe once we get in the habit of actually reaching our goals we will get a bit addicted to the feeling and we won’t want to  procrastinate like we used to.

So how do we do this because sometimes we think we’ve set a smart goal and we haven’t. For instance, I thought the following was a smart goal: I want to get 100 new emails subscribers by the end of December.

And while this goal was kind of smart, it could be a lot smarter. How was I going to get the email subscribers? So now I’ve set a new SMARTer goal: I want to get 100 new email subscribers using Pinterest graphics to draw traffic to my squeeze page/lead magnet.

This goal is smarter because now I know exactly how to get from point A to B.

If you want, you could set one large smart goal and then set a series of smaller smarter goals that will help you accomplish the bigger goal. This way you have smaller victories along the way motivating you to reach the bigger victory.

Don’t move on to the next small smart goal though until you’ve finished the one before it. Just stay on a steady path and keep moving through your chain of small goals until you’ve accomplished the bigger goal.

Action Step: Write down a smart goal in relation to whatever project God is calling you to do. It can be as big or as small as you’d like. Like if God wants you to go back to school, a smart goal could be: I will request more information be mailed to me about the nursing program at 3 schools.

Step #5: Execute.

At this point there’s nothing left to do but jump right in and start working on your newly set goal. Refrain from letting old habits bubble to the surface. Fears and doubts will try and creep in and tell you that you will fail, why even try. Just ignore them.

Ignore them like you’ve ignored your dreams all these years. ( ok that’s a low blow, forgive me) but do you see what I’m saying? A big component of procrastination is ignoring. So now you’re still going to ignore something except this time it’s your fears and doubts that have kept you trapped all these years. When you do that you take control of the situation. You’re taking your power back.

Action step: Just do it. Start working to fulfill your SMART goal. Just start with whatever resources you have and don’t worry about perfection.

Step #6: Re-Evaluate.

You may not need this step if you did your SMART goal right. However, like me, you may have to reevaluate your goal because it doesn’t seem like it’s working. Look at the progress you’ve made in the past week. Have you accomplished your goal, are you half way there or have you not even started?

If you have not started then the problem may lie with the goal itself. See if you can break the goal down into smaller sub-goals. Then try again with your new plan.

Action Plan: see if you are on track to achieving your goal. If not rework it into a goal you know you will actually do.

Step 7: Move On To Your Next SMART Goal

Now that you have achieved one goal, I hope it will motivate you to set another goal or start tackling the goals you already set. Right now you’re on a roll so don’t stop. Ask people around you to help you stay on track if you need it. Just whatever you do don’t lose sight of your goals.

Action Step: Create more smart goals and begin executing.

Summary of the 7 Steps To Stop Procrastinating

Just to recap let’s go over the action steps one more time:

Action Plan 1: Bookmark this page or add to your home screen.

Action Plan 2: Choose a reason for your procrastination from the list above or come up with your own reason.

Action Plan 3: Go to your city’s public library page or Amazon Kindle store and research books on procrastination or on whatever it is you think is holding you back. For instance if you think fear is what is holding you back look up books on how to overcome fear). Put a book on hold at the library ( and actually pick it up) or purchase a book ( and read it).

Action Plan 4: Write down a smart goal in relation to whatever project God is calling you to do. It can be as big or as small as you’d like. Like if God wants you to go back to school, a smart goal could be: I will request more information be mailed to me about the nursing program at 3 schools.

Action Plan 5: Just do it. Start working to fulfill your SMART goal. Just start with whatever resources you have and don’t worry about perfection.

Action Plan 6: see if you are on track to achieving your goal. If not rework it into a goal you know you will actually do.

Action Plan 7: Create more smart goals and begin executing.

Conclusion

Like I said this is not an overnight quick fix list of solutions but I do believe that if you follow these steps they will work and as far as how fast they work… well that is all up to you.

You can make this process as fast or as slow as you’d like. It could be as fast as a month or as slow as a year. Only you know where your head is at. Bottom line is start where you are with what you have, keep the Lord first in this process and keep going until you have started that project.

Stop dreaming about it and start living it. It just takes a little action. What action are you going to take today to start pursuing your passion. Let me know in the comments.

Thank you so much for reading! I know I basically wrote a book but I pray this has been helpful to you.

Call to action: If you have found this post helpful I would love it if you’d do the following:

  • Please download my free guide on eating healthy at restaurants. It really is helpful if you want to eat healthier.
  • Please save the quoted pictures to one of your Pinterest boards. Just click on the save button that appears when you hover over the picture. If this post helped you then it would probably help other people as well.

Doing these two things would help me so much and I would really appreciate it!

Stay in touch and God bless.

Nicky

What's up ya'll? Thank you for being here. My name is Nicky and I'm the owner and creator of Healthy As You Can. Healthy As You Can is a Christian Lifestyle Blog that aims to support its followers in their journey to get healthy in all areas of their lives. So we're talking about spiritual, physical, emotional, mental, and financial health. Please contact me if you have any questions...I would love to hear from you.

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