We’re all guilty of doing it, more often than we’d like to admit. Procrastination may not be just about turning in your school report/work project at the last minute. It may also be putting off important life decisions like whether or not you should ask your boss for that raise he promised last month, or whether you should join a gym, leave your boyfriend, have a baby - it’s endless.
And if you don’t start learning how to stop putting things off, you’ll have to deal with procrastination your whole life which may have a negative effect on your relationships, career, and especially your personal health and fitness.
The thought process behind procrastination is that we believe there’s always tomorrow, so why not just steer clear of the stress and anxiety and just put it off until later. So, this is the first thing you need to tackle. It won’t be easy but try to figure out what the stress factor is behind your procrastination. It could be fear of failure, fear of confrontation, fear of not being perfect.
You are your own worst critic.
You judge your flaws and imperfections way too harshly. Yet studies show that when you forgive yourself for putting things off or not getting things done as perfectly as you would’ve liked, can actually help fend off procrastination. And most importantly, have realistic goals before you give yourself a hard time.
Sometimes we tend to bite off more than we can choose, then we go off the deep end because the end result wasn’t anywhere what we had envisioned.
Follow these tips to help you avoid procrastination once and for all.
1. Turn burdensome tasks into habits. We all have enough willpower to get about 3 or 4 tasks done each day. Habits use other parts of our brain rather than the prefrontal cortex which is associated with rational thinking. So, when you train yourself to do something out of habit, rather than look at it as a mundane task, you think about it less which means you’re using less willpower and you won’t fall into the procrastination rut.
Things like brushing your teeth or making your bed have all become daily habits which you automatically perform without even considering putting them off. Why not turn healthy eating, daily exercise, or turning in reports ahead of time into daily habits as well?
After that it becomes easier, but you still have to keep yourself motivated and inspired. Procrastination is all about taking that dreaded first step. So why not ease into it with the knowledge that after a certain amount of time, or once I’ve finished X, I can watch videos on YouTube or go get a cup of coffee. Make it pleasant for yourself because the reward is the part that the brain assimilates to gauge your enjoyment level. If you’re happy, then your brain slowly turns this task into a habit which you look forward to, instead of something you dread on a daily basis.
2. Break work tasks into chunks. Instead of cleaning out the entire garage, do the right side first, take a break, then do the left side, take a break, then finish off the rest. At work, big tasks may seem daunting when you look at them as a whole. The answer? Break it down into smaller tasks. Make an outline of the entire project, and then divide it up into smaller tasks.
Working in 30-minute increments also helps break down tasks into smaller chunks which are manageable and not so intimidating. After the 30 minutes, take a break and assess your work. Seeing how much you’ve accomplished will give you that boost of confidence you need to keep at it.
3. Remove distractions. Checking your email every 5 minutes isn’t doing you any good. So, once you’ve committed to doing the job, limit distractions by putting your away. You can find apps that help you stay on track, but some will say that’s completely missing the point.
The important thing is that you set up a certain time for checking emails or your social media, and once you’ve started your task, you avoid the urge to take a sneak peak.
Another serious distraction is multi-tasking. Even though it may seem that you’re being productive, the truth is it’s a complete waste of time and energy. Think about it, it takes your brain about 20 minutes to completely focus on one task and give it 100%, and then you bring in another task which means you decrease your focus level by half, bring in a third task and the focus drops even lower. So even though you’re working more, your end results will be below average.
4. Work during your peak hours. We all have certain times during the day when we’re most alert. Some of us are morning people, some are night owls, and some have more energy during the afternoon hours. Find out what your peak hours are and tackle your most difficult tasks then. You’ll be more of a powerhouse then with your brain working at its maximum capacity.
Procrastination is different than being lazy because when you procrastinate, you delay doing something for a more pleasurable task. So why not turn that mundane task you’re dreading into something more fun and enjoyable, and kill off the urge to procrastinate?
1. Make Your Workout Worth It
If you want to get the most out of your workout, you need to remember that around 80% of the results that you get from your workout actually come from just 20% of your workout.
That means that in an hour’s session, only 12 minutes of the workout will contribute to the bulk of your results. You need to make those minutes really count. Use compound movements that work more than one muscle group at a time to really make the most of your time.
2. Remember To Eat Healthy
Any body shaping goals can only be achieved by eating a healthy diet. If you’re going to the gym so that you can go home and eat a double triple cheeseburger with a 2-person serving of French fries, you won’t do your body any favors.
You should make sure that you eat in moderation, and remember that if you’re burning off more calories, you will need to eat that little bit more so that you have enough energy. Balance your nutrition and avoid faddy diets.
3. Change Your Eating Habits
You need to make sure that you eat properly as well as eating healthily. Eating properly includes eating at the right times of the day. Skipping breakfast is a really bad idea and you shouldn’t eat too late in the evening either. Speak to a personal trainer about what would work for you so that you can achieve your goals.
4. Plan Out Your Routine
To make sure that you know just when you’re going to be working out and when you can look forward to some downtime, you really should come up with a plan. Remember to include rest days and be realistic about how much time you can make free.
Remember to stick to your schedule as much as possible so that you don’t slide into the habit of skipping the gym and make your targets achievable.
5. Make A 100% Commitment
You need to remember that your body transformation needs complete dedication from you. You can’t skip a day or two here and there, because you feel as though you deserve it. Plan when your rest day will be and stick to that. Even if you have a vacation planned, check out the local gym, and make sure to take an hour out of each day to continue to work out. Keep up with the healthy eating too.
6. Don’t Let Preconceptions Put You Off
It’s easy to look at a female bodybuilder and suddenly panic if you’re a woman who is trying to lose weight and develop a petite and slender figure.
The reality is that it is virtually impossible for women to bulk like that; it requires a particular plan and effort. If you stick to a plan that your personal trainer has given you, you won’t go wrong.
7. Keep It Simple
You should remember that you are only starting out with fitness. In order to avoid injury and to avoid putting yourself off continuing with your training, you should make sure that you familiarize yourself with the basics first.
Start off with some shorter sessions and then expand your workout as you become more confident and as your fitness, levels start to rise.
8. Prepare For Your New Routine
Make sure that you make yourself available to workout and have a rough plan of how you would like your workout to go. You need to come up with some realistic goals too, so if you want to have 6-pack abs, aim to achieve some muscle definition within 6 months or if you would like to lose 2 stone, make sure that the timeframe that you set yourself is achievable. If you don’t know what your targets are, no personal trainer will be able to help you.
9. Remember Cardio
So you want to get 6-pack abs, bulging biceps, and strong legs? You can’t get those things by just lifting weights. You must remember that while you’re working out, you should fit in a good amount of cardio.
If you’re already carrying excess weight, you need to make sure that you burn off the fat by doing frequent cardio and eventually the muscle will start to show through.
10. Use A Visual Inspiration
It is very helpful to have a visual inspiration to keep you motivated to lose weight. Try performing a Google image search to find photos of people who have a body shape and size similar to your own ideals.
Print out the image or images and display these where you will see them all the time, for example near your work desk, on your car dashboard or on the fridge. This will ensure that you have a visual goal that will keep you motivated every single day!