4 ways to motivate yourself when you're procrastinating
Updated: Jun 17
Procrastination. Ergh its such an ugly word. Officially coined by the Oxford English Dictionary as 'the action of delaying or postponing something', I prefer to look at it as letting your fears get in the way of that thing you want to do. Either way, its a problem we all face - luckily there are ways to tackle this beast.
1. Notice how you feel about the thing you're trying to achieve
Regardless of how difficult you think it might be to achieve, do you feel excited about it? Does it thrill you? Does it feel 'good scary'? If not, have a good think about whether its the right goal for you. When I first started my coaching course I really struggled with procrasination, constantly putting study off 'until tomorrow' and never really accomplishing very much. It wasn't until I realised that my goal just wasnt exciting enough for me that I was able to get my motivation back. Tuns out 'Do a coaching course', just wasn't cutting the mustard. So I went back to the drawing board and really thought about my 'WHY'. I realised the reason I wanted to qualify as a coach was that I'd learned so much from coming out the other side of my breakdown and I wanted to help other people do the same. The minute I changed my goal to 'Qualify as a coach so I can help people find their mojo, just like I did', my motivation sky-rocketed. I wrote it down, looked at it every day and felt excited. That's when having a goal is powerful shit. Have a think about what you're trying to achieve and how it makes you feel (Excited? overwhelmed? inspired? anxious?) Write it all down and I bet you'll realise why you're not motivated and what you can do about it.
2. Get really clear on what being unmotivated feels like and change things up
If you really feel unmotivated, now's the time to be a bit hard on yourself and ask 'If I cant get myself to move forward towards achieving this, what's the problem?' Often we discover that it isnt necessarily a motivation issue, we just havent got the ingredients right yet to help us do it. For example, even after I changed my goal, I really struggled to galvanise any real enthusiasm about studying at home and when I sat down and thought about it, I realised that being unmotivated felt like boredom and that it was partly down to my home 'office' (ie our spare room) being completely uninspiring. So I decided to change up my environment and go to the British Film Institute Library once a week (pre-lockdown obviously), where I was surrounded by movie posters and cool, creative people. I also started cycling there to get me feeling fired up and - maybe most importantly - I rewarded myself for this good behaviour (yes just like training a dog) with a crappy TV or trashy mag fix. So have a think on what this 'stuck' feeling really feels like and ask yourself what the problem actually is. You might be surprised by the answer!
3. Tackle that imposter syndrome
Often what holds people (particularly women) back is Imposter or 'Who am I to think I could' Syndrome. We're afraid of failing and that we're not good enough and these limiting beliefs affect our ability to get up and take action. I feel like this pretty often (daily, actually). In the above example particularly - I would get really overwhelmed with all the study and feel like I'd never make a good life coach and who was I to help people and I would just end up failing, etc etc (you can see how my thoughts spiraled!). It would literally paralyse me, but I worked with a coach regularly on it and discovered my own 'toolkit' to help me tackle it. It involved me celebrating all the practice sessions that had gone well, remembering how far Ive come since my breakdown and asking for feedback from my practice clients. These little boosters picked me up, 're-motivated' me and helped me to move on to the next simple step. Like instead of saying, 'Aggggh, Ive got to read that whole book by the end of the week', I just tasked myself with reading just one chapter at a time and then giving it a nice big tick off the to do list once it was done (yes I am motivated like a five-year-old!) Gold star please!
4. Make your goal an absolute priority and shout about it
Life is so ridicuolously busy for everyone these days that our diaries and hectic social lives can become an extremely convenient and subconsious means of procrastination. Going back to the first point - if you are genuinely really excited about what you're trying to achieve and feel like it will change your world, you have to make time for it, otherwise it will never happen. Plain and simples. I honestly know how easy it is to let all the other priorities or distractions take over (hello Instagram), but the art of saying no to them is so powerful and if your goal really does excite you, then clearing space and scheduling time in your diary to make that next small step is SO gratifying. Telling people about your goal also helps. Once youve said it out loud to someone, it becomes a whole lot more real and there's a certain level of responsibility you feel to make it happen. Shout it from the rooftops and keep yourself accountable!
To summarise? Often there's a lot more at play with procrastination than simply being lazy. Really digging into your 'Why' and creating the right environment for success can work wonders. Give it a try!
Looking for someone to help you get motivated to achieve that career change or grow that business? Get in touch to see how I can gelp.
Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen
Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.
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