5 Ways to Getting You through a Non-starter and Making it Happen

Do you feel you don’t know where to start with getting to your goals, or even how to start that wonderful initiative you think might be your calling? And wonder, ‘if others are hitting their dream goals, and simple goals, why can’t I?’

How you put procrastination to bed is through creating healthy habits. When you create healthy thinking, being and actions, you become hardly phased. Hitting your goals will be your new normal. There is no exhaustive list of how to create the right habits, but here are 5 that will get to the root of the common sources for procrastination. You’ll hardly remember what it was like to not even make it to step one.

  1. Set goals with kindness

The worst thing you can do is be hard on yourself for not hitting a goal fast enough or for not starting a project on time. What are wonderful results to look forward to? What are the amazing changes that will happen on your way to your goal? Focus your mind on the feelings of accomplishment as you make progress towards what you want. And forgive yourself of the pace. Joy in life and personal growth is in the ride. When you are hard on yourself for not being on time or starting late, you actually end up doing things to ensure that your goal ain’t happening or you become stressed out you begin to hate the process to the very thing you thought would bring you fulfillment.

2. Out with the old

Nan-in, a Zen master, received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. Nan-in served him tea and he poured his visitor’s cup full, and then kept on pouring. The professor watched until he no longer could restrain himself, and shouted, ‘It is overfull. No more will go in!’ ‘Like this cup,’ Nan-in said, ‘you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?’ If your mind is full of thinking that doesn’t allow you to perceive new ways of doing things and thinking, then it won’t matter if you have all the right steps and cutting-edge strategies; you just won’t be able to pull through. You must empty of sabotaging beliefs, the vast majority of which lie in the subconscious.

3. Mind your language

Procrastination can really stump you when you don’t mind the language you use to describe your goals with others, including yourself. For example, instead of saying ‘It’s difficult to …’ change the thought of something feeling difficult to accomplish by choosing action-oriented language. The key to changing the language is to reframe where you’re at in regards to progress. You want to train the brain into seeing the process, which is what it really is, rather than the end goal. Therefore, it isn’t really about negative framing only. Turn the ‘It’s difficult to’ or even ‘I will’ into ‘I am now creating (…)’.

4. Quick time response

Your brain kicks in with self-sabotaging messages fairly quickly after the thought of your goal or initiative. Whether it’s about your big goal or sometime simple, do something to override those messages immediately that’s super simple and action-oriented. Pull out a piece of paper and jot down ideas around your goal. If you’re planning on organizing the fridge, for example, grab a few things that need to be thrown out first. Whatever you do, it has to be physical and fast. Just do it.

5. Reward yourself

Do you know of the Pavlov experiment? Pavlov discovered that dogs have a reflex ‘hard wired’ to salivate whenever they see food. He then discovered that any object or event which the dogs learnt to associate with food would cause the dogs to salivate. He used a bell close to the time of feeding, and found that the two stimuli had to be presented close together in time to work. He called this the law of temporal contiguity.

Because our brains can similarly be hard wired, we can use this learning to to create physical responses in association with steps towards our goal. By rewarding ourselves with something enjoyable with each step towards our goal, we chemically prime ourselves to get past each step. The trick is to really take time out to reward yourself. If you tell yourself that you’re on a roll so you will get the rest of the stuff done, you’re working against this law, and then guess what happens.

These are 5 critical ways to ending procrastination. Does doing these mean procrastination won’t creep up? Short answer — No! — so the key is to create healthy thinking, being and actions. These are tools to change your hard wiring and rid yourself of self-defeating beliefs — and by doing so, make things really happen.

Originally published at medium.com