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Just Do It!

“I’ll start next month.” “I’ll finish that next week.” How often do we push things off like this, saying “tomorrow” or “next month” or even “next year?” We all have a lot on our plates, of course, but a lot of times that isn’t the reason that we procrastinate. It’s not because we are too busy or because we’re already involved in too much.  Most of the time, it’s because we’re afraid.

  Yep – procrastination is a common way to avoid doing something that we don’t want to do, or something that scares us. Whether it’s finishing a homework assignment, cleaning the house, or updating your resume, it’s very common to hear “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ll start next week.” But pushing things off like this doesn’t help. While we sometimes think that if we give ourselves more time we will be more prepared for whatever task we’re putting off, often it’s the other way around. The longer you avoid it and the more you procrastinate, the less you’re going to want to do it.

  For an example, consider a college paper. For weeks before the due date you’ve been putting it off, telling yourself that you’ve got too many other things to do and that you’ll start on it “later.” But “later” keeps moving closer and closer to the deadline until, even though you’ve finished everything else and have more time to work on the paper, your motivation to write is lower than ever. Instead of working on it little by little over time, you’ve put the whole thing off and now have a big assignment and a looming due date staring you in the face.

  Procrastination is a serious problem, but how do you avoid it? It’s important to figure out why you’re putting something off. Whether it’s the fear of failure, lack of self-discipline, or something else, understanding your reasons for procrastination can be very helpful when you’re trying to stop. It also helps to make yourself accountable – write down your goals, or share them with a friend. This keeps you working towards your goal even when you want to avoid it. Some goals, like starting an exercise routine, can easily be done with someone else, which is another great way to stay accountable.

  Finally, just start! It can be scary, but the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that you’ll have when you’re finished is so much better than the fear or nervousness before you start. You don’t have to do it all in one go – break that homework assignment into pieces, clean one room of the house at a time, or start with an exercise that you are more comfortable with and work your way up. The most important thing is not to let fear or nerves hold you back from achieving your goals!