We have all experienced procrastination at some point in our lives. For some its something that comes and goes while for others it is a frustrating habit that often prevents them from ever achieving any of their dreams and goals.
There are many definitions of procrastination, but they all seem to point to one common characteristic in behavior, or rather, lack of behavior. When you procrastinate you are quite literally stuck between advancing and staying where you are. Consciously you want to advance, but subconsciously you want to stay. On a subconscious level you are preventing yourself from taking the very actions that you know you need to take to achieve the results you desire from a conscious or rational point of view. The frustrating thing about procrastination is that although you know what you want, and even how to get it, you still remain immobilized and unable to act on it.
Probably the most accurate definition of procrastination is that its the irrational delay, aversion or even evasion of a task or action. Its irrational because we cannot explain this behavior from a rational point of view. We can only explain and understand it from an emotional point of view because the reason why we procrastinate is because at a subconscious level we have an emotional association to the task that prevents us from taking the action. Wanting one thing and then doing the opposite seems stupid and completely irrational, but that is why procrastination can be such an odd behavior to deal with effectively.
The definition of procrastination, when translated from the original Latin, means in favor of tomorrow and although you might intentionally postpone your tasks there is an underlying reason why you do it which is irrational, emotional and stored in your subconscious experiences. You might want to loose weight and even though you can see how fat you are and how your health and vitality is deteriorating, you still can get yourself to exercise. Why is this? Well, on a rational level its very obvious that you MUST take action, but on an emotional level it seems too painful to give up the foods you’re addicted to and to sacrifice an hour of TV-time to go and kill yourself on the treadmill.
This association to exercise and changing your diet is nothing but a belief and an association that exists in your mind. Because you believe it, you will act upon it, even if it only exists in your imagination. On a very basic level all our actions are driven by need to avoid pain and the desire to gain pleasure. Procrastination is nothing but this basic truth in action. When you procrastinate you’re your beliefs about what will be painful and what will mean pleasure are what prevents you from taking action. Since your beliefs reside mostly in your subconscious level of thinking, you will be immobilized even if you say you want the opposite.
The definition of procrastination as an irrational behavior is indeed a very accurate one and explains the frustration when you can’t seem to get yourself to act on your conscious desires. Procrastination guarantees a life of frustration and striving. You must overcome procrastination if you really want to make any significant progress in your life.
Here’s a new definition that you might want to adopt to empower you to be more effective and to consistently act on your ideas, dreams and desires:
Procrastination is a call to action. It is a signal that you must act on the very things that you do not want to act on and DO the very thing that’s holding you back. It is the necessary resistance you need to be able to grow, develop and gain confidence that only comes from actually doing it. When you do break through the short term pain that held you back you come out on the other side with an increased sense of esteem for yourself and you start to see yourself and your abilities from a different perspective. The fact that you are procrastinating about something means that it hold significant enough value for you to be uncomfortable with not taking action.The things that are holding you back most are that which will free you most – once you take action. What will free you most is taking action. Not because of the absence of procrastination, but despite the procrastinating.