I want you to be brutally honest with yourself. Ask yourself how many times you’ve stalled or waited around before doing something. I mean…how many times have you, instead of starting, sat around and waited for the perfect time or opportunity to come by? By the time you waited and waited, all your colleagues, peers and friends passed you by as they achieved their goals and seized opportunities.
I get it, it’s so easy to fall into this pattern of not starting. Trust me, I used to be a habitual staller. I justified me NOT starting as “oh, I have the time tomorrow,” “I don’t have the money to start just yet” or “I don’t want to push too hard or I might seem desperate”. I missed out on many great opportunities because I failed to start sooner.
Then after starting have you ever told yourself or felt like, “damn, I wish I started earlier”? Well that is how I was feeling about almost everything at one point. I got into this bad habit of putting things off and cutting myself slack. You see, I know that I can do most anything I put my mind too. That being said, because I know this about myself, I wouldn’t put the pressure on myself that I needed. Especially being self-employed and having no one to guide or push me, I was having a hard time figuring out a balance between discipline and spontaneity. I got into a habit of not setting specific deadlines and that in turn kept deterring my progress because I would stall so frequently. This eventually led me to having many “I wish I started earlier” moments.
It wasn’t intentional, I wasn’t trying to not start. Things would just pop up that I would rather do or not do. I couldn’t figure out what exactly was causing me to stall. Then one day, I realized that not having set deadlines was the reason for me not starting. So, in order to change this habit, I decided to consciously set short term goals for the day or the week. By doing this, I could teach myself to develop positive habits of not procrastinating or stalling. By writing out the things (even if they were little things) I had to do for the day or week, I consciously had a timeline that I had to follow. And sure, I could still indulge in my usual habit of stalling by not immediately starting my tasks so long as I accomplished them by the end of the day. As long as I could finish everything on the list or at least start it, I was happy knowing that I was able to make changes in my usual stalling habit without it completely throwing me off.
Going forward, to help me avoid NOT STARTING, and to help me START NOW, I consciously write out my task list of what I need or want to accomplish. If it’s something that I know will take a long time and cannot be completed in one short day, I still write it down and transfer it over to the next days list. This reinforces my goal and keeps me aware that I have to take appropriate steps to achieve my said task. By getting into this habit of being aware of the tasks I need to accomplish and then having a deadline (even if no one else is monitoring it), it pushes me to start on the task. Now, I find that I am well prepared for many opportunities that come my way. I am prepared financially whereby, I can attend a seminar or course because I took the time to plan appropriately. I am prepared emotionally because I am not stressed out about all the other things that still have to be completed. Finally, I am prepared with extra time because I am managing my time a lot better.
Time to reflect:
Do you stall? Do you wait for the perfect time or place or etc. to get you started? Well, more often than not, if you get into a habit of stalling you will miss out on many opportunities. It’s important to do what you can to change this habit, especially if it’s detrimental to your personal development. Do something small, like writing down the task you need to do that day. Doing this puts subconscious guilt or obligation on yourself to finish the task. Even if you don’t finish, at least you started and got the ball rolling. The key is to, start now! Good luck!
“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination: never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” ~ Lord Chesterfield