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This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

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This Is How I Stop Procrastination.

It can be hard to stay self-motivated when you’re facing your computer screen. Life gets in the way, and that new Netflix release can look awfully tempting compared to a strenuous session of work.

Time goes by, and before you know it, nothing has been done.

Ultimately, you’re the one who’s accountable for your own work. Even though getting things done can be tough when nobody’s there to push you, you can use a few techniques to get into the groove once again.

Try following these five tips and see if they get you going on what you should be doing:

1.Promise yourself a reward after doing a task

I like to treat myself to something nice, such as a snack or a TV show–but only after I’ve completed a certain amount of work. It’s not a pretty thought when you haven’t started, but it works.

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For example, if I need to write a blog post, I might set a small goal such as doing some basic brainstorming. Once I jot down a number of bullet points, then I can have a small break.

I sometimes find that I’m actually tired and could use a break. Other times, I end up becoming incredibly focused on the task at hand and forget about the break. Either way, I’ve made progress.

2. Break the task down

It’s easy to get excited in the beginning of a project and set big, lofty goals for ourselves. But once the hard work begins, our initial goal just seems too out of reach. We begin to falter. As a result, we give up or decide to do the work “later”.

Instead of setting an overly ambitious goal such as “I’m going to lose 20 pounds by the end of next week”, why not set a concrete, yet manageable goal just for the day? The truth is, we often set goals that require too many steps, overwhelming ourselves.

For example, I might just set one very simple goal. It could just be, “Open a Word document and write down the topic.” That’s it. Then, I might set another mini-goal, such as “Type in a few bullet points.”

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These tiny goals might not seem like much, but they challenge your resistance to getting started in the first place.

3.Warm up first

It can be hard to go straight from waking up and enjoying a nice breakfast to working right away. Why not do a warm-up first?

Doing work can be mentally taxing, especially if you’re still groggy. Instead, you could start off by doing a mental exercise to get you going. This could mean reading a book on self-development or psychology, or solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Physical exercises also do wonders when it comes to starting off the day right. A cardio workout helps you increase your energy and feeling ready to take on the day.

4.Stop analysis-paralysis

Have you ever thought of starting something, but thought that just reading one more article or watching one more video would provide a flash of insight? And then you ended up just reading about it, but not actually doing something.

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Hesitation is part of the process. It’s natural. But if you let it take hold, fear can keep you from starting at all.

Next time that happens, try this: Just let loose. Do something. Don’t get stuck on the idea of being perfect. Just try something out and improve as you go along. It can be intimidating, but also strangely liberating.

5.Think of what will happen if you DON’T get started

Studies have shown that people who procrastinate tend to have “myopia” when it comes to the future. That is, they only see the short-term rewards, but not the long-term effects of procrastination.

Playing a video game in the next hour is much more rewarding immediately than working on a goal, but damaging in the long run if you keep putting off what’s important.

If you find yourself in this situation, try this:

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Imagine the worst situation that will happen if you don’t do something productive.

For example, let’s say you’re at a job you hate and dream of running your own business. You get home tired from work. But instead of researching more into starting a venture, it’s easier to watch TV. Think of what will happen in 10 years. You’ll probably be stuck at the same old job, wondering what could have been if you had taken action earlier.

What is one technique you like to use to get un-stuck?

Featured photo credit: Eneas via flickr.com

More by this author

Melissa Chu

Founder of JumpstartYourDreamLife.com

6 Things Happy People Never Forget 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing If You Want To Be More Productive This Is How I Stop Procrastination. 7 Simple Tools to Make Your Blog Posts Even Better

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

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15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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