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New Year, New You

New Year, New You

The holidays are moving fast and by the time Christmas rolls around you’ll be wondering how to make the New Year less stressful than the one you just came out of. You’ll be budgeting and planning and running in circles trying to keep everyone else happy and somehow forget about your own happiness.

But you have kids, a husband, bills to pay, a life to control, and several other excuses that stop you from being truly happy as the year comes and goes.

New Year’s Resolution… Does anyone actually stick to this?

Yes, it sounds great when you see it on TV. When the ball drops and you and all your friends shout and toast and kiss. It sounds ideal; You wake up on Monday and start working out, start eating healthy, start doing whatever it was you were supposed to do last year and three years before that. But those jeans still don’t fit the way they used to…

Scratch that! Stop doing what you’ve been doing because it’s not working!

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New Year New Way… Start by finding out who you ARE. You have grown, changed, matured.

Google a personality test and take the time to answer the questions honestly. Find out who you have become since high school, college, or working at the same place for five years. Read the description of what your personality is and divide your results into four categories. Take this serious because it will help you find out just what you want.

Category 1: What makes you YOU – What do you love about yourself.

Category 2: What do you think other people love about you?

Category 3: What do other people love about you; that bothers you to some degree

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Category 4: What do you dislike about yourself? What do you do that you wish you’d stop doing? (procrastination, angered easily, disorganized, etc.)

Once you’ve done this… yes I know it’s A LOT of questions. Do it again. – Don’t answer for how you currently do things, answer for who you want to be. Focus on those areas you’ve highlighted to change. Focus on the parts of your personality you love and the ones you find annoying.

The answers that will change are from category 3 and 4. Stop doing what makes you uncomfortable for other’s satisfaction (Do they go out of their way for you?). You should never have to feel uncomfortable in your skin, doing what others want you to do.

Once you finish make some kind of personal display to remind you that EVERYTHING is a choice. The life you have now is based on choices you’ve made. If you are letting someone else make decisions about your life, that’s a choice you made for not saying how you feel. If you are very outspoken and feel like you are too selfish at times, it’s a choice to let your managerial skills define every relationship.

Think about these questions that could define who you want to be:

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What time do you wake up / What time you want to wake up?

What do you spend your money on / What you want to spend your money on?

Do you save money or spend it?

Do you have the career you want or are you looking for something new?

Does your relationship fulfill all of your wants and needs?

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Do you feel conflict with people who you consider family?

If you can, ask more questions that are important in your life. Focus on the things that make you feel uncomfortable and find the reasons why. Once you know why, you’ll know how to change it.

All of these can be simple or easy. Certain activities and responsibilities take precedence over others, but it doesn’t always have to. Sometimes you can splurge. Just make sure that when you do, it’s right for the place you want to get to.

Make choices in your life that make you happy. Make decisions based on where you want to go and who you want to be. Don’t let people take your time if they don’t give you a good vibe.

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New Year, New You

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Last Updated on September 16, 2019

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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  • (1) Research
  • (2) Deciding the topic
  • (3) Creating the outline
  • (4) Drafting the content
  • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
  • (6) Revision
  • (7) etc.

Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

2. Change Your Environment

Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

6. Get a Buddy

Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

7. Tell Others About Your Goals

This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

Reality check:

I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

More About Procrastination

Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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