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Imagination: The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself for 2013

Imagination: The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself for 2013

2013 promises to be an interesting year, and of course we all want to have an enjoyable and successful one…  so how can we go about creating a wonderful year for ourselves?

Create Inner Freedom

The best way to improve your life is to create some inner freedom.

Inner freedom is the ability to be flexible and adaptive in the face of changing circumstances, and we certainly have plenty of those! This inner freedom allows you to:

  • Have a more unstructured and open view of both present and future
  • Acknowledge your present reality and still be open to other possibilities at the same time
  • Have a creative frame of mind
  • See your creativity rather than your circumstances as the primary factor in your life
  • Be more sophisticated by inviting all possibilities to the table of your life

How We Lose Our Inner Freedom

Our preconceived ideas tend to render us predisposed to a particular expectation or experience. These learned ideas about life can cause us to define “reality” in such a way that we may temper our ambitions, desires, and most importantly, our sense of possibility. Often, our experiences lead us to a set of assumptions that foreclose possibilities, creating a closed-memory system that causes us to give up an important part of our minds: our imagination.

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Imagination can seem like feeble competition for one’s memory, which builds its catalogue of events over time, defining what we perceive reality to be. When that happens, we have given our memories power over our lives when life is meant to be created anew each and every moment.

Are you letting this happen?

Are your past memories running the show of your life?

Do you fear a repetition of disappointments stored in your memory?

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Are your memories limiting your sense of possibility?

The Emotional Overhead of Our Memories

The human memory has its value, but can be one of the most limiting forces in our lives.

We could learn a great deal from animals, who do not live in their memories, but in the present. Many animals, even if they have suffered serious abuse, will recover and leave the past behind in favor of a more joyful present and future. We humans are often less flexible, usually because of our memories.

Our memories—which are tied to a nonexistent set of circumstances—can cause diminished expectations, which in turn can affect how we operate in the present. If I believe that I “do not stand a chance” in regard to a specific situation, my interest in it diminishes, as does my motivation. Now my chances are really gone.

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These beliefs are often based on a memory which caused you to have the expectation of failure before you even began, which is why beliefs and memories need to be reexamined. When people pump themselves up it is often to counter the effects of their memories’ hold on their expectations. Our memory provides us with a lot of emotional overhead that has to be either dealt with or maintained—like a hidden tax on our energies that we are often not aware of.

How about taking the emotional load off?

The Gift of Imagination

Our imagination lets us have a playful attitude toward the present that can let us solve serious problems more easily.

Embracing our imaginations and whatever possibilities exist in the present is not about pumping ourselves up to face another day, or challenging ourselves to do the impossible. It is not about proving ourselves or denying whatever harm we have experienced in the past.

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Our imaginations:

  • Encourage us to consider the unknown when we are looking for solutions to problems
  • Let us see the history of the human race as a continual growth and learning process where we work with current circumstances to create something that was not there before
  • Allow us to see ourselves as part of the creative evolutionary process of the human race
  • Make it easier to commit to the long-term because we can have a more relaxed and playful perspective

So much of existing human infrastructure and achievements are a testimonial to the triumph of the imagination over memory, which is often riddled with fear.

What a great legacy we have to work from, and reminds us what a courageous bunch we are!

To a Great 2013

I suggest that you accept your memory as only one influential factor in your life: let it have its voice without letting it have the last word; let your imagination out to play as well, and help others to do the same.

Featured photo credit:  Fantasy surrealistic background with an elephant with a hat via Shutterstock

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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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