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5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

5 Ways to Stop Psyching Yourself Out of Your Goals

    For the past 5 and a half years I have gained interests in several different disciplines and topics. I like playing guitar, gaming, writing, creating and designing websites, programming, biking (bicycling, Harley dudes.), understanding economics, science, and math. I’ve come to find out that I am pretty good at some of these things, yet with most I am mediocre at best.

    And because of this I start to talk myself out of everything that I have any ideas about.

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    The Inner Critic

    Let me introduce you to someone. Her name is the critic, and if you are a knowledge worker or creative you know her quite well. She is the one that pipes up and tells you that you aren’t very good at something and because of that you should give up on everything.

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    Sound familiar?

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    The inner critic is something that we all experience and can lead talented and creative individuals to give up on their ideas without even trying them.

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    Personally, I have been visited by the critic too many times to count. And many of those times she has stopped me dead in my tracks on some idea about a website, article, or piece of software that I would like to create. Remember, the critic is sneaky; not only will she try to stop you dead in your tracks and force you to give up, she will sneak her way into your plans and and todo lists in the form of non-clarified next actions, forcing you to procrastinate on your goals and dreams.

    Luckily there are some ways that you can battle the Inner Critic and take over.

    1. Define exactly what you want to accomplish – also what you don’t want to accomplish
      There is nothing worse than having a project or goal that is poorly defined. The Inner Critic loves this kind of “amorphous blog of undoability” and with it tells you that, “you don’t even really know what you want in ‘life/project x/goal x’, therefore you might as well give up”.Instead, identify exactly what being done looks like and also what is outside of the scope of what you are trying to accomplish. This will ease your mind and allow you to accept that you can actually get something done.
    2. Share your thoughts with others
      One of the fastest ways to shut down the Inner Critic is to run your ideas and dreams by others. There is something about getting out of your own head; it allows you to more clearly see what you are trying to accomplish as you get instant feedback from a third-party.This type of response can prove to you that you ideas are actually good and that you can do something with them.
    3. Make constant progress
      There is nothing that the Inner Critic hates more than you actually progressing on your dream projects and goals. This type of action turns into a snowball effect where you can’t help but finish what you have started.If what you are doing is something creative, make sure to allot a certain amount of time per day to the task. No matter what give yourself this time and move forward on your project.
    4. Write, journal, diary, mindmap
      This sort of goes back to the idea of getting things out of your head. A plan that isn’t defined or at least out of your head is doomed to fail. Writing things down can help you clarify what you are trying to accomplish and can subsequently help you find what you need to do next.Also, writing every once in a while about your fears of what you are doing (or not doing) will help keep the Inner Critic at bay and allow you to concentrate on the tasks at hand.
    5. Iterate
      If you can’t seem to accomplish your tasks or keep thinking that you don’t have the skills to do so, then split them up even further, accomplish a small portion, and then come back to the next part later. Also, instead of making something perfect right-off-the-bat, make it good and then come back to it again and make it better. Keep doing this until you have accomplished what you were set out to do.Iterating in the manner can help you stave off procrastination and fear as you finish your project in smaller increments and with less stress.

    The Inner Critic can take hold of your internal talk and make you think that you are not good enough. Just remember that it has nothing to do with being “not good enough” and everything to do with not giving yourself the support that you need to move towards accomplish what you need and want to get done in your life. Use these 5 tricks to shut down the Inner Critic at first blush and move towards getting things done.

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How To Break the Procrastination Cycle

    How often do you find yourself procrastinating? Do you wish you could procrastinate less? We all know how debilitating procrastination can make us feel, and it seems to be a challenge we all share. Procrastination is one of the biggest hindrances to moving forward and doing the things that we want to in life.

    There are many reasons why you might be procrastinating, and sometimes, it is really difficult to pinpoint why. You might be procrastinating because of something related to the past, present, or future (they are all intertwined), or it could be as simple as biological factors. Whatever the reason, most of us follow a cycle when we procrastinate, from the moment we decide to do something to actually getting it done, or in this case, not getting it done.

    The Vicious Procrastination Cycle

    For some reason, it helps to understand that we all go through the same thing, even though we often feel like the only person in the world who struggles with this. Do you resonate with the cycle below?

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it!

    2. Apprehension Starts to Come Up

    The beginning stages of optimism are starting to fade. There is still time, but you haven’t done anything yet, and you start to feel uneasy. You realize that you actually have to do something to get it done, and that good intentions are not enough.

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    3. Still No Action

    More time has passed. You still haven’t taken any action and probably have a lot of excuses why. You start to panic a little and wish you had started sooner. Your panic starts to turn into frustration and perhaps even irritability.

    4. Flicker of Hope Left

    You can still make it; there is a little time left and you ponder how you are going to get it done. The rush you get from leaving your task until the last minute gives you a flicker of hope. There is still time; you can do this!

    5. Fading Quickly

    Your hope starts to quickly fade as you try desperately to understand why you just can’t do this. You may feel desperate and have thoughts like, “What is wrong with me?” and “Why do I ALWAYS do this?” You feel discouraged, or perhaps angry and resentful at yourself.

    6. Vow to Yourself

    Once the feeling of anger or disappointment disappears, you most likely swear to yourself that this will never happen again; that this was the last time and next time will be different.

    Does this sound like you? Is the next time different? I understand the devastating effect that procrastination has on many lives, and for some, it is a really serious problem. You also have, on the other hand, those who procrastinate but it doesn’t affect them in any way. You know whether it is affecting you or not and whether it undermines your results.

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    How to Break the Procrastination Cycle

    Unless you break the cycle, you will keep reinforcing it!

    To break the cycle, you need to change the sequence of events. Here is my suggestion on how you can effectively break the vicious cycle you are in!

    1. Feeling Eager and Energized

    This is when you commit to taking a new action or getting something done. You are feeling confident and optimistic that, this time round, you will do it! The first stage is always the same.

    2. Plan

    Thinking alone will not help; you need to plan your actions. I always put my deadlines one or two days in advance because you know Murphy’s Law! Take into consideration everything that you need to do, how long it will take you, and what you will need to get it done, then plan the individual steps.

    3. Resistance

    Just because you planned doesn’t mean that this time is guaranteed to be different. You will most likely still feel the resistance so expect this. This stage is key to identifying why you are procrastinating, so when you feel the resistance, try to identify it immediately.

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    What is causing you to hesitate in this moment? What do you feel?  Write them down if it helps.

    4. Confront Those Feelings

    Once you have identified what could possibly be holding you back, for example, fear of failure, lack of motivation, etc. You need to work on lessening the resistance.

    Ask yourself, “What do I need to do to move forward? What would make it easier?” If you find that you fear something, overcoming that fear is not something that will happen overnight — keep this in mind.

    5. Put Results Before Comfort

    You need to keep moving forward and put results before comfort. Take action, even if it is only for 10 minutes. The key is to break the cycle and not reinforce it. You have more control that you think.

    6. Repeat

    Repeat steps 3-5 until you achieve what you first set out to do.

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    Final Thoughts

    Change doesn’t happen overnight, and if you have some deeper underlying reasons why you procrastinate, it may take longer to finally break the cycle.

    If procrastination is holding you back in life, it is better to deal with it now than to deal with the negative consequences later on. It is not a question of comfort anymore; it is a question of results. What is more important to you?

    Learn more about how to stop procrastinating here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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