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Self-confessed Procrastinator!

I've been managing my self-talk much more consciously lately - I'm trying to talk to myself as I would a good friend and whilst it's taking a lot of practice, like any habit change, I'm getting there slowly! Instead of focusing on what I'm weak at, I'm concentrating on what I'm good at and where my strengths are. On my most positive days, I can even reframe my less healthy habits into something positive! Neuro Linguistic Programming theory tells us that every 'bad habit' or limitation has a positive by-product, that there is usually something about it that serves you and potentially is why you've never done much to change it

- and my 'bad habit' is procrastinating! My procrastination habit is so bad that even when I took out a book on it from the library, it went back, late and with a fine, having not even be opened!! I'm not proud of that, but I did eventually laugh at myself! That feels like the secret to me - changing, breaking or forming habits requires you to really understand why first because you've probably had them for a long time! By that I mean, firstly, really explore what that habit is doing for you, what is its' positive by-product? There must be one or you would have done something about it! What I eventually discovered is that I procrastinate primarily on activities that I'm worried about failing or aren't interested in. So the positive by-product is that I'm protecting myself, keeping myself safe and doing only what interests me - but what if putting off certain activities has bigger negative implications?

Let's take fear of failure first - Susan Jeffers tell us to just feel it and do it anyway, easy to write but harder to do! So I reframed the fear into what would I fail at if I didn't at least try -more often than not, that made me realise it was worth a try - at worst, at least then I could be proud I tried and fail forwards rather than go backwards!

But what about if you're procrastinating over something you're not interested in? These are generally the things you tell yourself you 'should', 'must' or 'have' to do - but do you really? What is worst case scenario if you don't?!

Language here is really important. If you're using these kind of words, you probably won't achieve them, not without an internal fight anyway!

Now I catch myself out when I'm procrastinating - I consciously recognise the jobs on my 'to-do' list still not ticked off and I ask myself:

1. What is the positive by-product of continuing to not do it? Is that by-product worth procrastinating over? if it is, take it off the list - or, find that by-product some over way. An example is that if I avoid doing something I don't want to, and do something more exciting, how about I just take that activity off my list and do the exciting thing instead?!

2. How important is it, really, to do the thing you're procrastinating over? If it's important to you, people you care about or your personal / professional values and goals, do it. If it's not, take it off the list!

3. On a scale of 1-10, how much do you 'want' to do it? 'What will it do for you?' 'How will it get you closer to that particular goal?' If it doesn't score at least a 7-8, it's probably not going to happen so delegate it or guess what?......take it off the list!

What we say and how we say it, especially to ourselves, is really powerful. Should's, have to's and must's are not helpful to a positive mindset and putting them on your list just makes your heart sink every time you read them, again!

So put the kettle on and get the list out. Highlight all the tasks that have been there for too long and work through the three steps above - give yourself the opportunity to focus on what you want and what will make a difference, even if it's a bit scary - it's a really healthy habit to start, I promise!

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