Most of us have big dreams, but we often fail to reach them because life gets in the way. We don’t have the energy at the end of the day to pursue our passions, or we put things off until the last minute. Here are some simple ways to stop delaying and get big results, whether it’s for your career, performance, or your fitness goals.
Why do we delay?
There are several reasons we use delaying tactics that stop us from chasing our dreams, and even high achievers are prone to using them.
Lack of time
Sometimes we assume we can’t do the things that we want to because we don’t manage our time efficiently. Indeed, we may have spent valuable time scrolling through social media or soaking in the tub instead of focusing on the task that we should have been doing instead. This often happens when we think that the task ahead is not a priority, and so we keep pushing back our self-imposed deadline.
Fear of the unknown
More often than not, we use lack of time as an excuse because we don’t like to admit that we are afraid of what will happen once we get to where we want to be. We might be afraid of judgement or looking foolish if we attempt something new. We may also fear failure and lack confidence in our ability to achieve our goals. The book The monk who sold his Ferrari helps you to master yourself, stop being afraid of the unknown and improve your inner world.
Some of us have a short-term outlook and ignore what might be in the long term. It may seem as though we lack the drive to go after what we want or that we don’t have any ambition. However, it is more likely that our goals are overwhelming. We don’t know where to begin, so we simply don’t start.
How to get started
Whatever the reason for your delay, by procrastinating, you only cause yourself more stress and anxiety. You either end up rushing or you fail to achieve anything at all.
Make a plan
Set a simple, attainable goal rather than a massive, vague one. For example, rather than saying, “I’m going to get fit,” you could say, “I’m going to do 30 minutes of exercise every day.” This makes your goal seem more achievable and less overwhelming. Or you could decide to write 200 words for your blog a day.
Habits get us moving forwards and make it easy for us to reach our goals since we do them without thinking. You could split your goal into smaller tasks like running 2K, doing 50 situps, 50 squats, and three one-minute planks. These smaller goals then become mini habits that are much more manageable and easy to fit into your daily routine.
If your goal comprises a lot of small tasks, decide which ones need to take priority. Complete the most important and time-sensitive tasks first. If you find that doing your planks is the hardest part of your workout, but they give you the biggest results, get them out of the way first so that the rest of your workout seems a breeze.
Get rid of anything that is likely to distract you from your goal. If you have the assignment to do, turn off your phone and move to your desk. If it’s time to exercise, put your phone in your bag and hit the gym.
Choose a reward
Motivate yourself by choosing a reward that you can look forward to once you have reached your goal. You may choose to buy yourself an outfit once you have reached your fitness goal or to have a night out with friends once you have finished your work.
It’s easy to put things off when you only have to answer to yourself. Take accountability by reminding yourself that you let yourself down when you ignore the pursuit of your dreams. Post your goal on social media to make it public or tell a friend about it so that they can regularly check up on your progress.
Get warmed up
Whether your goal includes physical or intellectual exertion, it’s important to get warmed up before you begin so that you don’t injure yourself or have a mental block. If your goal is exercise, start by doing some dynamic stretching, and if your goal involves thinking, jot down some bullet points or create a mindmap of your ideas. A 2016 study found that just five minutes of mental exercise helps to improve performance.
Delaying tactics and procrastination often culminate in stress which stops us from pursuing our dreams. Stop delaying and get started by being clear about what you want, focusing on the small steps that you need to take, and building habits that make getting results second nature.