Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Why Setting Goals Gets Us Nowhere: What You Need to Know to Turn Procrastination Into Motivation

Cover of "The Now Habit: A Strategic Prog...
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by Michael James Jury

It is interesting that most of us have been in a position, at one stage or another, where we have set a goal because we wanted a specific outcome or objective, only to find that we lost all motivation to act on the actual tasks and activities necessary to see that goal become a reality!

Setting a goal is the easy part, following through can be tricky. For me, it is easy to say I will go for a jog tomorrow morning.

I feel invigorated at the thought of working towards a healthier, happier me.

Freeze shot now however, to the sleepy you, who just snoozed three times, and couldn't think of anything worse than dragging themselves into the cold air and then attempting to exercise.

I know the feeling of being in this position, and I believe many of us have been in it many times before. We can procrastinate on something, saying to ourselves excuses like, 'I'll do it in an hour' (an hour always turns to never), or 'I had a big day at work, maybe I'll just relax tonight'.

After the stream of procrastination, then comes the guilt of not doing something you said you would. In my example, I wanted the results, but when it came down to actually acting on specific tasks, it became a struggle internally.

Self-talk is important in motivating us towards action, and the self-talk I want to direct our attention towards is the self-talk we use to procrastinate in the first place by attacking the simple questions of "why are we procrastinating?" and "why are we trying to avoid doing something we know will be good for us?"

Neil Fiore in his book 'The NOW Habit', offers insight into how commanding self-talk can deter us from action: "Through pressure messages we attempt to motivate ourselves with threats that indicate that the task required of us is unpleasant and one we want to escape. These messages therefore evoke anxiety, and create a negative reaction to work by the implication that it is something we would not freely choose to do".

Messages we tell ourselves, such as "I have to do it", or "I should do it", are messages taken by our minds and subconscious that we do NOT want to do the task, and that it is WORK, or something of effort that we may not favourably choose to do, but needs to be done anyway.

Predicating a forceful 'must' on something can put ourselves in an uncomfortable position where we often try to avoid the task.

This means that internal arguments such as continuing to watch TV, or to do that exercise you know you should be doing can be easily overturned in favour of the path of least resistance, which in this case, would be watching TV.

So in developing a powerful self-talk method to get us off the couch and into those sweat pants or actin on your goal, we simply need to better our communication with ourselves, and instead of demanding a task of ourselves that we may try to squirm out of later, we adopt to CHOOSE to do the task.

Fill blanks: "I CHOOSE to do this because ...".

Choice is powerful thing. It will turn a demand on its head and create freedom. Suddenly you may not feel pigeon holed into something, but rather attracted to it. It's not a demand, it's not work, I CHOOSE to do it because I want the rewards, and I want the end goal!

Why did you set this goal? Why is doing the task so important to you? Why are you sick of where you are now, and are determined to MAKE this goal a reality!

In determining your answer you determine why you set the goal in the first place. You're not doing the task because you have to. You're doing it because you WANT to do it.

There is a BIG difference in your motivation from telling yourself you MUST do something, then realizing why you actually CHOOSE and WANT to do it.

See new blogs and latest information at my blog Habit Busting.Net. See you there:)

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