By Lauren McLaughlin
Procrastination versus intention and self-regulation
You’ve just completed a PT session and you’ve got one hour before your next session. You know you’ve got call-backs to do, paperwork to take care of or plans to implement.
You know you can get at least one of these things handled in the one-hour break…but then you start thinking…maybe I’ll go for a juice, or check with trainers, or emails—anything rather than the thing your business requires.
Think about this for a moment. What happened to your original thought and intention: to act on a task required to create your business success? Where has your ‘attention’ moved to?
You thought about what you needed to do and then started thinking about doing something else.
You made a conscious decision to practise procrastination. Believe it or not procrastination is a choice; there are several reasons why at times we procrastinate.
Joseph Ferrari Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago identifies three basic types of procrastinators:
- Arousal types, or thrill-seekers who wait until the last minute for the euphoric rush.
- Avoiders, who may be avoiding fear of failure or even fear of success, but in either case, are very concerned with what others think of them; they’d rather have others think they lack effort than ability.
- Decisional procrastinators, who cannot make a decision. Not making a decision absolves procrastinators of responsibility for the outcome of events.
For us to self-regulate and win by taking action, we need to know which type of procrastinator we are—then we can build a plan around breaking the habitual patterns of thinking and feeling that lead to procrastination.
For example if you’re the ‘decisional procrastinator’ you can self regulate by engaging in the following:
- Begin by making small decisions, and notice what you think and how you feel when the decisions you made generated the desired outcome.
- Notice what you think and how you feel when the outcome is not what you expected to achieve. The key is learning to adjust and getting comfortable with making mistakes. You’ll soon learn what does and doesn’t work. “Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement” (Henry Ford).
- Remember mistakes can be a natural occurrence when making decisions you’ve not made before. The trick is to focus on your WINS.
- Remind yourself of all the times you’ve made the right decision.
- Keep a journal of your progress and read it regularly.
- Set a meaningful goal rather than focusing on ways to stop procrastinating.
- Limit your choices by refraining from information overload.
If you’re an arousal procrastinator:
- Refrain from saying “I work better under pressure”. Instead say, “I can do a much better job when I take time to complete the task at hand”.
- Choose to ignore feelings and thoughts such as, “I’ll feel more like it tomorrow” and replace it with, “I can do it now”.
- Choose to begin the task, even if you don’t complete it immediately. Give yourself a pat on the back for beginning.
- Commit to daily meditation, even if it’s for five minutes, or listen to calming music.
- Reward yourself when you complete your task.
If you’re an avoidance procrastinator:
- Refrain from judging yourself using negative self-talk by using an inner dialogue you’d use with your best friend.
- Visualise for a few minutes the person you’re becoming.
- Work on self-acceptance by remembering your qualities and strengths.
- Learn to recognise when you’re avoiding doing something and understand that it’s more than likely fear—false emotions that appear real.
- Focus your thoughts on how you’ll feel once you’ve completed your task. “The search for the perfect venture can turn into procrastination. Your idea may or may not have merit. The key is to get started” (unknown).
This article was written by guest author Lauren McLaughlin and originally appeared on the Create PT Wealth blog.
Brad Sheppard and Jason Urbanowicz look at these topics in more detail in their fantastic book A Personal Trainer’s Guide to Wealth Creation. Contact them directly if you’d like to know more firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Urbanowicz is a Director and presenter at Create PT Wealth with business partner, and Australia’s highest paid Personal Trainer, Brad Sheppard. Create PT Wealth is the fitness industry’s most sought after coaching and mentoring company, renown for providing fitness professionals with the education, resources and support required to develop a profitable fitness business.
From 2008 to 2014, they educated over 6,500 personal trainers via their two-day business building seminars, and each year, around 120 students undertake their mentoring programs. They are the Authors of a number 1 best selling book, “A Personal Trainer’s Guide To Wealth Creation”. Both Jason and Brad started in the fitness industry in 1995 and have a wealth of knowledge of what it takes to build a highly profitable business. www.createptwealth.com.au