Overcoming Procrastination

get results: procrastination
get results: procrastination

Procrastination is defined as the action of delaying or postponing something.

We’ve all been guilty of doing this to some degree, some people do it more than others.

We know we would be better spending time doing things that move us closer to our goals. Work that is productive, and worthwhile. When in college or university, it’s revision for that all important next exam, presentation or completion of the next assignment in time for the submission deadline.

So many students procrastinate right up until the looming deadline gets so close that delay can no longer be extended, pulling the all-nighters just to have any chance of submitting something reasonable.

It doesn’t get much better for non-students, in fact, most people struggle with procrastination in some aspect of their lives. Pulled and push about by distractions and temptations, we spend way too much time on social media or surfing the net, in a vain attempt to avoid doing what we should be doing. Or doing anything we can, to get out of going to the gym.

Our instant gratification monkey keeps us seeking pleasurable experiences and avoid doing things that we perceive as work or difficult and thus unpleasant.

We’re hardwired to avoid discomfort, either physically or psychologically.

So how can we better get on with the things that  will improve us, encourage growth, and that will lead us to our goals?

This website is laden with motivational advice, we even have a model to help you unlock your potential, and hack your blocking thought patterns and behaviours. Sign up to our newsletter for more about this.

We’ll add just a couple of options here, but there are many others throughout the website.

Use CONSEQUENCES to your advantage.

At college or university we have deadlines. The fear of a failed exam or a poor score on your assignment are enough for you to resort to pulling an all-nighter, so that you don’t have to suffer the indignity and shame of the consequences of failure. And although students are known for cramming right up the the finishing line, they do still do all they can to hit those deadlines. Deadlines work.

So putting yourself in a position where you give yourself a DEADLINE, and where failure has adverse consequences, will help you hack your motivation. For instance, having an accountability buddy, who holds you to account for your  progress, milestones and end result, is one idea. Broadcasting your intentions and date for completion to your family and friends is another, say on social media. You don’t want to look like a failure to the people closest to you, so you better get the work done.

Give yourself REWARDS for following through; if you get [x] amount done in the next 2 hours, you’ll reward yourself with 30 minutes doing fun stuff, or a lovely treat or whatever works for  you.

Use INCENTIVES along your journey, daily targets achieved result in something good coming your  way. If you get [x] done by [y] you can have/do [z].

In the same way as incentives, use PUNISHMENTS to direct your actions but for the opposite reasons. If you don’t get [x] done by [y] deadline you can’t do [z].

One last thing to consider before we wrap up this post; if you can do something that you love to do so much, and doing it doesn’t feel like work, this will be motivation enough to put in the work. So doing what you love, that also moves you towards your goal(s) is the best scenario possible. It’s worth trying to figure out a way of aligning your purpose (goal) with your day to day activities (actions/behaviours) whenever possible, because this is perfect alignment between your outer world and inner world.

Good luck in your journey.

Check out our motivation guide, here.

Check out more motivation posts, here.

Planning Your Goal

Get Results: planning is indispensable
Get Results: planning is indispensable

Jim Rohn famously said “To have more you’ve got to be more”, not in the sense that your sense of worth should  be wrapped up with your abilities and what value you can provide to the world. For you are an extraordinary light as you are, but society rewards those that provide the most value to others, at least in certain situations.

We all know those that do outstanding work, that help their fellow human beings or the planet, but who are not as financially rewarded as they should be, and in this sense, the world can be unfair.

Nursing and caring for instance is not well rewarded financially, doing good deeds for your neighbours, likewise.

So it’s true that you might want to do certain things that society is not going to reward you greatly for, unless you run a business or invest in a business that leverages additional resources to increases income. Generally the more people you can help, the more you get paid. You ultimately get to decide if you still want to pursue a calling that is far reaching or that helps on an individual one to one basis.

So you have to look into whether what you want to do is going to reward you well enough, if not you may want to look for other ways of providing income or leveraging  additional resources as highlighted above.

So carefully consider you goal, make sure it aligns with your inner being. Doing something that isn’t who you are, can grate on your soul and cause inner conflict.

My advice is, do what you love, that way it doesn’t feel like work. Figure out a way to do it, that will help pay the bills. I’ve never been one for settling or doing something that my heart wasn’t in, well I have but I didn’t last long doing them.

So with that said, are you doing what you love? Would you do your job if you didn’t need the money, or are you doing it solely for the money?

If you’re doing something you’d rather not do, then you need to work out a plan to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

You have to start from where you are of course, you may need to do it for a certain time, but it’s important that you have a plan to work against that will enable you to transition into what you love.

That plan is of course different for each one of us. Figure it out, bath in the vision that you are working to achieve.

You may say to yourself, “I’ll do what I’m doing until I have £x in bank, or until my online business is better established” etc.

Make your plan doable, actionable, tangible, break it down into steps that are easy to follow and measurable, so you can make sure you’re progressing towards your goal.

It’s okay to pivot, when needed, because  as you progress you might uncover insights that better inform your plan, that may speeds things up or plot a different course. You might decide your goal needs to change based on new information. So keep it flexible, but don’t let self-doubt and fear put you off.

For more about goal setting, click here.

Be A Predator Of Chance, Rather Than A Victim Of Circumstance

Get Results: winners and losers predator of chance and victim of circumstance
Get Results: winners and losers predator of chance and victim of circumstance

There are WINNERS and LOSERS in every situation. Mentally position yourself to WIN. Be a PREDATOR of chance rather than a VICTIM of circumstance.

Victims blame and complain. When they pass the buck they also unwittingly pass the power to help themselves, to find a way, to make things happen. Instead take responsibility, don’t look outside yourself for answers, all you need to conquer is within you – It’s fear, fear of loss, failure, defeat, disappointment.

When you look differently at things, things look different. Change yourself and things change. To have more you have to be more.

These are not just sound bites, they are truths.

Using COPING STRATEGIES helps elevate internal dissonance but coping strategies are often used as coping excuses. Excuses to be able to accept failure, to be okay with not following through on plans towards goals. If you’re not moving goal bound ask yourself why not. Somethings getting in your way and it’s most likely to be you. Figure yourself out by improving self awareness; ask yourself why you do what you do and don’t so what you don’t do. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses so that you can chart an effective plan of attack.

These are just a few of the key elements to enable you to get results. Sign up for our newsletter and check out the underlying framework we use to get results and find success.

For more posts about self awareness, click here.

For more  posts about taking responsibility, click here.

Be Master Of THOUGHT

Get Results: thought processes including opinions and beliefs
Get Results: thought processes including opinions and beliefs

THOUGHT is the key driver of ACTION and BEHAVIOUR. Another way of saying this is we do things based on our thought processes.

THOUGHTS either made up of fleeting distractions that pass through our minds briefly, and while we may question their origin, they have very little impact on our daily lives, or thoughts that repeatedly replay over and over, which wear grooves into our psyche, otherwise known as pathways into the neural network of our brains, forming what we often describe as BELIEFS and VALUES.

These beliefs and values become the RULES we operate against.  To implement rules we have to make JUDGMENTS, deciding if something is right or wrong, good for us or bad, whether we do it or not etc.

Understanding how thoughts impact behaviour; what we do, or don’t do, why we do something or don’t do something, is vitally important, because they directly impact the quality of our decision-making and subsequently the quality of our lives. Self awareness is so important in this respect.

The difficulty with scrutinising our psychological mechanisms is that we may be forced to confront things we’re not particularly comfortable with confronting. We may have to admit our shortcomings, our weaknesses, or vulnerabilities, which goes against how our brains are wired and how we are conditioned, which is to always be looking to increase our sense of value, to be more than we were yesterday, to be better, more valuable.

In reality, knowing the hard-to-admit shortcomings of our makeup frees us to move forwards more effectively, we can plan the best path towards our goals, knowing where we need help from others, or through training, and what we should focus on by doing what we do best, what comes more naturally to us and what aligns with our inner workings.

We have BELIEFS and VALUES which are predominately made up from, ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES and the TESTIMONY of others, and often have little to do with facts, or being backed by evidence. We should question such BELIEFS and VALUES. Where do they come from? Well generally they come from social and cultural conditioning, they are less about what we want and more about what the world around us wants from us. Are they based on truth and fact or are they just a convincing story we tell ourselves repeatedly? Are they an attempt to increase our sense of self?

Your SENSE OF SELF, is that bit of you that attaches to and emotionally invests in thoughts, possessions, people, cultural and social ideas and affiliations, so as to increase your own value. At some level, you believe having more makes you more, but this is a lie.

Learn more about the EQUATION OF EMOTION which will help you with dealing with EXPECTATIONS, PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY, ATTACHMENTS. For more about it, click here.

Change EXPECTATIONS to APPRECIATION. Nothing is promised. Lose that sense of entitlement you might have. Be grateful for each day, which is a gift. If you find this hard to believe, go to your local hospice and spend time with people that are living on borrowed time, to help you get a better perspective and appreciation of what’s really important.

Question your PERCEPTIONS OF REALITY. Change the story you tell yourself. Choose a different narrative because none of it is based on fact anyway, so make it empowering so it serves you.

Let go of ATTACHMENTS. They are designed to increase your sense of self, but in reality, you are not your attachments. Also be careful of SEPARATION because this too is an attempt to increase your sense of self, by lowering the “other” and thus rising above the “other”.

Bring awareness to your IDENTIFICATION WITH THOUGHT (EGO) processes. You are not your thoughts, and your thoughts are not who you are. You are not separate from the universe of formless or form, you are in integral part of life. Also stop using this moment as a stepping stone to the future and to relive the past, instead fully engage with the here and now because it is the only access point we have to engage with life.

You can see that there is more to THOUGHTS and THINKING than initially meets the eye. Thoughts are so integral to the way we live life. Mastering thoughts and the thinking process, helps master life. We can’t control external elements or other people, but we can control our thoughts, our reactions to events and situations. We can make better quality decisions, less influenced by emotions and emotional reactions, we can approach situations from a different, more empowering perspective, with a different interpretation than we had before.

For more about improving self awareness, click here.

Get Results: thought processes including opinions and beliefs
Get Results: thought processes including opinions and beliefs

Question Your Beliefs And Opinions

Get Results: Never ASSUME
Get Results: Never ASSUME

OPINION is defined as…

“A view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”

and the part that says “not necessarily based on fact or knowledge” is important to take note of

because OPINIONS are often defended as if they were TRUTHS, FACTS, even based on EVIDENCE.

When in fact, they are largely shaped by our individual BELIEFS and VALUES.

Which in turn, are formed from ASSUMPTIONS, INFERENCES and the TESTIMONY of people we might respect or trust, such as authority figures, experts, work colleagues, family and friends.

They are a result of our SOCIAL and CULTURAL CONDITIONING.

When you react to someone criticising or challenging your OPINIONS, you can be sure you have invested part of your SENSE OF SELF in these OPINIONS.

That is, you are ATTACHED to them to such an extent that an attack on them is perceived as an attack on you. You and your opinions are as one.

The first step in breaking this identification is to observe it at work.

When your opinions are challenged, and you feel negative emotion as a result, look inside yourself to see what attachment you feel a need to defend.

Question why you feel you need to defend this OPINION and figure out what BELIEF it’s being driven by.

Then question the validity of this BELIEF. Why you have it, where it came from, is it a belief worth defending?

Unless you remove your sense of self from these BELIEFS, you will inject subjective bias into them, and will be unable to take an objective standpoint.

You will look to confirm them, to prove them, so that you can inflate your sense of self.

While, at the same time, discrediting your objectors, so as to avoid having to really look objectively at the underlying TRUTHS and FACTS, without the cloud of EMOTION getting in the way.

The SCIENTIFIC approach is to hold beliefs as hyphotheses and look to disprove them at any opportunity. If you can’t prove them as TRUTH or FACT, consider them best guesses.

GRIT Is Worth Cultivating

Get Results: commitment, being committed
Get Results: commitment, being committed

Having grit and being committed are essential ingredients in powering through to achieving goals. Without them, difficulties and obstacles may be too great to overcome.

I got this email the other day, so thought I’d share it, because it’s message is important in this respect…

The other day I finally picked up my gym routine again, after a 6-week hiatus.

And let me tell ‘ya it wasn’t a pretty sight:
My my first squat rep made me feel a little woozy.
By the third rep I’m red-faced…

And after the whole set I’m wobbling on my feet with tinnitus ringing in my ears, ready to faint then and there.
What gives??

This comment from a reader made me re-live that unfortunate gym experience:

~~~

In my life, I’ve probably picked up and dropped programming again a dozen times in total (yes, persistence is my weakness in that respect).

And every time I saw marked improvements if doing a bit of it every single day and saw decline if leaving it alone for so much as a week.

~~~

Here’s my take on this:

Whether you’re learning how to program with Python, you just ate a slice of humble pie at the squat rack, or if you want to learn how to cook a decent meal from scratch—

These are all “use it or lose it” kind of skills:

The more you do them, the better you get. The less you do them, the worse you get.

It’s a law of nature.

And if you drop the ball—don’t beat yourself up too much.
The truth is, we’re all TOGETHER in this constant struggle against entropy:

I looked like a complete tool at the gym? So what. Since then 2 weeks have passed and now I’m back where I was before my break.

It’s been a while since I built a web scraper in Python? Well, the next time I need to write one I’ll just have to do a few hours of research first.

My point is this—

You can ALWAYS recover from a setback.
In fact, the ability to recover from setbacks is vastly more important than talent or a perfect attendance record.

Because sooner or later you WILL need it to achieve your goals.

Grit is worth cultivating.

For more posts about commitment click here.

Desiderata

Get Results: Desiderata
Get Results: Desiderata

“Desiderata” is a 1927 poem by American writer Max Ehrmann. Largely unknown in the author’s lifetime, its use in devotional and spoken-word recordings in 1971 and 1972 called it to the attention of the world.

Don’t Be Offended

Get Results: it's how you react that matters
Get Results: it’s how you react that matters

It seems the world is becoming more offended by the views and actions of other people, other nations, other cultures and other societies. If you spend any time on social media, you’ll know the outpouring of outrage of people commenting on posts which they have taken some offence to.

Offence is defined as;

Resentful or annoyed, typically as a result of a perceived insult.

It got me thinking about what offended me.

I’m offended by those that …

Don’t agree with me and who thing it’s okay to insult my views,

Have different views and won’t open their minds to see others’ views,

Don’t say thank you, or acknowledge when I let them go in front of me,

Push in,

Are rude,

Infringe on my cultural values,

Infringe on my civil liberties,

Threaten my way of life,

Try to tell me what I can say, can’t say, can do, can’t do; the PC brigade,

Do what I have been known to do to others,

Take offence over everything they perceive as an insult to them as if they were the center of the universe.

However I realise it’s okay to be offended, in fact, it’s inevitable that at some point someone is going to offend me. So I no longer wish for the world to change, and instead have changed the way I think about things. I don’t take things so personally anymore.

At the end of the day, I can’t control what others do, but I can change the way I react.

For more about shifting perspective click here.

For more about spirituality click here.

Liberal versus Conservative

Get Results: Liberal conservative
Get Results: Liberal conservative

Fear and Love are the main drivers for all human behaviour, and this fact is accurate for every person that has ever lived, but we differ greatly in how we believe to best achieve this.

We all have a mix of conservative and liberal views, we are positioned along a continuum which as liberal values at one end, and conservative views at the other. We appear along this continuum at different points from one another and also from ourselves with reference to different subjects, topics at at different time and in different situations.

I lean towards stability and responsibility in some situations while favoring innovation and a more carefree attitude in others. I feel reassured by politicians and celebrities that I am familiar with, and that I trust (there aren’t many of those to be honest), but also embrace change and uncertainty at times.

Conservative values come from beliefs that resist CHANGE, and carry the narrative that change equals uncertainty, risk, threat, and/or danger. Those with Conservative values that feel under threat crave the reassurance of something and someone familiar.

Research shows that people who identify as having liberal values often display conservative tendencies when they feel threatened, and  those that classify themselves as conservatives display liberal tendencies when they feel less inhibited.

I was recently researching Simon Baron-Cohen’s hypothesis Empathising-Systemising theory, which suggests that people may be classified on the basis of their scores along two dimensions: empathising and systemising.

It supposedly measures a person’s strength of interest in empathy (the ability to identify and understand the thoughts and feelings of others and to respond to these with appropriate emotions) and a person’s strength of interest in systems (in terms of the drive to analyse or construct them).

Well I consider systemising to be a conservatively based trait. The need to take things apart and figure out how they work, and to organise processes into routines, that are easy to understand and follow, I hypothesis, come from a desire to make us feel less threatened by our environment and more in control of our destiny.

Empathising could also be considered fear based trait, but its an alternative strategy to achieve the same thing as systemising, but in a more inclusive way. It could also be perceived as a way to spiritually connect with others, to get outside of ourselves. Empathisers figure that understanding others makes them less vulnerable to the world. It’s the same desire as the conservative, but employs a completely different strategy to achieve it.

Get Results: diffusion of innovation bell
Get Results: diffusion of innovation bell

Now let’s consider the diffusion of innovation bell. This attempts to explain why some people embrace innovation quicker than others. At one end of the scale you have the Early Adaptors and at the other, Laggards.

So why do Laggards resist change, because they crave the status quo, they like to keep things the same, because they fear change, which is a conservative trait. On the other hand Early Adapters focus on the new thing because it brings with it opportunities rather than risk and danger, which is a liberal trait.

So while you might consider yourself coming from a more conservative or liberal mindset, the underlying desire for pleasure and need to avoid pain are the same in everyone. We are more similar than we are different. We love and fear in the same way, but our beliefs shape our strategies for navigating the world so that we avoid pain and find pleasure.

We should embrace different views because they open our minds, and give us ideas for alternative strategies for achieving the same goals.

Until next time..

Sadness Emotions

Get Results: sadness expression illustration
Get Results: sadness expression illustration

Fear of LOSS, fear of DISAPPOINTMENT, fear of REGRET and fear of LONELINESS are often quoted as some of the most feared sadness emotions.

Loss and disappointment

Fear of loss and disappointment are often behind why we avoid doing things, such pursuing goals and dreams, I’m talking about the fear of loss in terms of losing money, property or time rather than losing people and relationships. We often experience this kind of fear so strongly, that it paralysis us into inaction.

This is a fairly understandable reaction with fear of loss, after all, you don’t want to be plowing your hard earned money into an investment which has the potential of wiping you out if you get it wrong.

However the fear of disappointment can be easily re-framed by shifting your perspective and looking more critically at your perceptions and the underlying and often shaky beliefs that they are built on.

When it comes to fear of loss in respect of people and relationships, fear of loss often manifests itself in being over-protective towards loved ones, or jealous of their attention with others. Some people avoid falling in love, for fear of having to deal with the possibility of that relationship coming to an end in the future, either because of it breaking down or because of the death of one of the parties. The quote “It’s better to have loved and lost, than to have never of loved at all”, comes to mind here, but we all know from experience, that it doesn’t feel so clear cut when we’re going through the grieving process.

Get Results: sadness emotions
Get Results: sadness emotions

Regret

Regret comes from making choices, that in retrospect you might wish you hadn’t taken on, including the choice of doing nothing. It’s about looking back on your life or a section of your life and wishing you’d have made better decisions when they presented themselves. The fear of regret is about mitigating the risk of being in such a dreaded future situation.

Other situations

There are many other situations that cause sadness, some being;

  • Mental illness
  • Personality disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Drug addiction and substance abuse
  • Existential Crisis
  • Bullying
  • Unemployment and financial hardship
  • Terminal illness and chronic pain

and while I’ve not gone further into detail with these (because I wanted to keep this article to a reasonable length), they are no less valid than the ones I have detailed previously.

Fear of the future

Fear of the future occurrence of any sadness emotions, while understandable in some respects, is an irrational fear. We can’t know for sure how one decision and one choice will unfold and impact us, in the future. I like the Zen parable; Is that so, for a good illustration of this point.

Sure  we can mitigate the risks, by improving our knowledge, doing our homework and due diligence and making the best educated decision, at the time.

But we must be aware that there may be many variables in play that we may not be in control of, or even aware of; the unknown, unknowns, the known unknowns etc.

That’s why it’s always good to have a plan B, a backup plan that helps hedge your position, if things go pear-shaped.

Fear comes from worrying about something imagined in the futures, and often fear and worry are over played in our thoughts. The reality is often not nearly as bad as we’d anticipated.

Obviously terminal illness, chronic pain and future traumatic experiences can be mitigated, by trying to refrain from behaviours that could make them more likely to occur, such as avoiding smoking, substance abuse or putting yourself in risky situations, but simply worrying too much about their potential occurrence, can be draining and stressful, and probably best avoided.

Dealing with Sadness

So what do we do when we’re stuck in the emotion of sadness? When it’s here and real.

Dealing with emotion, is about facing it, rather than running away from it. I’ve known people that have used alcohol, and substances to escape dealing with emotion, It doesn’t appear to work for them, in fact, it often compounds problems and adds to an already difficult situation.

Feeling trapped and unable to cope, thinking there is no hope or no way out can result in a downward spiral of emotions, if allowed to do so.

Pain is an inevitable part of life, everyone deals with sadness and pain more generally, to some extent, and finding a way to reduce the amount of pain you’re experiencing or increasing coping resources is where the answer ultimately lays.

Support networks are vital, if you don’t have the luxury of having good people around you, in your family and friends circle, there are many great specialised organisations, that want to help. Never feel you have to deal with any emotion or situation alone.

It is possible to find pleasure and purpose in life again, it really is. Just find the resources within you, to find those resources that are out there to help you navigate your way through.