In the earlier article, 3 factors that spark procrastination were outlined. Conceding that dealing with procrastination is an inexact Science and that this article may not be tailored to suit your lifestyle, here are a few steps you can take to overcome one pertinent factor of procrastination: low expectations.
To briefly sum up, we don’t like doing things that we don’t think we will succeed at. Pessimism is contagious. One failure creeps into your next prospect, making future actions less desirable. With that done with, let’s move on to some steps to get over this mentality.
1) Bite Small, Eat Big
When a task seems overwhelming, we avoid it (pg 22). When we set unattainable goals and fail, we avoid getting back into the game. High expectations that aren’t met often follow with low expectations.
There are two aspects to using this approach of ‘Bite Small, Eat Big’. First, you can attempt to break up a large goal into smaller, easily attainable objectives. As you pass milestones in the attainment of your goal, those milestones function to spur further action. The knowledge that progress is happening encourages you to continue forwarding that progress. Moreover, breaking down a task will allow you to find your foothold to start acting. We often avoid something because we don’t know where to start.
Secondly, you can build momentum in your life, also known as Efficacy-Performance Spirals. By setting meaningful goals you know you can attain, your expectations of future achievements increases. Piers Steel, PhD and procrastination expert suggest setting initial goals that are learning-based. This way, the achievement is being able to refine yourself, rather than “winning.” In other words, your achievement is relative to yourself, not others. When you know that success is something within your reach, you reach out and grab it.
2) Get a Support System
People motivate people. When overwhelmed, it helps to turn to those who can show otherwise. In our quest to set up that dream business or learn a new skill, we often feel inadequately prepared, uncertain, or dazed by the path to our objective.
Getting a support system of like-minded individuals who are pursuing a similar objective to yours can help deal with this. Surround yourself with optimism and passion and you too will find yourself mimicking the group you have joined. Conversely, pessimism breeds pessimism. Each area you want to explore has a community that has already explored it for you; it’s just a matter to finding them.
3) Use the Power of Imagination. Properly
Common advice dictates that you should dream and imagine yourself attaining your goals. Think of the spanking new house or that new iPhone you’ve always wanted, and you’ll get it. Right? Well, partially.
Research suggests that merely dreaming of future achievements may be detrimental to the actual desire to achieve something in the present. Rather, a disparity between your current state and your intended achievements must be drawn. Think about how you have to live in a rubbish-house, or how you’ve been using that Nokia 3310 since the day it came out. Rather than dream of the future, make an effort to move out of the present.