Here's how to stop hesitation: once and for all
We all hesitate; some more than others. It's usually related to the jobs I hate, like cleaning up the attic (I've been talking about this for about five years now). But strangely enough, I sometimes even hesitate with the things I like to do (such as creative writing) … why do I do everything else first before I "allow" my time or my hobby.
Unfortunately, we see many new customers in our clinics who have postponed losing weight for years. “I'll do it when the kids leave home”, “I'll wait until I'm less stressed” or “I'll tackle it when I'm not so busy” are the sentences we often hear. But unfortunately, that kind of procrastination is disastrous … resulting in poor health, a bad mood, and an extremely limited wardrobe.
What are we waiting for?
What's behind it?
Why do we hesitate? Usually this is due to some or all of the following reasons:
– perfectionism: Some of us wait for the circumstances to be “just right” before we do what we are supposed to do. We might feel that there are strict standards of how to do something and we fear that if we try, we will fail. What if it's not brilliant but good enough? Isn't that worth trying?
– discomfort when dodging: We avoid activities that cause us discomfort or fear. But ironically, evading the activity doesn't make them go away as tensions actually increase. Remember that anything worth doing is usually associated with some level of discomfort. Think exercise – it takes some effort, but once you start most of us believe that it's a lot easier (and more enjoyable) than we imagined it to be. Same goes for tidying up that godforsaken attic (well, it's easier; maybe not that pleasant!).
– Debt-driven: we all felt it – guilt for unsolved tasks. But instead of correcting the original lack of action, the respite seems to worsen in order not to face the guilty feelings. This can start with weeks of postponement and lead to years of avoidance: Imagine home hoarders as an extreme example!
– habit: For example, hesitation about weight becomes an ingrained reaction. The person no longer thinks about why they are doing it, they feel that it is only part of themselves. It becomes an automatic response to say, "This is too hard," "I'm too tired," or laughing at it as a flaw in character. But now it's time to break that habit!
– agreement: Sometimes we are too spoiled by those around us who let us delay and listen to our excuses. For example, has your partner or family members given up telling you how concerned they are for your health? Now they could make matters even worse by bringing you home with take away or candy. To them they are just kind, but to you it seems like they have lost confidence in your ability to lose weight. But this belief and drive has to come from YOU.
– How can I overcome procrastination?
Here are 7 ways …
1. Just bite off what you can chew: Break down large projects into smaller tasks. For example, if you have two stones to lose, divide them into four segments, each time losing half a stone. Each segment can be of different lengths. Just focus on that first half stone and forget about the rest. What do you need to do to get rid of the first half of a stone? Perhaps fill out your daily journal, stick to the meal plan, and start walking for half an hour each day. One or two goals or habits to work on each week are sufficient.
2. Just do it! The next time you catch yourself saying, "I can do this later," think of Nike. Just do it! Push yourself through the uncomfortable feelings and do it now. The feeling you get when you're done is so much better than any relief you get when you put it off. Think of the phrase, "You can have results or excuses, but not both!"
3. Schedule a reward time: Tell yourself I will work hard every now and then and allow myself 10 minutes or more to sit down and relax, read the paper, or afterwards have a nice cup of coffee or a long bath. And build in rewards for every milestone you reach. For example, I will treat myself to a new top or a massage for every half stone I lose.
4. Scared Buster: Does the thought of doing a certain task fill you with fear and dread? Try this:
Breathe deeply. Next, start exhaling all of the air from your lungs.
Slowly count from 1 to 20 on your fingers while blowing out the air.
Inhale and repeat.
The goal is to empty your lungs completely and slowly quicken your breath so you can push the count past 20.
After each breath, you should find that your heart rate is actually slowing down and making you feel less tense. Now do something, no matter how small. Just start. Just accomplishing something will ease your anxiety.
5. Change your expectations: The next time you find yourself using language such as "should" or "must", assess whether these are just limitations you place on yourself or whether they are actually supported by the reality of the situation. Don't make the mistake of telling yourself, "I have to lose x stone by y date." Create a flexible plan that uses terms like "It would be great if I lost x by about y".
6. Mental tricks: If you have several small tasks to do that are directly related to the project in question, do them first. Even though you still have some bigger tasks to do, psychologically you feel like you've achieved something. For example, if you need to cook in batch, why not chop all of our vegetables and put them in plastic containers until you have more time to actually cook them later in the day?
7. The best plans: Don't panic if you are behind schedule. When you've given yourself more time each day, just move everything forward until you catch up. The key is to allow enough time and space to be flexible. For example, if you committed to walking for half an hour each day, but have been too busy to walk in the past two days, all you need to do is walk an extra hour on the weekend.
Okay – so yeah, I promise to tackle this attic this weekend. Now it may take a few months, but I'm starting. Deal!