By Gloria Arenson, MFT, DCEP
If you practice the following 6 steps to stop procrastination any time you feel stuck and can’t move forward with a goal or project, you will see immediate results.
You may want to copy these steps onto index cards and keep them handy on your desk or hang them on your refrigerator.
Procrastination First Aid Kit in 6 Steps:
1. Ask yourself: What is my goal?
Name the task, job, or project you want to finish, Check that it is “SMART”. That is:
Is this the right time for you to attempt to complete this goal?
2. What excuses are you using to avoid completing this task?
Say or write down all the excuses you can even think of that you are tempted to use to stop yourself from starting, going, on with, or completing this endeavor. Remind yourself that excuses don’t count.
3. What is the worst thing that might happen if you complete it?
Quiz yourself and keep pushing to discover what your fear thoughts are. Then use EFT when you get to the heart of it.
Even though I am afraid that [this will happen] if I complete my goal, I deeply and completely accept myself.
4. What belief is stopping you cold?
Review the 5 main false beliefs:
1. Failure is unacceptable.
2. People will dislike me if I don’t do it right.
3. Success is dangerous.
4. I’m afraid of what the future holds.
5. I don’t want to.
Use EFT on any or all of the 5 beliefs that are sabotaging you.
Even though I don’t want to do [name goal], I deeply and completely accept myself.
5. How young were you when you decided this was the truth, and what was going on?
You can pretend that you are standing in front of an ATM machine and ask: How young was I when I decided [X, Y, Z] was true? Take a deep breath and let it out, waiting patiently for the answer. Don’t try to think of the answer. You will receive an answer. Keep in mind that it may come as an instant knowing, words in your head, a physical sensation, or a picture. Once you recall the age and the complete memory, use EFT to free yourself from the negative results of that memory.
6. What have you decided to do?
Take action right now.
You’ll now have all the tools you need to become a former procrastinator. If you relapse and find yourself procrastinating again, instead of giving up on yourself or telling yourself that EFT didn’t work, do a postmortem examination of the incident. Direct your behavior to notice what happened and what didn’t happen. Look for the familiar patterns.
Was this act of procrastination similar to or different from your behavior in the past?
Even though you didn’t stop yourself from giving up, quitting, or stopping, you can learn something from each step back that will help you tap and not repeat the pattern next time you try.
Commit yourself to live your life consciously, having compassion for yourself and the unhealed wounds that may still affect you. Remember that you have a secret weapon: EFT (emotional freedom techniques) which can eliminate anxiety and fear from the past and present. Self-fulfilling prophecies can be extremely strong and usually have become a familiar way of being.
Congratulate yourself each time you discover that a bit of negative or self-demeaning thinking still remains. It means that you are continuing to hunt down and dig up the roots of your procrastination.
As the days go by, remember to use EFT. Look at your reasons for resisting change when old habits reappear and tap them away so you can continue on your path towards success.
Excerpt from the book:
EFT for Procrastination
By Gloria Aresnson, MFT, DCEP
Pages 174 – 176