Do you tend to think, “When I get this, then I’ll do that”?
Have you heard yourself saying “When I get around to it…”? Well, I have got “a round tuit” so I no longer have any excuse!
By putting things off until certain things are in place, you’re creating a false assumption that something is missing. Often, that’s not true. It’s a form of procrastinating, which I’ve written about here.
As my title suggests: When will you do it? What are you waiting for?
You cannot wait for that illusive ‘it’. It’s time to take that first step. Think of the famous quote by the Chinese philosopher, Lao-Tzu: A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
Avoiding that First Step
Often, the reason why we avoid starting something is because there’s no instant gratification. You want a reward and you know you won’t get it anytime soon.
Avoidance then becomes a habit, a procrastination tactic. To find the solution, ask yourself why you’re putting things off. What are you thinking?
Perhaps it’s a nagging problem but not bad enough to do anything about yet. When will it be bad enough? How bad does it have to get? Will it become even more difficult if you keep leaving it?
The Carrot and the Stick
What helps to motivate you? Some people are carrot chasers – preferring to moving towards a reward. Others need a bit of a push to get things done, a gentle nudge to avoid the stick.
If you’re a carrot chaser, your approach may be to include putting some little rewards in throughout the process, giving some gratification along the journey. Often, when no benefits can be seen at the beginning, we don’t even get started. The end result – the carrot – feels too far away, even as you’re telling yourself that you should have started that project months ago.
Creating a to-do list helps, especially when you include some rewards. Even the simple act of ticking small tasks off can provide a sense of achievement. And that can spur you on to do more. It feels good! You’ve taken that first step.
Think of Captain Sir Tom and what he achieved. He didn’t initially set out to raise over a million pounds for NHS Charities, he just took the first steps. If he’d had that goal at the start, it could have been overwhelming and might have prevented him from taking his first step.
Creating a Sense of Urgency
When we talk about goal setting and a task feels too big, I invite you to break it down into smaller steps. In my blog G is for Goals – How Are You at Setting and Achieving Goals, I talk about instant gratification versus long term reward.
Setting up little rewards throughout your action list helps you to make progress. When you see yourself achieving, it helps maintain a motivated, positive approach, which can also create a sense of urgency.
We need that sense of urgency to spur us into action.
To help create that sense of urgency, tap into your ‘why’. Simon Sinek, author and inspirational speaker, wrote the best-selling book Start With Why. And Stephen Covey, educator, author and speaker, expounded that we should “start with the end in mind” – understand what you want. Both men provide excellent reasons to start.
When people approach me about coaching, I ask them why they feel they need it and what they want from coaching. In our exploratory conversation I ask how they would feel in six months if they haven’t done anything about it. Their answers tell me how motivated they are and how strong their sense of urgency is. New clients are eager!
What Are You Waiting For?
When you keep telling yourself that you need X before you can do Y, how do you know? Is that a genuine need or a delaying tactic? Or do you really need certain things in place, like the children being back at school to free up your time?
What needs to change to make the timing right for you? Are you waiting for tomorrow, but tomorrow never comes? If you’re waiting for that ‘thing’ to be put in place first, what are you doing to make sure that happens? Once you do that, you’re a step closer to enjoying the benefits.
Returning to the carrot and stick analogy, often the stick avoiders wonder what it’s costing them to wait. What are the consequences of putting it off?
Putting Off my Marketing
A good example was when I was procrastinating over some of my marketing activity. Now, I work with Appletree Marketing. They help me to get newsletters and articles written and published. If it weren’t for Appletree, you wouldn’t be getting these regular updates and my website knowledge bank wouldn’t be growing.
Previously, I was beating myself up for not doing what I knew needed doing. I was trapped in a cycle of negative consequences. I wasted so much time before eventually reminding myself that all it took was a single step – to pick up the phone.
A Journey Begins with a Single Step
Rather than waiting for that elusive something to turn up tomorrow, or never, what single step are you going to take today?
Your ‘When’ is Now
Has any of this has resonated with you? Then it’s time to take charge. If you are aware of your problems – or even if you’re not – I can help you map out the steps needed to achieve what you’ve been putting off.
Having coaching capacity for two more people, get in touch quickly before the places go! I’d love to hear from you. Call me on 07766 004964, click here to email me or visit my online diary here to book an exploratory chat.