Why Procrastination is Fear Driven and how to stop

What stops you from doing what you really want to do? As I am sitting here knowing I have a lot of different tasks I need and want to do, I am finding I am doing everything else but. Is this procrastination or what?

And what if I was told my procrastination is fear driven?

No way, I would be saying. However, when you finally sit down and think about it, it is amazing how you can distract yourself from doing tasks that are important or exciting to you. However, if they are pushing your boundaries, anything that you had not done gets done. Such as dusting or washing an item of clothing that has difficult spots that has been languishing at the bottom of your wash basket.

What else? A myriad of things, I am sure. Such as making a cup of coffee or tea that you won’t necessarily drink whilst it is hot. Why? Because you have thought of something else to distract you from the main task.

Sound familiar?

Upon further reflection, I came to the realisation that some of the underlying issues were feelings of inadequacy and imperfection. What a light bulb moment for me and maybe for you! There was an element of fear and dread of getting the task started let alone finished. And top this with anxiety. Solution? You procrastinate which of course compounds your negative feelings.

And so it goes on. This can create a sense of failure, not being good enough, not getting it right and not being perfect. The more you want to do something you really want to do, the more you procrastinate, particularly if it is new and unknown.

Here’s an example

For years I have been wanting to paint. To get into my partner’s studio and splash paint on a canvas. Free flow. That is all. Nothing complicated or 3D or realistic. I just wanted it to be colourful.

Despite his encouragement, I couldn’t seem to get into it. I would do everything else possible. I even put dates in my diary which is what Julie Cameron recommends in her amazing book the Artist’s Way.

The studio was eagerly awaiting me with various sized canvases and lots of wonderful colours to play with. And could I do it? My partner even came down with me to get me going. And then, pop it came to me: a sense of inadequacy and not getting it right. I even signed up to do this amazing intuitive art course to get me excited and on my way.

Wow! Now that blew me away. And I can look back now and see how that drove me to do anything to avoid ever experiencing these uncomfortable feelings. They were so deeply ingrained, I didn’t even realise that is what was stopping me from doing many things I wanted to do. Needless to say that these distractions never worked or they were very short-lived.

So even though I watched all the videos, printed everything out, created a beautiful space to work in, I still couldn’t put paintbrush to canvas on a regular basis. It was because of these deep-seated fears: failure, not getting it right, and feeling inadequate.

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about.” — Rumi

It becomes a vicious cycle. Because you procrastinate, you don’t get things started or completed. This, in turn, makes you feel like a failure. You feel embarrassed and ashamed. Things get left to the last minute. This finally spurs you into action. It’s a rushed job, mistakes are made, and it isn’t how you want to to be.

Check out this blog by Wait But Why and scroll down and look at the cartoons. The author shows how the Rational Decision-Maker in the procrastinator’s brain is coexisting with a pet—the Instant Gratification Monkey. They are forever at loggerheads. Makes for fun reading!

Don’t postpone doing this. Do it now. Otherwise, it will be another thing you procrastinate on and never get back to.

How to stop?

By, of course, connecting to your fears. It may mean digging deep to unearth what is holding you back. And why. This can be equally scary as exciting. Because once you Unfold Your Freedom, you will fly. Pun intended. This is why I love doing what I do as it combines my own personal experience with all my skills to help you to look at what is holding you back from achieving what you most want, no matter what it may be.

Here is the link to my Joyful Living page to see how you would like to do that. You can either dip your toe in for 1 1/2 hours, spend an intensive day immersing both feet or immerse your whole mind, body and soul for 3 months.

If you are unsure which one, book a 1/2 hour clarity call with me.

Love this post? Or know someone who needs to read this? Please share away! I would also love to hear what you think about my post, leave me a comment below ♥

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

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