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Shad on Procrastination; Personal Life Coach Letter #8" from Shad Helmstetter
Personal Life Coach Letter #8" from Shad Helmstetter
My letter to you this week, Eugene, deals with something
that a lot of people have a problem with: Procrastination.
It’s about “getting off the dime,” “moving
forward,” “taking action now.” As people say when they
write to me, “What can I do to STOP procrastinating? What
can you tell me to help me move forward?”
Let’s say that there’s something important you want to do.
You know it’s important, but you just can’t seem to get
yourself moving. It could be something REALLY important to
you, (your health, your job, your marriage, your finances,
etc.), but you just can’t stay with it long enough to get
something done.) Or worse yet, you can’t even get started!
When you hit a procrastination road block – what can you
do? Ignore it? Live with it? Put it off? Wait for
In Part 2 of this letter I’ll give you the seven key steps
for getting past procrastination. But for now, it will
help to know that the #1 reason for procrastinating,
is “lack of motivation.” We put things off
because we haven’t given ourselves a good enough reason to
move forward. So whatever it is we’re supposed to do – that
we’re putting off doing – isn’t as important, at the
moment, as something else.
What that means, in short, is that we procrastinate because
we don’t set the right priorities. We don’t list the
things we have to do in order of
importance, at that moment, and do the most important thing
You could use any example from your own life. If NOT
eating the chocolate cake, because you’re trying to lose
weight, was the #1 thing on your priority list at that
moment, and you made your goal of losing weight important
enough to you, you’d have a better chance of pushing the
Or, let’s say, Eugene, there’s some task that you need to
tackle, but you’ ve been putting it off. Think of
something that you’ve been meaning to get done, but you
haven’t gotten it done. Now, think of that task – get a
clear picture of it in your mind – and ask yourself the
question, “How important is it that I get this done?
Extremely important? Sort of important? Not too
important? Not important at all?”
By asking yourself the question, you’re telling yourself
what the priority of the task really should be. That’s the
first step: Deciding if it’s something you really want to
do or need to do.
When we procrastinate, we do so because our goal to get the
job done, isn’ t strong enough to put us into motion. If
you want to get something done, and if you want to be
motivated, you have to make it a bigger goal. Bigger goal,
greater importance, greater intensity, more enthusiasm,
higher interest, stronger determination, greater focus –
those are the tasks – the ones that really get and hold out
attention – that get done!
We do the things first, that we care about most.
I believe in you, Eugene, and I’ll talk to you soon!
Part 2 – Ideas and Motivation you can use:
Here are the seven steps for getting off the dime and
done. It’s a simple list:
1. Ask yourself the question: “Is this something I want to
do, or need to do – (Is this something I choose to do, and
2. As soon as you’ve made the choice to do it, write it
3. Write down the date when you want to be finished.
4. Write out the obstacles or problems that are standing
in your way.
5. Write out one or two simple action steps to deal with
every obstacle you wrote down.
6. Date each of the action steps – when you will do each
7. Print out the list of action steps and carry it with
you, and read it twice each day until the job is finished –
or you’re no longer putting it
Use those same seven steps whether the job is going back to
school, reading a book, losing weight, or cleaning the
garage. Whatever it is, if you’ve been putting it off,
write the list.
People have often told me they have trouble with
procrastination. I respond by giving them the seven simple
steps, and tell them to write the
list. Sometimes, months later, some of those same people
write to me again, telling me they’re still having trouble
with procrastination. I ask them if they’ve written the
list. Their answer is usually “No, I haven’t. Not yet.”
The ones who are still having problems with
procrastination, are the ones who never got around to
writing the list.
Good luck with this one. It can help!