Happy June all! If you’re like me, the year thus far has seemingly flashed by like a blink of an eye. We are six months into the year . Many of us are happily reaching goals and checking off the resolutions that we made coming into the year or we are wondering why another year has gone by without moving closer to reaching the goals that we made six months ago.
Family issues, romantic problems, or professional setbacks can present unpredictable challenges that derail our motivation or journey in reaching our goals. In addition to the uncontrollable external factors, we may be experiencing burn out, fatigue, or a serious case of procrastination.
How to combat procrastination?
Procrastination is something that we all experience. That dreaded feeling of having work to do or places to go; constantly thinking about the project, but feeling paralyzed and putting off getting started.
How do we not let procrastination take over to the point where we do not complete our tasks?
The first step in combating procrastination is becoming aware that we’re doing it. The human mind can be tricky and prioritize items that are less important than the task that we are procrastinating. Becoming aware of what you are procrastinating and why you are engaging in procrastination is the key to getting started. Ask yourself “what am I avoiding ”, “am I fearful of something”, ” what will engaging in this task bring up for me“? Jane Burka and Lenora Yuen, “Mind Games Procrastinators Play” (Psychology Today, January, 1982), wrote “understanding the hidden roots of procrastination often seems to weaken them” (p.33).
After one addresses the hidden root of their procrastination, the utilization of the SMART goal model can be used to help an individual create realistic goals and stay on task. SMART goals are an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound.
Having “specific” goal allows you to answer the Questions of “what needs to be accomplished for me to achieve my goal”, “Who needs to be involved for me to achieve my goal”, and “what steps need to be taken so I can achieve my goal”? Creating a detailed outline of the specificities of achieving a larger goal allows you to break down something abstract and overwhelming into smaller and more manageable pieces.
Measurability is important to goal formation because it is important to outline and determine if you are moving closer or moving further away from your goal. Being able to measure your progress allows you the knowledge and ability to determine if you need to change your path to achieve the objective goal. In addition to allowing you the ability to track the progress of your goal, measurability allows you to see when you have reached the finish line. Within measurability you must have a baseline of where you started and end line of where you want to stop.
Achievability is a type of reality check for yourself. Do you feel as if you can realistically achieve the goal that you set out to achieve? Being honest with yourself can be difficult. Having someone to reflect with on the possibility of achieving your goals may be a crucial step to this process. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas with people that you trust and ask for feedback on if they think it is realistic for you to engage with this process at this point in your life.
Relevance allows you to ask the question of how will this goal change my life or why do I want to achieve this specific goal.
Having an end date to achieving a goal is just as important as solidifying a start date. Having a time-bound goal allows you to see the progress that you’re making, and adjust if necessary. In addition to making the adjustments as you go, having a time specific goal drives you to complete the task in a specific amount of time. Knowing that you only have three or six months to complete a goal allows you to pace yourself properly and push yourself to complete within a specific time frame.
How can therapy help with this?
The role of a therapist can help you in many different ways at any point of this process. The therapist can lead you through internal exploration to find the root of your procrastination. Additionally, a therapist can help with creating realistic timelines, milestones, and help you determine if your goals are attainable under the present conditions. Most importantly, your therapist can help you think and talk through any self-doubt or negative cognitions you may have within the entire process.
If you find that you have had trouble sticking to or cheating your goals this year please reach out for a free consultation. Taking this first step into achieving your goals deserves a celebration in and of itself. Call or email today for free consultation.