January 9, 2017

A New Year, a New Chapter

It’s a new year, a new chapter. You just refreshed your outlook on life: time to make your New Year’s resolutions. Starting January first, you implemented your new 2017 list. Unless you didn’t…yet. After all, you may need a month to just get into a new way of thinking, a new routine, to buy that membership, to pick up that book, to structure your schedule, to think about executing your resolutions. December stole all your time with her holiday dazzle, leaving no time to plan for January resolutions. Anyway, it felt far enough off anyway. You had time. Or at least you thought you did. images

I was on a call the other day and the person on the other end said, “Well it’s already the middle of January or might as well be.” My heart stopped. How does this keep happening? The passing of time that is. And when I later walked by the hall mirror, there was no way I was going to look into it. Because I knew what I would see. A pro. A real pro. The one who puts pro in procrastination. Me.

Okay, okay. Maybe I am being somewhat dramatic. Procrastination doesn’t always apply to my life. It just depends on the circumstance and ultimately the presence of one important factor: the deadline. A hard, non negotiable deadline will certainly keep the majority of us on task. Since the beginning of time, our brains have prioritized the tasks and to-dos that would otherwise threaten our survival. We inherently prioritize anything that puts our basic needs – or our most prized wants – in jeopardy.

Before we look at the goals without deadlines, let’s step back and look at the relationship between procrastination and resolution. Put on some tunes and watch how they dance with one another. Sometimes they hold one another tightly and never let go. They dance out their beautifully choreographed routine, perfected in rehearsal – prior to January – and resolution always takes the lead. Other times, one gets onto the dance floor while the other leaves to go to the bathroom – procrastination – only to never return to the dance. Well, there’s always another song, another dance, another time.

When we have goals that don’t have deadlines – aka that can be done later when it’s more convenient – we procrastinate. We stick the Post-it note on a cloud in the future and hope that the wind blows it back our way. The only one who is supervising the resolution list is the only one who knows about it. Kind of a slippery slope at times. So what are we to do? It looks like a lot of us are searching – and writing – for answers. Enter the word procrastination in Amazon books and you will find 2,528 search results.

Sometime in 2016, I said to myself that I was going to hold my longest plank and do the most push ups I could possibly do. And I have stuck to that daily practice because I saw the results and it made me feel good about myself. I admit, this goal was a little easier because I could indulge in Stranger Things on Netflix while checking the box. By the way, if you haven’t watched the series, put it on your 2017 list. Start off the year with an easy goal!

I digress. The key to accomplishing these goals, resolutions, or whatever you call them, is to just do it. Nike had it right all along. So put on your running shoes and go! The only person sounding the start of the race is you. If you need something more tangible and visual, make a list with boxes that represent days. And hang that list in a place where you can see it. And if you want to get really crazy, hang it where others can see it. The more loudly your list hangs, the more you will be accountable to it.

Now where are my running shoes? And I’m making that chart right after I eat this piece of cake…why does instant gratification have to feel so good!

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