If you fell and broke your leg what would you do?
If you are a true procrastinator, like I used to be, you might put off going to the doctor until you could no longer stand the pain. Seriously, I waited four days after breaking my foot one Thanksgiving weekend. It was so painful just the thought of putting it on the ground made me nauseous, and it was so ugly I thought it would be fitting to give it a name.
You might be wondering why in the world I put myself through that. Or, you are saying, yeah, I’ve done that before. I wasn’t afraid of the doctor, or what the treatment for it might be, I was simply putting off the inevitable, stuck in some frozen wishing state of mind that said it wasn’t true, it didn’t happen, and it would be better in a day or two.
Ok, so, this isn’t the normal way we generally respond to physical pain. Not even close. Usually when we are in this kind of pain, we become the most proactive version of ourselves, diligently seeking anything that will alleviate our suffering. Even when the antiseptic or procedure will make it hurt more for a moment – because we just want relief!
So why do we sit uncomfortably, seemingly accepting, with our emotional pain?
Ask yourself this… “How did I handle the last time someone really offended me?”
Personally, I have handled this in many ways over the years. But for most of my life (until living the Building Milestones® way) I held on to the hurt feelings, I carried them around with me like a heavy weight I was meant to bare until I could face what I had done to cause the issue. I suffered with it alone. I let it change how I felt about myself and how I believed others saw me. Or, on those occasions that I was feeling bold, I would allow it to cause a huge, relationship ending blow out. Neither way worked out for me, because I was just avoiding what really needed to be done.
This type of negative attachment seems to be the way we deal with emotional pain. Unlike physical pain, we are so much more willing to suffer. To sit frozen with the issue, seeking anything to numb the discomfort, if only for a short while. We constantly push the envelope to see how much we can handle.
Think about it. When was the last time you wallowed in self-loathing, shame, or guilt? Why did you just sit idle prolonging your misery holding on to bad feelings? Perhaps you can relate to the act of reliving your worst experience(s) over and over, constantly reopening your wounds instead of allowing for the opportunity to heal.
When you cling on to resentments or those things that leave you angry and depressed, especially when they bring self-loathing, shame, and guilt with them, you have decided to live in a state of frozenness and pain. I get it, most contemplate getting help, finding someone to talk to about their struggles, or how they would like to confront the issue, but they procrastinate taking any action year after year.
Here are 5 steps you can take to unfreeze your life and put an end to procrastination:
1. Stop putting off what you can do today!Done is better than undone. And striving for some sort of perfect answer will only leave you right where you are, spiraling in an emotional loop of discontent. Sit down, create a plan of action and get into motion. Nothing gets done standing still, it takes momentum.
2. Identify what is stopping you!Seriously, you need to know what is holding you back from attending to your emotional distress. Is it time? Money? Fear of losing someone or something if you say whatever it is out loud? Maybe you have started the healing process several times and you stop shortly thereafter… why? Is it the discomfort of looking at your part in it? More often I see people who talk about emotional healing, needing it, wanting it, and even going so far as finding a program or provider they believe can help them, but fail to engage past the initial consultation. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from gaining momentum, you need to nail it down! This will help you get past the frozenness of procrastination! Get yourself support; hire a coach, get an assistant, learn how to delegate, remove distractions, or all of the above!
3. Adopt an accountability measure!Make it fun, well, maybe more of a challenge. Find that one person you know that thrives on competition. You know who I mean, that person in your life that won’t coddle you and will hold you to your word. Negotiate a deal; I will accomplish “X” by this date, or I will owe you “Y”, but, if I achieve “X” you will reward me with “Z”. (this probably will sound more like; I will research and identify a professional life coach who understands my specific type of emotional struggle within 10 days and I will actively engage in their services until I have resolution or I will owe you…..)
4. Own who you are!If you are the kind of person that puts things off to the last minute – own it! It is totally ok if that is how you operate. What doesn’t work is all the negative dialogue around it. “I have so much to do” “I am so stressed because such and such is due in a week” “I should have worked on that today” “I am terrible at …” and so on. Listen, if you know what needs to be done by when, or you have created a plan around what you need to do for life improvement, then do all those activities you do when you are procrastinating (shopping, hiking, surfing, other people’s needs, etc.). Just do them without the pressure. Stop wasting precious time nagging yourself. Honestly, there is nothing worse than pretending to be busy when you have no intention of doing anything that isn’t on the short list of things that need to be done. With that said, make your lists, have action plans, know how much time you need for each item, then do something else until then. Yes, this applies to your emotional healing, because when you have a plan your healing is part of the plan, it’s on the schedule of events you must do. If you need help understanding how go back to #2.
5. Show yourself love!Be kind to yourself. Gentleness goes a long way when there is healing to be had. You will sway in and out of frozenness at first. You have worked hard at conditioning yourself to be stuck in this place with your pain. It won’t be easy work, but it will be work worth the outcome. And you deserve it!