Are you a procrastinator? In some aspect, I think we all have a little bit of that in us.
Because in life, some things have higher priorities than others. We design our days around making sure the most important things get done.
If you have to be at work at 8 and it takes twenty minutes to get there, you better be out the door by 7:40 or you won’t make it on time.
If you have to have the kids to soccer practice, you build it into your errand routine to pick them up and drop them off at the proper time.
Here in the US, if you want to switch health insurance companies, you can only do so between November 1st and December 31st, (at least as of this writing.)
And if you haven’t filed your Income Tax return by April 15th, consider yourself late.
What do they all have in common? Short term deadlines. Compare them with items that have long term deadlines, or no deadlines at all.
You know you should take better care of your health. Eat better. Exercise more. But there really isn’t a deadline on when it will impact you most. You’re in relatively good shape now. Your health won’t start to decline until you’re 60, 70, 80 years old, right? Why not enjoy the bad habits today and clean up your act later?
Or how about saving for retirement? Sure, we all need to do it. But right now you have kids to put through college, a mortgage to pay, and a car to replace. You’ll start thinking about retirement down the road. You have a couple of decades before that happens anyway.
We’re not really motivated by deadlines that are far into our future, If they don’t have a definitive date, we can’t imagine them taking place. Sure, we know we’ll get to retirement … someday. But without a deadline looming over our heads, flashing and telling us something needs to be done, we procrastinate. We put it off until we have more time to think about it, more of a chance to weigh our options.
Now lets talk about reinvention.
Somewhere right in the middle of midlife, we start having this feeling of wanting something more. We reach a point when we ask “Is this all there is?” We’re not happy. We want a change.
But what? How should we do it? When? What does it all mean?
You thought saving for retirement 25 years in the future was hard. How do you set a deadline on something when you don’t even know what it is?
Of course, you procrastinate.
That’s why so many people become complacent with where they are. They set their dreams aside, and move forward not really happy with what life is giving them.
Because it’s easier NOT changing, staying exactly where you are even if you don’t enjoy it, then risk moving forward and falling flat on your face. How can you do that AT YOUR AGE? You’re supposed to be more logical now. You have responsibilities. You should have better judgment than running off with only a half-baked plan.
But here’s the thing. If you don’t run forward with your “half baked plan” now, when will be a good time to do it?
When something consistently nags at you, it’s trying to tell you to move forward. When you know something’s not right, a piece of you is trying to give you a gentle nudge in the right direction.
And in many cases you know exactly what it is. Because we say it over and over again in many ways.
We add things to our New Years resolution lists:
- Learn Spanish
- Travel to Spain
- Switch careers
- Start a blog
- Write a book
Then we see the same things over and over again, year after year.
Why? Because they have no deadline. You’re not accountable for your actions, so nothing is ever achieved.
And without a tie to something that will ensure you work it through to completion, it becomes tasks you put off because the fear of stretching beyond your comfort zone to complete it is greater than the fear of leaving it on your “to do” list for an indefinite period of time.
Let me give you an example.
Several years ago, I started adding “write a novel” to my list. I’d had it as a dream for a long time. I even had the experience of writing non-fiction books for years as an advantage. But the thought of writing a novel was overwhelming to me. I had no idea where to start.
Two things changed that gave me new perspective. First, I moved my goal into something tangible that made the “why” clearer to me. I decided to add novels as an income generator, not just a simple goal. I gave it a purpose in my business, not just something I wanted to do on the side for fun. So it became clearer in my mind as to the outcome. I “saw” the big picture of what I truly wished to accomplish.
And second, I found a group that held me accountable for my actions. We communicated regularly in a private Facebook group, sharing resources and challenging each other along the way. That push gave me all I needed to stay focused on the end goal. It gave me the deadline I no longer could break. Or I’d be accountable to others within the group.
What’s your reinvention goals? Not quite sure what to do? Ask yourself:
What have you been avoiding? Pay attention especially to the things that have fear tied to them. Your fear points you towards what you really want to do in this life. Where you spend your time, even if it’s just thinking about things, is often where you’d most like to go.
Here’s my challenge to you this week:
What’s been on your someday list? Look at your resolution or goals lists. How many years have they been there?
Spend some time brainstorming how you can make them a reality. List big things and little things. List anything that comes to mind. Because long lists give you patterns. They create doable to-do lists. They help you see how to overcome your fears and put things into place.
It may be time for a little reinvention!