How To Get Rid Of Your Crystal Ball And Stop Procrastinating Now


How To Get Rid Of Your Crystal Ball And Stop Procrastinating Now
Are you stopped at procrastination station and you're the only passenger?

Procrastination is not just a bad habit. Its roots lie in fears that originate earlier in life. I have worked with thousands of procrastinators who suffered damaging consequences from their "i'll do it later" behavior such as paying exorbitant interest fees for unpaid bills, declaring bankruptcy, job loss and divorce. In my book, EFT For Procrastination I describe how I helped them recover from this common but toxic behavior. Think about something you have been putting off and ask yourself this question.

What am I afraid will happen if I finish painting the bedroom, writing a report, sending thank you notes, or getting the car repaired? Your immediate reply may be, "Nothing. I will feel wonderful." Although you realize that the thing you are putting off or not finishing is simple or easy to do, are you stumped about why you are dragging your feet?

More from YourTango: PTSD: It Can Happen To You

No one really knows what the future holds yet we all have concocted unpleasant fantasies of the future that we convince ourselves will definitely come true. Unfortunately, many of these scenarios are tragedies. Procrastination is a bad habit that some of us develop in order avoid that negative future.

Therefore, you may be surprised to discover that your delaying behavior is a smoke screen that hides another problem. That underlying problem is your fear of facing what comes next after you complete that chore or obligation you have been beating yourself up about for putting off. Consider these examples.

In one of my procrastination workshops, Kristi declared that her goal was to organize her desk by the end of the month. Nothing could be easier! So why wasn't she doing it? She was shocked when she realized, "If I clean out my desk, I will have to clean up my life. And I might have to divorce my husband!" No wonder she wasn't able to get her desk in order. What was waiting for her after that was too scary to imagine. What does a desk have to do with a marriage

Ed, a divorced man, remodeled his entire house, however six months later he still hadn't put the knobs on the kitchen cabinets. He was exasperated and angry with himself for shirking the job and decided to seek my help. After he finished his tale of woe I insisted on asking him, "What are you afraid will happen if you put the knobs on the cabinets?" After a long pause Ed said, "If I complete renovating my house I won't have any more excuses to not invite people over and socialize." "And then what are you afraid will happen?" I persisted. "I will have to get married again," he moaned. Is that true? No one was forcing Ed to get married again. His procrastination was hidiing a fear of intimacy.

Shari, a young mother I counseled, was frantic because she was moving to a new home in another city and couldn't make herself finish packing the things in her garage. She was paralyzed with anxiety. What came to light was that she and her husband had been discussing having more children. She wanted another baby, but her husband did not. In the garage were boxes with her son's baby clothes, ready for the next infant.

She told herself that if she gave away his clothes it meant that she would never have another child. She unconsciously stopped herself from taking action so that bleak future she was predicting wouldn't happen. The truth was that she could still have a baby in the future, even if she no longer had the baby clothes.

Do you have an imaginary crystal ball that predicts unhappiness for you? Stop trying to predict the future! Your dreaded fears may not materialize. Acting as if you were 100 percent sure of disaster and creating stress by trying to avoid your fantasy of unhappiness will surely lead to pain and misery as you procrastinate.

Write down something that you keep putting off and ask yourself the question I ask all of my clients: What am I afraid will happen if I complete this project that I have been putting off? Write down the first thing that comes to mind. Then ask yourself: Is this the truth? Do I know absolutely that it will come to pass?

Once you have done this a few times and can see that your vivid imagination is scaring you, I think that you will find yourself completing more projects and feeling more confident.

You may want to have a FREE consult with Gloria to discover what fear is stopping you from moving forward. Be sure to download Gloria's FREE book, Creating Happiness.

More from YourTango: Get Off the Perfection Merry-Go-Round

More intimacy advice from YourTango:

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Gloria Arenson

Marriage and Family Therapist

Gloria Arenson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Diplomate in Comprehensive Energy Psychology and author of 7 books. She is passionate about helping people help themselves to be free of negative emotions and compulsive behaviors. Her motto is :"The unexamined life is not worth living."

Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Credentials: DCEP, EFT-ADV, MFT, MS
Other Articles/News by Gloria Arenson:

How to Get Over Your Stinkin' Thinkin'


People who are members of Twelve Step anonymous groups often talk about how their Stinkin’ Thinkin' leads them to relapse. Stinkin’ Thinkin’ is what psychotherapists recognize as cognitive distortions. That means that your thinking is twisted. In other words, you believe your thoughts are the truth. When you feel the way you think and ... Read more

Use The Garden Patch Philosophy to Deal With Impossible People


If you look at the world as if it were a garden, you will notice that all of us are like flowers and plants. Some people are roses or daffodils; others are like shrubs or wild flowers. Some are weeds; some are vegetables. I learned this philosophy many years ago from a very wise minister. At that time my marriage was in shambles. I was filled with anger ... Read more

PTSD: It Can Happen To You


A few days ago at 5 AM a loud explosion awakened me! It sounded as if it was next door. My husband was worried too but we told ourselves that it must have been a big truck backfiring as it went along the well-traveled road behind our house, so we went back to sleep. Unfortunately there was another identical blast a half hour later and then a third boom. The ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts

3 Ways to Define Who You Want To Be

Sometimes the best way to know who you want to be is to notice how you react in the here and now.

Multi-Ethnic Senior Women In Swimming Pool

Make New Friends, Keep Good Friends

Once you have a clear idea of the kinds of friendships you would enjoy, you can decide to create mor

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>