You know when you have a goal you really want, and yet, when it comes to making it happen, you just… don’t?
I've been there a few times before.
It can leave you feeling like you’ve really let yourself down.
After all, spending time daydreaming about something, talking about it, and even planning it out, are all very different from taking action.
In today’s blog, I’m going to share with you the real reason behind self-sabotage, and what your procrastination actually means.
First, let’s bust a big myth around procrastination:
“If you really want something, you’ll make it happen.”
Heard that one before?
Hearing that used to make me feel really awful. If I was struggling to get myself to feel motivated enough to do whatever it is I wanted to do, it wasn’t very helpful to hear the assumption that I must not really want it.
I started to question whether I really cared that much about it after all. Then, I began to question myself.
“What’s wrong with me?” I’d wonder. “Maybe I don’t really want this… do I?”
This unleashed a wave of self-doubt and self-criticism.
The thing is, there always remained a part of me that knew I did want my goal.
But how confusing was that?! If I wanted it so badly, then why wasn’t I doing anything about it?
I was afraid.
I was afraid of failing. I was afraid of being rejected. I was afraid of discovering that my vision for my future was more fantasy than reality, destined to remain in my head.
If you’re not taking action on a goal you know you want, it’s usually because of fear.
It’s fear that says: “But taking this risk means you could get rejected. Trying something new means you could fail. If it doesn’t work out, people will think badly of you…. And you don’t want that.”
It’s not that you don’t want the goal. Maybe it’s that you don’t want the potential failure, rejection and judgment, and all the other things that you inevitably risk when you move out of your comfort zone.
When it comes to procrastination, fear is often the culprit.
Could it be that you want your goal so badly that the fear part of your brain says: “I can’t handle not getting it…and so if I just don’t try, isn’t that easier? Isn’t that safer?”
The problem is: you do still want your goal. It is still important to you.
Yes, by not taking action, you may be saving yourself that horrible outcome, but you’re also giving up our chance to have what you really want.
You know this – that’s why procrastination can drive you crazy.
So here’s what you need to do.
When you notice yourself self-sabotaging, procrastinating, or holding back, turn inward.
Not to beat yourself up. Not to question yourself.
But to face yourself kindly. To ask gently, “What am I afraid of?”
Chances are, you’ll find vulnerability there. You just might stumble upon self-doubt. Perhaps you’ll find you’re afraid of not having the future you dream of (or maybe you’re actually scared of having it).
Those times when you’ve been hesitating will make sense in light of your fear.
With this new awareness of why you’re really stuck in procrastination station, you’ll be able to respond to yourself differently.
Respond to your fear with encouragement, rather than disappointment and anger.
Acknowledging how you really feel means that you’ll be able to take small steps forward despite your fear.
When fear is the source of procrastination, showing yourself kind encouragement is the only thing that’s going to free you up to move towards where you want to go.
In the comments below, I’d love to hear your perspective:
What is one goal you really want?
What is one fear you have about moving forward on that goal?
What is one small action you feel prepared to take today, despite your fear?