Don’t Wait To Set Your Goals for the New Year
DEAR DR. LeCRONE: Although New Year’s resolutions have worked for me in the past, I seem to procrastinate when I want to start a new promise to myself. Once I get started I do pretty well.
Could you make this a topic for your column?
Dear Reader: Here are some techniques that may help procrastinators change their behavior.
In approaching a difficult task, avoid the tendency to be overwhelmed by its perceived enormity.
Break the task into small parts. Set a goal for each component. Meeting the deadline for some of the easier or smaller parts provides a sense of reward and accomplishment. These efforts encourage and reinforce the willingness to move forward with the next part.
Because setting a deadline is difficult for most procrastinators, writing down the task and the deadline often helps.
Study the task. Accept that parts of the task are more vital than others and must be accomplished first. Learn to prioritize and stick with the priorities.
Utilize help. A procrastinator who is also a perfectionist may be unwilling to delegate duties for fear that they will not be done perfectly. Build trust in other people’s ability to help you.
Avoid interruptions. Work in a setting free from distractions and other commitments because broken concentration can keep you from completing a project.
Structure periodic rewards for yourself. Stretch, take a break and briefly do something you enjoy. Then return to the task at hand.
Make the difficult parts a challenge. Recognize the value of broadening your capabilities, developing new skills, seeking new horizons.
Consider switching to another task if you become bogged down for too long on a particular element of your goal. Make this minutes or hours, not days. Simmering your task on the back burner briefly may not always be procrastination; it can be a time for creativity and intuition.
Begin again when you have a new idea and forge ahead.
Choose your time of day. Your internal clock tells you when your energy and creativity are at peak times.
Try using visualization. Find a quiet place, close your eyes and relax. Visualize yourself starting the unwanted task and working through it successfully.
Many people find that visualizing success can “jump-start” them past their inertia.
Your first goal should be to get started. You mentioned that once you begin a resolution to change, you can keep going. Pick a goal, start soon and you will reap successful results.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2012