One thing is absolutely clear, and we all know it deep down, that procrastination (the art of putting off) is hateful and harmful in the long run. Research has shown that those with a tendency to procrastinate are more stressed and therefore have a lower sense of wellbeing in both body and spirit. It is likely you will also become frustrated at yourself in the future.
In many aspects of our lives it is a far better option not to think about it too much - to stop procrastinating. It is often better to pay that bill up-front or on time, it could possibly save us money and knowing it is paid decreases the stress. How many of us have regretted not meeting up with that old friend or going on that blind date? Should have not thought about it - should have just done it! The same goes for our health and fitness - you know in the long run it is better for our minds and our bodies, so why not just do it?
Telling a serious procrastinator to ‘just do it’ as Nike would say, is like asking a depressed person to cheer up - its not going to work! Lots of small steps are required to break the habit of procrastination - no leaping required here!
Motivation - Whether it’s dieting, health or fitness you need a motivation. Is it to complete an ultra-marathon or to make it around the block with the dog without keeling over? You may be looking forward to a wedding day or just want to treat yourself to a new wardrobe, you might even desire to change your whole life - whatever your motivation happens to be it is important to have one. Why are you looking for change and what will you do with it once you have it?
Bite size pieces - Whatever your motivation you need to make sure your goal is tackled in small chunks. Ultra marathon runners need to increase the mileage weekly and monthly, they cannot go straight out and run 50 miles! Dieting requires huge commitments and effort so must be tackled in small chunks - make small alterations to your diet and exercise regimes and each week or month make more changes.
Enjoyment - It is very important that you make your changes enjoyable - run with groups or use the alone time to listen to your favourite music or audio book. Meet up with other dog owners and walk together. Removing bread and cakes from your diet - find a healthy option that you genuinely enjoy.
Consistency - The best programme, whether it’s for fitness or dieting, is the one that forms a habit. A key to success in these areas is being able to make the changes and eventually do them without thinking. The best way is to do it often - as much as you can and at the same times if possible. Walk the dog for 45 minutes every morning at 6:30 or go for that run every Monday, Wednesday and Friday - just form a habit and panic if sometimes your routine is broken. Again it must be enjoyable so don't let it completely rule your life but always make the real positive choice. Although going to the cinema might be preferable to going for a run, try to arrange your life so you can do both.
Convenience - Everybody says ‘I don't have time’ or its ‘too much hassle’. It doesn't have to be. Walk to the shops rather than drive, or buy a weeks worth of smoothie ingredients - plan ahead and things don't seem so difficult to plan into your daily life.
Reward - Plan your goal but also plan your reward - I’m going to complete that 10km run in 6 months time - after that 10km run I'm going to go away for a few days with my partner. If you have a specific goal and a reward for completion then write them down along with the step-by-step plan to achieve that goal.
Get started - Do it now - walk round the block, do one press up, put your shoes on and run 20 miles, put down the beer and grab something green and fresh. Whatever your goal it can be achieved. Stop procrastinating and at least attempt it. Better to attempt and fail than not attempt at all.