June 2nd, 2013 By: Ash
Frustrating isn’t it?
You’re really stressed out because you know you’ve got to get stuff done but you just can’t get started.
So you just sit there, do a lot of handwringing but not much else.
I’ve been there.
In fact, over the last few months I’ve spent several precious moments agonising over resuming my gym routine which had fallen by the wayside during a particularly busy period at work. Days of absence grew into weeks and weeks into months.
Hours of detailed planning and analysis (paralysis) led to nothing but apathy and guilt around the idea of wasted monthly gym membership fees.
This afternoon when I found myself in the same predicament I decided upon a simple thought experiment – applying mindfulness to the process. This led to 3 very interesting and actionable insights which are at the end of this post.
As I watched my mind I realised there was something more than “planning and analysis” around the gym or not to gym question. Procrastination was lurking beneath. As I watched the procrastination I noticed the beneath it was …
Fear of what?
Fear of going to the gym after a long hiatus?
Fear of failure? (Whatever that means! How do you “succeed” or “fail” at the gym. I couldn’t work it out. There was this irrational fear.)
Eventually it occurred to me that this fear that presents itself just about every single day in my life – fear of the unfamiliar.
Interestingly I feel this fear of the unfamiliar even when it comes to “familiar” stuff. Why? Because everytime I do something it’s in a different context regardless of whether or not I’ve done it before. The events leading up to it are different.
Paradoxically I have spent more energy in my life avoiding the unfamiliar (and going to great extents to do this) rather than just acknowledge the fear and take action.
I went to the gym – something I could have and should have done months ago. It was such a no brainer in retrospect. There was no need for the protracted thinking and pontification and guilt. But I did learn something very important in the process which I will apply to all my fear based limitations:
Ultimately awareness is the answer to a lot of questions. It doesn’t always give me a direct or immediate answer but it is critical to the sustainable long term change.
How do you deal with procrastination? When was the last time you were found yourself paralysed with the fear that procrastination seems to bring with it? What did you do? Share your thoughts in the comments section. I’d love to hear from you.
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