Even the best of us procrastinate sometimes. We are not programmed to do things that are hard for us. We’re creatures of habit. Creatures of comfort.
Almost everything we do, we do it to be in a state of comfort. And when we reach a satisfactory level of comfort, we stay there. We procrastinate doing things out of our comfort zone.
I’ve been there.
You’ve been there.
We’ve all been there.
In the last 6 months or so, I can’t think of a time when I’ve procrastinated.
So many times, this happened organically without really thinking about it. I was lucky in some ways.
But that made me think deeper into why it was I stopped procrastinating, and it all came down to the 3 things that follow.
I should point out that none of these tips are new. Everyone talks about them. But I’ll share my own experience in hopes to illustrate just how good these tips are.
Sunk Cost Bias
This is a powerful one, and really, everyone knows it, but maybe doesn’t recognize it enough.
A sunk cost is a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered.
Think about memberships. A gym membership is a good example.
You know why a yearly membership at anything sucks?
A year is just too long a period for a brain to “remember” the sunk cost. That’s why when you sign up for the gym in January, you stop going one or two months after.
It’s not frequent enough. By paying monthly, you’re always reminded that you are sinking money into the membership, therefore you’re more prone to do it.
I signed up for the gym in January. I went to the priciest gym in Málaga. Truth be told, I couldn’t really afford it. And that’s the point.
I had to do it. I sacrificed spending money on other things so I could afford it. I had to go.
15 days in, I wanted to go. It wasn’t just that I needed to. Now that it’s expired, I miss it. But I’ve built so much momentum that I created a fitness routine for myself that I can do from home.
But think about it though.
Think about things you’ve spent money on vs things you haven’t. Which one were you more motivated to do.
And it doesn’t have to just be money either. Anything that’s high stakes for you. Money is easy since it’s measurable, but basically anything you don’t want to part with should work.
I’ve seen that almost on a daily basis back at the co-working space I was working from back in Málaga.
I accidentally started a fitness group last month.
I was so motivated in my fitness that I also did 100 pushups after work. That was a friend’s idea, which he had not executed on. But seeing me do it, he shortly joined in on my efforts.
Then people started joining. We grew from 2 “members” to 15 in one month.
And every morning, there was at least one person who didn’t feel like doing it. But then they see 7 other people go. And all of a sudden, they wanted to do it. They weren’t alone. The other’s motivation inspired them to also do it.
You see that effect in any team-based sport.
You see that effect in offices.
You see that everywhere.
A party where you’re alone is a freaking boring party. You just want to leave.
Surround with like-minded people. Be accountable. Accomplish things with other people. Share your victories.
The Point Of No Return
One of my favourite, but a harder one to pull off.
I’ll give three quick examples:
- Getting a mortgage to buy a house;
- Investing in your business or that of someone else; or
- Having a baby.
Once you receive your mortgage, it’s go-time. You have to buy the house. The only way you’ll rid of the debt is by selling the house back. That requires a lot of time and effort.
It’s easier to go forward than go backward from there.
That is the key here. Going backward being the harder choice of the two.
If you open up a physical store, you have to buy all the equipment in order to be operational. As soon as you buy, the material depreciates in value. Selling it back comes at a cost you’re likely not willing to pay.
What are some of the points of no return you’ve had in your life?
Did you procrastinate?
Do you ever intentionally create points of no return for yourself?
So I challenge you here.
The next time you have a goal you’d like to accomplish but are prone to procrastinate working towards it, think about these 3 tips.
When planning for executing your goal, answer these questions:
Can you sink money, or something else you care for into the process of achieving your goal? Like a membership for examples.
Can you find a partner or a group of people to do it with?
Can you make it so it’s harder to go backward than to go forward?
If you can do all these 3 things, it’s almost guaranteed you won’t procrastinate.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing ! :)