Modern Dilemmas: Fear of failure that makes us prisoners of procrastination

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Dear Alex, I have an unnerving habit of putting things off even though I know that its what I should be doing to make my life better! It seems madness but I know I’m doing it and I do it quite often.

How can I stop myself from stopping myself?

Beware the enemy within! That little voice inside your head that tells you to tidy the kitchen instead of making that important phone call, or to wait until the end of May before you start your weight loss programme. Dangerous stuff indeed! Businesses have failed, cities have been lost, tears have fallen because of the simple act of procrastination.

It can creep up on you at any time, even when you’re feeling particularly motivated or excited about a certain event or project. All of a sudden the fog will lower and then for no obvious reason you’ll find yourself distracted by something else, something very insignificant and trivial and the job you should be doing, gets forgotten.

We sabotage our lives with procrastinating. It is one of our biggest self-limiting behaviours that can ruin great opportunities and stop us creating what we dream about. It can give us a bad reputation at work, you can also lose your ambition to succeed in life and you become more stressed out. So why do we do this? It happens for several reasons which relate to the 
fact we fear failing at something and so manifests itself through the following excuses:

The Diversion: This is when 
we face something unpleasant, like a visit to the dentist, or doing our accounts, somehow 
it becomes very appealing to 
start washing the windows instead!

The Perfection: This is when you feel you need to do more research, or get more qualifications before you move ahead. A perfectionist wants things to be perfect, but really its just a delay tactic.

The Re-Think: Is when you say you want to do something but believe there is an easy or better way to do and so you go off and try to find what that is instead of just getting on with it.

The Impossible: You want to find the perfect business partner, for example, but you really don’t think anyone would suit that role. You’re creating the impossible and so it never happens.

The Uncertainty: You feel the need to weigh everything up and look at all your options in more depth, then think about it some more. In the meantime your life is slipping by!

Perhaps you recognise yourself in one of these? No matter how you want to put something off, if you know deep down it would help you to do it, then you need to just dive in.

Twitter @ happinesscoach