Everyone has a dream they are putting off. So how do you stop procrastinating?
We make excuses tied to our circumstances or push it off until tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
That ends today!
I’m going to share with you my four steps to help you stop procrastinating, get off the couch and work toward your goals immediately. If you follow them, I promise you will achieve your goal.
How to Stop Procrastinating
Step 1: Write Down Your Goal
Write it down on a sheet of paper. Sign it, date it and tack it up somewhere you will see it every day, like your bathroom mirror.
Most of us are unclear about what we want. Be specific about your goal, and commit to yourself that you will achieve that goal before the end of this year. Here are some of my commitments:
- I commit to doing 30 burpees before breakfast every morning.
- I commit to leave work by 6 p.m. every day and spend more time with my family.
- I commit to making five cold sales calls before I move on to any other work.
- I commit to cutting junk foods out of my diet.
Mordechai Wiener instituted a policy of “sneakers on” every morning to motivate himself to work out. Adm. William H. McRaven claims that by making your bed every day, you can change the world. These are both simple steps that get your day started the right way and lead you to make better choices.
Now it’s your turn. Commit to one goal and focus on that. It can be anything: I will never take an escalator again. I will never drink soda again. I will go for a walk every morning.
But remember, that goal has to become your “nonnegotiable.”
Step 2: Create a Solid Plan
Create a bulletproof plan for active engagement that moves you toward your goal every day. Talk is cheap; execution is hard.
Human beings procrastinate. We lack follow-through and self-control.
A plan for each day gives you the action that stokes your willpower. Think of it as your system putting your contract into play. Systematic. Automatic. Routine. But also powerful.
Here’s how I plan to achieve my goals:
- I will wake up at 5 a.m. to write at least 500 words of my memoir.
- I will leave work early enough to be home in time to have dinner with my family every night.
- I will tackle my most challenging tasks during the three hours before lunch.
Step 3: Make It Public
Ensure accountability by declaring your intentions to the world.
Studies suggest it’s easier to be accountable to yourself when you let others know the commitment you’re making.
- Tweet your intended goal.
- Post it on your Facebook page.
- Tell your brother-in-law.
- Make a list of the people with whom you will share your plan with and why. This will help keep you on the path toward your true north.
Step 4: Follow a Leader
Emulate someone you respect who has mastered commitment.
A series of studies conducted at the University of Georgia suggests that self-control is contagious. By hanging out with people who exhibit good self-control (or even thinking about someone with good self-control), you can improve your own self-discipline.
In one of the studies, researchers asked 112 volunteers to write about a friend with good self-control or a friend with bad self-control. Later, they tested the same volunteers on their own self-control by tempting them with cookies. Those who wrote about friends with good self-control showed the greatest level of willpower.
Lead author of the study, Michelle vanDellen, says that individuals do not have to share the same goal to be influenced positively by each other’s behavior. Influence crosses subject matter. For example, thinking about someone who demonstrates commitment by working out regularly can make you more likely to stick to your career or financial goals even when self-control gets challenging.
So there you have it—the four steps needed to commit to your goal and get stuff done!
Dedication is what separates the winners from the losers. It’s how you stop procrastinating now and forever. You need to commit to a singular goal and work until you achieve it.
Your talent isn’t going to make you successful—your hard work is.
This post originally appeared on Life.Spartan.com.
Photo credit: Aaron Thomas, Unsplash