If It’s Important, Why Are You Putting It Off?


As you read the title, where did your thoughts go? What did your mind automatically think of? What are you thinking about right now as you read on? Most of us have something in our lives that we want to change, want to acquire, want to aspire to or want to rid ourselves of. Sometimes we go after these things, sometimes we put them off.

Presumably you have wanted whatever you are thinking of for some time now. Maybe it’s losing weight, leaving your abusive partner, getting a job; maybe a better job. Almost always what you want is in some way a beginning or fresh start. Although you have wanted, ‘it’ for a long time, you also concede that you’re not doing what is required to realize it. The logical consequence of this inaction may be feeling disappointed in yourself, beating yourself up for not having the courage to actually take the initiative. Perhaps you’ve even taken false starts in the past, like losing two pounds and feeling good but then putting on four pounds and feeling depressed and let down.

I could easily share with you tools which would help you get started, such as implementing SMART goals, (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound). I might suggest putting up a, ‘to do’ list, a calendar to record progress; I could encourage you to share your goals with others so you have a supportive network of people to keep you on track. There are in fact many ideas I and others like me, could share with you to get you going. I suspect however that you aren’t in need of this kind of information.

No, it occurs to me that you have a different kind of need. You see it’s easier than ever to get resource materials etc. that can track your progress and encourage you. You could join a gym, hire a job coach, look into upgrading at colleges and universities. There is no shortage of places you can go, people you can talk with, help you can buy. You probably have the intelligence to either already know who you need to talk with or where you can get the help you are after, or you have the skills to find that help. That’s not your issue.

Your issue it appears is harder to nail down. Intellectually you know you’d be better off losing that 20 pounds for example. Your doctor has told you, the mirror tells you every day, your eyes tell you, your tight pants tell you, the closet of, ‘clothes I hope to wear one day’ tells you. There is no shortage of external indicators. As for a new job, your bank account isn’t as high as you’d like, the challenge and thrill of the job you have now are long gone and it’s getting harder to drag yourself in.

And yet, despite all the signs (or warnings) you life goes on and with each day that passes you find yourself still as far from your desired goal at bedtime as you were when you awoke that same morning. Maybe tomorrow? Not likely.

I’m not being pessimistic, I’m being a realist. What’s going to happen during the course of the day that is going to be so remarkable that it’s going to have a major impact on you and jolt you into action? A heart attack? Getting fired? Facing eviction? Getting dumped? One of those might do the trick but a heart attack isn’t likely to happen, nor would we wish it upon ourselves just as a wake up call to get going!

Our decision to start has to be founded on the belief that what it is we want is more valuable than the pain and/or effort it is going to require to get it. Often we want something, but honestly the effort just seems too much, and the status quo; doing nothing, appeals infinitely more appealing. So with weight loss, we might know losing 20 pounds would be a good thing, and we might want to actually lose it. However, losing it might require strain, discomfort, pain, embarrassment of being sweaty at the gym and being ridiculed or laughed at. It’s so much easier to just stay on the couch and turn on the television. Next, we’re sipping diet soda and trying to convince ourselves that diet soda is better for us than regular soda. Progress right? Wrong; and we know it.

On the other hand, we might want a new job, understand that it’s going to take research, networking, going to interviews, writing more effective cover letters and resumes, making follow-up calls and facing rejection from some employers in order to get it. We might further believe that it will be worth all the work if and when we are offered that job, and the benefits it will bring will quickly make all that hard work all the more worthwhile. In this example, we begin.

So what are you putting off? What’s important to you and how important is it really? Are you willing to let go of, ‘wanting’ it if it means continuing to avoid the necessary work to get it? If you want it enough, does that mean you are willing to put in the hard work it will take to obtain it?

Get going! Take one single step today – now – that moves you a tad closer to what you want. It has to start with you.

 

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