Why do we procrastinate on the things we really want ?
I’ve just wrapped up the most amazing coaching call with a client and I thought it was good the perfect timing to write about this topic and ride on the wave of inspiration I got from it!
We were talking about a change in career, actually a whole lifestyle change from working a 12 hours/day job in a prestigious company in the City to moving to the countryside in a farm, have a lot of kids and animals, cooking and enjoying a slower and less structured rhythm of life.
She had her vision crystal clear, she knew exactly what she wanted down to every detail but she had no clue on how to move from the current situation and turn her life around 360°. It felt crazy scary and the path to get there very confused.
Quickly the topic went on motivation and what drives us to take the actions we take to accomplish the things in our lives.
Our motivation comes from different sources and helps us get up in the morning and go through our days, getting things done .
For example If I look back at my primary school years, I could see that as a genuinely curious little girl I really enjoyed studying and learning, it never felt like a chore and it actually felt really comforting.
When you learn something new at that age, it feels like a game, you don’t have expectations or attachment to the end results because you’re fully present and you’re just in the experience itself.
Growing up I started to notice how adults around me where very happy when I did well, like my parents or teachers, so I started to experience external validation that came when I had a good grade or I was behaving as a “good girl”. And I liked that, I wanted to make people happy so it seemed like a good deal , hello people pleasing !
So growing up my own motivation started to derive more and more from this external confirmations I had, even if at the time I wasn’t conscious of it .
This is just an example of one source of motivation that often lead us to do things we don’t want to do just because we think we should , and we end up doing it pretty well.
Other times we do things out of our moral values, what we believe it’s important , like our sense of responsibility towards society. But even in that case it’s important to notice, where does it come from ?
Do you feel like you have to finish everything you start because it makes you feel good or because it’s just “the way” things should be done ?
So then the question is :
Why on earth we’re so good at accomplishing all these things we hardly care about, and we procrastinate so much on doing what we love?
Some of the reasons that comes up in my personal life and coaching practice are :
- Fear of uncertainty ! When you do something for yourself , especially when it’s a big change it implies so much risk, we have no idea how it will look like because we haven’t experience it before and it’s not part of our usual “patterns of behaviour “
- Impact on other people . How will the others react to us doing the new thing? And also , how will I get motivated If I have no one giving me a prize when I reach a goal?
- In some cases I think procrastination is actually a good thing, it may be a way our intuition is asking us “Do you really want that ?” . When your body resist to it for a long time, and the vision of it doesn’t feel expansive to you, maybe it’s your subconscious telling you that it’s not right for you, even if it looks amazing from the outside. It's another occasion to look inside and check in with your intuition to know if it's right for YOU, and the more appealing it looks from the outside, the harder is to say NO.
But one reason that I want to share with you today, it’s about looking at your motivation from a different prospective. Not all the goals can be reached in the same way, with the same energy.
I would add : You cannot reach a YIN vision, with a YANG attitude!
We’re used to think that the only way to reach results is the masculine, go getter attitude of pushing and striving to achieve it. We get attached to the “plan”, to creating a step-by-step process that will guide us inevitably from A to Z , but it doesn’t always work like that unfortunately ( or luckily I would say ;-)
When what we desire comes straight from our heart, from our inner voice, it often means we’re imagining something new and disruptive. Something no one else has done before, or at least that you have never done before .
You know that Einstein quote that says :
"Insanity : Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Especially when it’s a radical change in lifestyle , you cannot apply the usual “yang” way to obtain it. When the goal is feminine, soft and “yin” also the process to get there must follow the same energy.
Sometimes we want something so much that we create our own blocks to get there, our fear build walls with resistence and rigidity.
What to do in these cases ?
WE let go. Seat back and allow things to unfold. The Universe responds with the same energy you put out , so when you relax and finally get into receiving mode, things come to you effortlessly and in bigger and greater ways than you could have imagined. Our mind has limits, it want to figure out all the steps to protect you from past mistakes, and that’s normal, but it's in these cases that we should tune in and reinforce our "let go muscle" over and over again.
So a key element is TRUST. Just learning to navigate the uncertainty and be ok with how it feels and let yourself be guided each step of the way.
I know it's easier said than done, but the more you trust, the easier it gets :-)
Any thoughts on this topic? What's one area of your life in which you're procrastinating? Why do you think you're doing that? I'm looking forward to hear your thoughts in the comments below !