Hello. My name is Mickey, and I am a procrastinator. As I write this, I am already late for my self-imposed deadline to finish this article. This is me, sharing with you, one of my (many) faults. I did all the right things to prepare myself to meet my deadline. I carved out time on my calendar, set a notification reminder, and muted my phone. Yet, here I am, late again.
When I worked for someone else, which I did for the prior 30+ years of my career, I could always be counted on to complete my work well ahead of schedule. Even then though, there were things I dragged my feet on. It just seems REALLY self-defeating now though, as I am my own boss.
The Gap. I know I am not alone in this. Most of us experience the biggest gap that exists in the world; the gap between knowing and doing. We humans have been struggling with this gap since the beginning of time. Even Aristotle wrote about it saying something to the effect that to be excellent we cannot simply think or feel excellent, we must act excellently. Yet the acting and doing is the hardest part. It’s why so many business owners or managers make a promise to themselves on Sunday night as they go to bed, they will NOT work 12+ hours a day, every day this week, again. Yet when next Sunday night comes around, they find themselves making the same promise, again.
The Fix. So how do we fix this? We want to make a change. We want to be better, faster, smarter, more accomplished. But how? In order to make lasting change, we must change what we do on a daily basis. Researchers estimate that 75 – 90% of our behaviors take place outside of our conscious awareness. That means we go about our day largely on autopilot. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If we had to consciously make decisions about everything we do in a day, we’d be exhausted before we even finished our morning coffee.
But what about those autopilot actions that are not serving us well; the ones that are holding us back from achieving what we really want. How do we make a change?
You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know. First, we must become aware. We must look within, in order to change what’s happening on the outside. Becoming aware of your choices, how you automatically react to situations, and events, will help guide you to realizing you can choose a different response. And when you become aware, and make a choice that differs from your past, self-limiting behaviors, you are forming new habits.
Practice Makes Perfect. Habits are like financial investing. It can be painful to make the investment, and the process will be slow at first, but over time, you will reap the benefits for years to come. It takes persistence and determination, but it’s so worth it. So start, today.