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Why Procrastination Sucks and How to Stop It

“I’m going to write a novel.”
“I’m going to school to be an engineer.”
“I’m going to ask my dream girl out.”

While I have no intentions of writing a novel (I write ads all day), becoming an engineer (I have a hard time putting together simple math problems), or asking a girl out any time soon (my girlfriend would kill me), the above quotes are all things I’ve heard friends and acquaintances say over the years that they never actually did. I know guys who talk about accomplishing this and that, but who end up scrapping everything and spending their time playing video games and getting high. I’m sure you do as well.

Knock it off

What do you think about guys like this? Do they strike you as sort of pathetic? Do you wonder why they never actually do what they say they’re going to do? I, for one, lose respect for serial procrastinators, for guys that dream but don’t “do.”

Accomplishment is a confident booster. Realizing your dreams and succeeding at something is a great way to lift up your spirits. You can actually look at yourself in the mirror and think “Damn, I’m kind of badass on occasion.” Procrastination is a confidence killer. If you set out to do something and never actually do it, do you feel good about yourself? If you constantly make goals for yourself and fail to meet them, do you feel like a success?
Unless your goal in life is to be the biggest procrastinator on the planet and look like a complete and utter failure, procrastination is something to be avoided.

How do you avoid becoming a serial procrastinator? Start off by setting goals you can actually accomplish. If you’re 4-foot-10 and haven’t shot a three-pointer in your life, setting a goal to become a pro basketball player isn’t the best idea. Accomplish the impossible is possible on occasion, but it’s best to pursue goals that are within the realm of possibility.

The next step in procrastination cleansing is to actually make steps toward the goal you have in mind. Want to get fit? Stop talking about working out and eating better and start doing it. Join a gym, buy less Double Stuf Oreos, etc. And keep at it. Avoid taking extended breaks from pursuing your goal. It’s still procrastinating if you only go to the gym once a month. That’s not making progress.

Another key in putting an end to procrastination is to limit the amount of goals you’re pursuing. You may want to run a marathon, climb a mountain, read the collected works of Shakespeare, and learn how to make great chili, but it might be too much to pursue at once if you don’t own sneakers, are afraid of heights, can’t understand Early Modern English, and can’t boil water. You can accomplish many goals, but stick to an amount that’s reasonable.

I told my girlfriend I’d start cooking dinner regularly months ago and so far have made us wraps once. I’m going to whip up some sweet freaking lentil soup tonight. She’ll be happy and I’ll feel better. I suggest you start pursuing your goals now and stop putting them off. You can only take your girlfriend out for Chinese so many times.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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