Why Do I Put off Things I know I should do? Putting off until later what should be done right now is widely known as procrastination. Napoleon Hill put it this way; “Procrastination is the bad habit of putting off until the day after tomorrow what should have been done the day before yesterday.”
Since time began, men and women have put off activities, big or small, that could have made significant positive impacts in their lives. Many have missed huge opportunities for success by putting off simple tasks such as sending a letter off, replying an email or making a phone call.
Likewise, some persistently put off making crucial decisions relating to their future, even though they are fully aware of the high consequences they are likely to bring upon themselves if delayed. Hence, rare opportunities for progress and contribution are missed.
As Wayne Gretzky said, “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” While many of us know that procrastination is bad for us, what we end up doing is to procrastinate when we want to deal with our bad habit of procrastination. But the question still remains; why do we put off things we know for sure need to be done?
Through my experience working with clients of different backgrounds and psychological conditions, I have come across different reasons why people procrastinate, some of which are conscious while others are unconscious.
Let’s look at a few of them briefly.
Fear is the one of the main reasons people procrastinate – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of succeeding, etc. If you are afraid of failure, rejection or success, your one and only defence mechanism is procrastination – as it enables you not to get started on the path on which you are unwilling to tread.
Here is something important to also bear in mind: The fear of facing the big things in our lives, such as major decisions, projects, or challenging actions, often forces us to start procrastinating on small things as well. We simply allow the minor tasks to remain uncompleted in order to justify our fear of moving unto the major tasks.
We feel better about not doing the major tasks if we leave few minor tasks floating around uncompleted. Appearing busy on minor things somehow helps keep our mind away from those main things in our lives we dread to face, even though we know they are supposed to be prioritised.
Laziness is another reason people procrastinate. Laziness is an intimate companion of procrastination. But as we all know, laziness does not just exist without a cause; it is usually the effect of a hidden cause – lack of clarity of purpose or goals for living. If there is no clarity of purpose for living, there will be no motivation to get much done. If you do not know what you are looking for, why waste your time getting out of bed to search for it?
Humans are goal seeking beings. We become energised, creative and motivated when there is a worthy goal to strive towards. It is worthy goals that keep humans alive; without it we begin to die. We start to deteriorate, emotionally, mentally and physically, the moment there is no worthy goal to aspire towards. Therefore, laziness is merely an external interpretation of our internal lack of purpose.
Now, here is the untaught reason for procrastination; and I call it, Subconscious Blueprint.
Subconscious Blueprint is your life operating principles, ingrained on the surface of your subjective mind. It is a set of beliefs which have now formed your psychic makeup or your belief system. This bunch of beliefs basically set the height to which you can attain in life. In order to fully capture the picture I am attempting to paint here, let me say something briefly about the mind.
Your mind possesses two unique departments; the conscious and the subconscious mind; in other words, the surface self and the deep self. You interact with your environment through your conscious mind (thoughts, words, actions); but it is your subconscious mind that decides how you go about these interactions and what kind of things, people and situations get attracted into your life. In other words, the contents of your subconscious mind (your blueprint) decide the quality of your life experiences.
Your conscious mind is the gateway into your subconscious mind. What does that mean? It means that it is your conscious thoughts that shape your subconscious blueprint. Your subconscious blueprint is self-built – you are the builder while your thoughts are the building blocks. That is why it is crucial to pay attention to your dominant thoughts. Through habitual thinking of your conscious thoughts, you programme your subconscious mind, which then becomes your life operating commands or your subconscious conditioning. You basically become what you keep thinking about.
Now, regarding procrastination, you will always put off any action that negates your subconscious conditioning or your life blueprint. What do I mean? Any action that is not consistent with your existing belief system (your subconscious blueprint) is bound to be resisted by the forces of your subconscious mind, regardless of whether it is a positive action or a negative one. Because of the way your subconscious mind is conditioned, you are instinctively supposed to procrastinate on everything unless it is in alignment with your subconscious blueprint.
For example, if your financial blueprint says, “you are not smart enough to be wealthy,” you will keep postponing any identified positive actions that might be connecting you to wealth. Why? Because it is contrary to your financial blueprint. Likewise, if your health blueprint says, “you deserve to be fat and weak because your life is a failure,” you will continue to put off exercising or going on a diet. Because it is incongruent with your subconscious blueprint, it is therefore must be opposed and repelled by your deep self. The subconscious mind is never rational or thoughtful; it is only faithful to keep the already established status quo. That is why even if you manage to get started on any of those incongruent positive actions, it won’t be long before you quit, because it is in disagreement with your deep self.
You should also remember that you do not have to be consciously aware of your blueprint, as it is seated in your subconscious mind, below your conscious awareness. You can only see or hear it through the images of yourself you sometimes see in your imagination and through the instinctive inner chattering about yourself that you often hear in your mind.
In my opinion, Subconscious blueprint is responsible for more than 92% of all humans’ procrastinations. Once your blueprint is established, your brain automatically creates a neurological pathway of least resistance, meaning that, you will only be motivated to do those tasks that are in harmony with your subconscious blueprint, most of which will be fun and easy, as they are not threats to your blueprint in any case. That is why many with negative financial blueprint, that says, why trying, you are not smart enough to succeed anyway?,” would rather watch TV all day long than to work, write, ready, pray, sell or exercise; because wasting their valuable time is inharmonious with their financial blueprint than taking positive action steps that lead to prosperity.
Key to Freedom
But here is the good news; you can re-write your subconscious blueprint. You can alter your subconscious conditioning. How do you do that? By adopting the same method that created your negative blueprint – repetition of thoughts, but this time around ensure you choose your thoughts carefully. Only focus on those positive thoughts about what you desire in your life.
As Napoleon His rightly said, “Any idea, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought,” so simply write down all the positive things you desire in your life and read them out loud to yourself with great conviction at least twice every day until they are filtered into your subconscious mind.
Through habitual thinking, focussing and concentrating on your desired positive outcomes, you will displace the old deep-seated belief system and create a new positive one. When this happens, procrastinating whatever is important to fulfil your new positive belief system becomes impossible.
The energy to accomplish that which is in harmony with your subconscious blueprint becomes primordial or original to your being. In fact, the energy of the subconscious mind itself will ensure you consistently move towards the directions of your mental blueprint. You become action oriented, with a strong sense of urgency for the results that are consistent with your goals.
Begin now to implement the suggestions above and reconstruct your life blueprint. When you do, you will break the back bones of procrastination on those things that matter to your happiness and success.
Keep living, loving and learning! And I will see you at the TOP!
P.S: For anxiety attacks, panic attacks, depression, chronic stress, OCD, GAD and other anxiety disorders, download a FREE StepBy-Step Anxiety Recovery Manual here.