Overcoming the Human Nature of Procrastination
Procrastination, avoidance, denial – there are many words to describe the human nature of avoiding hard work or confronting a problem. For fitness training it can be particularly difficult to get started and stay on track with a training schedule. There’s always something; the weather, not enough time, I’ll start next week etc, to give you any excuse for avoiding getting out there and getting your heart pounding.
We all have problems in our lives or things that concern us but surprisingly it’s the lack of confronting those problems that make them larger. When we ignore our issues they tend to snowball in our subconscious until they become much larger than they should be and cause us angst and anxiety. It seems like human nature to generally avoid facing any problems until we absolutely have to. This is the basic definition of procrastination and unless we focus on it and make sure it is “front and centre” in our thinking we will let it slowly ruin our fitness regimes and restrict our ability to make positive changes. There are some helpful tools that we can use against this human nature and procrastination to maintain focus and direction in starting our fitness regimes.
Firstly, it begins with honesty. If you are to ever get started on the road to fitness and weight loss it must begin with an open, frank and honest chat with yourself about your current state. This is essential, as it will provide the core building block from which your lifestyle change will be constructed. Remember this is not a scary, destabilising process but rather the first step on a deeper realisation of yourself and whether you’re actually satisfied with your current state of physical fitness. It’s not negative that you may have let yourself slip – there are millions of reasons for why we can “fall off the wagon” and it doesn’t in any way indicate that you are an evil person for doing so – it’s just a healthy mental step towards getting to know yourself better to make some positive changes.
Once you have reached this state of mind it really is very easy. You must take the time to plan an appropriate workout schedule. Get some help with this, talk to your friends, colleagues, anyone – it is human nature to feel supported and encouraged by getting help with the planning process. And let’s face it, if you’ve been out of the “fitness game” for a while then things have likely changed in terms of which workout style will suit you best. During this process, make sure that you carve out enough uninterrupted time during your week. You must take this planning process seriously because it is the vital second step towards a healthier version of yourself and will get you further away from the procrastinating, denial-based state that you were in before.
Finally, once you have your plan, all the anxiety and angst associated with “getting started” will be gone!! You will be surprised that the procrastination and anxiousness will be replaced by excited anticipation!! Once we have a goal and a plan, it is our human nature to feel contented and satisfied in carrying it out. It’s kind of like all the hard mental work has been done and now it’s down to the simple, beautiful act of just getting physical. And the positive feedback reinforcement loop that you will experience once you start to see some results will keep you forging ahead. So what are you waiting for – get honest and bust out of the land of procrastination!
Mealnie Dugan is interested in all things mind and body and the reason behind the differences in our human natures.