THE SOURCE OF PROCRASTINATION
This may sound familiar: you want to start a project and want to reach a positive goal. However, you put off getting started, because each time you try taking action, for some unknown reason, you experience feelings of distress, confusion and fear. You try to use willpower, but it does not work. Gradually, you start losing motivation and enthusiasm. And eventually you wind up dreading the idea of starting that project, since it involves too much effort and strain.
The source of procrastination, is a subconscious destructive belief about fear of failure, insecurity, or a feeling of unworthiness and perfectionism, all linked to past negative experiences. If some of these memories are too painful, the mind chooses to repress them.
It may even go back to the time when you were still in the womb, when you absorbed negative emotions, your mother might have experienced during her pregnancy. If you were under the age of 7, considering your mind was not able to filter all information you received, most likely you perceived a harmless event to be distressing. This left a disturbing impression in your mind, and your subconscious brain imprinted it as a negative experience. Today, renowned neuroscientists, including Professor Gary Schwartz, suggest there are scientific based facts, showing that we record such destructive memories and false perceptions, not only in the brain, but in the tissues, organs and cells in the body, as well. These “Cellular Memories,” carry the imprints of every experience which has ever happened to us, and the way we felt about each one, like files stored within a computer.
IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT
You have a conscious intention to change your life in a positive way, but you feel stuck, unable to take the necessary action toward a goal. The positive side is that you are not dealing with laziness, lack of discipline, poor determination, or willpower. There is nothing wrong with you, or your skills and mental abilities. The cause of your delaying pattern, is connected to these destructive memories!
Let me bring a metaphor that will give you the whole picture. You love painting, and you have a dream of becoming a famous painter. However, when you were a child, your school’s art projects were poor, your art teacher often stated that you had no talent, therefore, you could never become a successful artist. You experienced a feeling of rejection! Even though this comment might have been wrong, you perceived it as true. This painful memory was recorded in your brain and tissues of your body, and eventually became a subconscious false belief, even if you forgot all about it and went on with your life!
YOUR INNER ALARM SYSTEM
Now as an adult, all the times you try to take the first step towards this goal, somehow, you feel blocked. Without you being aware of, an alarm goes off in your body, preventing you from taking any action. If you are sabotaging a project and putting off getting started, over and over, you are not doing it deliberately. These subconscious negative patterns are keeping you from moving forward and follow through.
Their function is to protect you from experiencing rejection and failure all over again, preventing you from getting hurt. So, even if you forgot some traumatic experiences, their memories still exist deep within your mind and in your cells. They act like a fear-based, defense mechanism, going off into the body, all the time you try to take action. They are always running in the background, like a hidden computer virus. Each time they emit their protective warning signal, the body triggers the autonomic stress response (“fight-or-flight”). Many harmful stress hormones and chemicals, like adrenaline and cortisol, are released into the body. The immune system is temporarily shut off, to divert the whole available energy toward the external threat. Blood flows away from the digestive system and from the brain, to the muscles, preparing to deal with the challenge. The body reacts as if the threat is real, even if a factual threat does not exist. In a moment like this, it is hard to think rationally, and it is easier to retreat and give up. If this occurs repeatedly, it not only affects your personal success, but in the long run, it has a damaging impact on our health as well.
HEALING THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Here is the tricky part: merely becoming aware of an unconscious fear or a negative memory, does not resolve your tendency to procrastinate. Neither can you get rid of these inner fears and insecurities, by simply applying willpower, commitment or discipline, which are functions of the cognitive, rational brain. The subconscious mind is much more powerful and stronger than the conscious one. It runs your actions, even if you are not aware of it. It always prevails over the conscious mind!
So in order to resolve your procrastination problem, you need to heal the root cause. You need to reprogram the wrong “software” stored in the computer of your mind and body. You need to heal those negative, limiting beliefs, and transform them into healthy, positive ones! There are successful and scientifically proven ways to achieve this:
1) The most powerful and effective way to reprogram the negative subconscious conditioning is using Hypnotherapy. It allows you to reach the subconscious mind directly, and communicate with it in its own language. Through hypnosis you can neutralize destructive memories and false beliefs which trigger the body’s stress response. You can replace them with positive, true beliefs, completely re-hardwiring the brain.
2) Another way to reach some results, is considering of taking very tiny bits of actions. For example: your goal is to exercise every day to reduce weight. Imposing these unrealistic expectations on your mind, will trigger the stress response in your body. To avoid this, and at the same time take some action, you can start by putting your gym clothes on, (do not put your running shoes on yet), as if you were to go to the gym. But instead stay home, keep your gym outfit on, and eat breakfast as regularly. Do this for few days. After few days, your subconscious mind has become familiar with this new routine, and since further action was taken, it feels safe. Next time, after putting your gym clothes on, you can also put your running shoes on, and still stay home for few days. Now, after putting your outfit and shoes on, you can take your car keys out of your purse, and place them near the door.
Then continue with your breakfast or your morning chores. If you have some gym equipment at home, you can wear your gym outfit and shoes, and take your breakfast to the treadmill. Step on your treadmill and eat your breakfast, without switching the machine on.
Even if you have taken small new actions, your subconscious mind does not feel threatened, and there will be no stress response. Do not be impatient. Eventually, after many microscopic actions, you will reach the point when you will feel subconsciously safe and comfortable to go to the gym, so you can start exercising for real, and enjoying it. This will feel like an inspired action, rather than an unpleasant activity. You have succeeded to reprogram your beliefs in your subconscious mind.
3) NLP and visualizations are also effective way to reach results. You can do a visualization, every night before going to sleep, visualizing yourself at the gym, exercising, feeling totally safe and enjoying it, until you feel that something has shifted, as if a block has been cleared!
Once that your subconscious mind has been re-hardwired, you will feel and start to act differently. You will feel positive, enthusiastic, inspired, motivated, confident of succeeding, when thinking of a goal that you want to reach! Rather than dreading to take action, the idea of moving forward, will feel like fun!
It brings you a sense of peace and relief, rather than of effort. From that point on, you will feel as if you are moving downstream, with no strain or resistance. You will notice that small synchronicities will start to manifest, around you. You will start to attract little miracles regularly, positive things and people will show up in your life, all conspiring for you and helping you to move forward, toward your dreams! It will feel as if you are on the right path! All the other steps will follow effortlessly.