Are you a procrastinator? An Eleventh hour wonder perhaps? Or do you simply avoid doing those tiresome tasks that nobody ever wants to do other than the obsessive-compulsive cleaning club scout types? Or are you a little of all of these? I certainly am.
In the past I’ve seen my procrastination as more evidence of my laziness; my inability to commit and my fear of getting it wrong. I think these 3 limiting beliefs have possibly held me back my whole life.
If I could be bothered, I would look closer at my innate need to put everything off (maybe tomorrow) but for now I want to focus on something bigger it eludes to; time. The stuff we think is infinite and worth procrastinating because of its apparent excess.
Have you ever found yourself thinking any of the following?
I’ll start my diet on Monday.
I’ll start exercising tomorrow.
I’ll ring them back later.
I’ll visit them another day.
I’m just too tired; I don’t think I’ll go, even though I said I would be there.
Not now; Mummy’s too busy.
Ssshhhh I’m trying to watch this.
I really should go see my parents.
I can’t possibly get it all done in time.
There are literally thousands of sayings in the procrastinator’s handbook but they all boil down to thinking we have time. And we might. We may get years to write that book or repair that rift in a friendship or to visit that loved one. Yet so many people don’t get that time or the chance they wanted or assumed they had.
Actions get left undone; words get left unsaid and purpose becomes unfulfilled.
So how do we make it count? How do we live purposeful, productive lives that matter? How do we end this cycle of procrastination and do what we say we would?
The word intention comes to mind. For every action there is an intention. But not every intention leads to action.
Christmas is upon us again and this is often stressful because we get our priority of time wrong.
We spend too much time shopping for more useless stuff for people, and often this is to make up for the fact we feel guilty we haven’t spent enough quality time with that particular person and we think a gift will make up for that lack of time.
I love to make people a wee special gift just for them; whether that’s a card, a cake or a present. And while I make them something, I think about that person and put my Aroha into that gift or letter. That way, the receiver knows I’ve thought of them with love. As the years go by I’ve learnt it’s more about spending time with someone than buying them a gift. It’s about saying I love you not buying a ‘something’ that affirms that affection.
It’s reminding myself to message a friend if I haven’t seen them to say I’ve been thinking about them.
It’s making time for people I value and knowing one day there won’t be that opportunity.
It’s about making time for me to self care. It’s not about leaving me to last and using the excuse that I don’t have time for me to exercise or cook nutritious food. Because what we place value on, we make time for.
And this is a painful lesson for me to acknowledge because there are many people and occasions I haven’t prioritised and I never got the chance again. I feel sad when I look at my graveyard of lost opportunities and dreams that I allowed to die from self doubt, procrastination and fear. What could we achieve if we knew we couldn’t fail? If there was nothing standing in our way? Often the biggest obstacle between us and fulfilling our dreams is ourselves. We are the critic that is standing and pointing; saying I’m not good enough or who do I think I am. I allow fear and doubt to hijack my dream bus and drive it straight into a brick wall. And I justify it by saying there’s always another time.
I think the time is now my friends. To do the things I’ve always wanted to do.
When I was at my biggest I always said in my head about anything I was afraid to do; I’ll do that when I’ve lost the weight. For example I always claimed that I’ll travel when I’m slim enough. And I very nearly forgot that commitment to myself when I lost my weight. Life started getting busy and my renewed sense of energy was used to working more, rehearsing more and buying more.
There came a point when I was reminded of this and I committed to doing just that. This year has seen me visit 5 countries and next year I want more of the same. Visiting other countries and cultures has made me grateful for what I have and the people in my life. I am blessed to have had the means to do this. I sold a lot of my wardrobe to do it and that felt amazing. Selling stuff in order to be able to create memories has been one of my biggest lessons this year and I will fully embrace it next year too. After all my house is still very, very full and as I look around I see many a trip that could be had. I’ve been saying for 15 years that I would visit my oldest bestie in England and I put it off like mopping the floor. I think if I go to England I’ll need to do Italy and France and Ireland and Scotland and the list becomes so overwhelming that I don’t go. When in actual fact the purpose is to make the time to see my dear friend and that only requires a ticket to London. That’s it. I don’t need to complicate it by adding another dozen daunting destinations. I just need to create the resources to spending time with my friend whose been like a sister to me since we were 4.
That’s the real priority and my goal for 2019. I prioritise irrelevant things for the sake of what gives my life purpose and meaning; friendship being one. I am going to make a conscious effort to make time for what’s important in my life. And that starts with me. I’m not a second guess that I’ll make time for if there’s a spare 5 minutes at the end of the day. I am making time to self care. To eat well. To exercise. To meditate. To write. To connect with loved ones. I’ve given enough of my time to shopping and not even considered being grateful for what I already had.
I’m writing a gratitude book and let I’ve let my fear of it not being good enough to stop me from finishing it. Watch this space as I can’t wait to share it with you all. Gratitude has been a huge game changer in my life. Those of you who have been on a FOHL retreat will know how and why gratitude is so important to me. And it can be for you to. Make time each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
So I’ll end 2018 by saying I’m grateful for this space to reflect and you guys actually reading it. I’m grateful to the people I love who enrich my life. I’m grateful to my retreat family who have helped me be a better me and believed in me, even when I haven’t. Finally I’m grateful to myself for digging deep on my courage this year and embraced my imperfections and can stand proud and say “I am enough”.
Merry Christmas to all of you. May this time of year bring happiness, peace and serenity. And here’s to a bringer new year in 2019. Blessings xx