Strategies for Overcoming Procrastination, Stop Procrastinating Today!

Sometimes things can be tiring, but putting them off is exhausting!

Man SleepingOf all challenges for people, I suspect procrastination is the most common of common denominators.
Think about it, how many people do you know who never struggle with putting things off? How about yourself? Is it a problem for you? In my own life, I’ve dealt with many of my own shortcomings; but until this year the one thing I’ve put off was, you’ve got it, procrastination.

I’ve heard avoidance called many things
, including lack of discipline, putting things off till the last minute, and the thief of time. It’s all of these things, but the definitions don’t solve the problem for us. The one thing I haven’t heard it called is a lack of consciousness. We certainly appear to be conscious when we ignore something, but I think we instead are pushing the thing out of consciousness. By avoiding something, most often we’re trying not to think of it. Instead of accomplishing the task, we see it and then sweep it under the rug – the rug is our consciousness. Following is a simple solution; I encourage you to try it.

HourglassWhen we put things off, we have the feeling that something lurks within us
and keeps us from accomplishing those jobs. This assessment is correct; that “something” is an unwillingness to do what we feel we should do. My solution began innocently a couple years ago. My refrigerator broke down and I didn’t want to fix it. I did things to make me feel that I was working on it, like getting advice from a friend about the problem and buying the broken part and the tools necessary for the repair job. Even though I was taking action, I was still procrastinating. When all was ready, about three days later, I handled the problem differently than usual. Every day for the next nine days I left the repair items in plain sight. Each time I would see them I made a conscious decision: I would say to myself, “I am not going to repair the refrigerator today.” On the surface it may appear that I was still procrastinating, but the difference was that I was now making it a conscious choice. As a result, I didn’t have the nagging feeling that I was putting off something important. On the tenth day I remember looking at my work area and saying, “I’m going to get this thing fixed!” That day I repaired my refrigerator.

Fork in the RoadThe next time you find yourself tempted to put something off, stop
and ask yourself whether you want to do it or not. Voice your decision out loud to yourself or to a friend – don’t just think the choice. The power of this is that by bringing consciousness to your actions, you’re accepting full responsibility for the consequences. You will be much less likely to give yourself grief after you decide not to do something. Self-punishment creates a vicious cycle that burdens you more and more. Consciousness helps break that cycle. You’ll more often find yourself choosing to get things done. A final caution: Don’t expect yourself to change overnight. Be patient.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
It’s Time to Put Off Procrastination! – Article © 2009

The Recipe for a Happy Life: Happiness Is a Way of Life, Not an End

Happiness is at once the best, the noblest and the pleasantest of things. ~ Aristotle

Dance PartyNo single formula exists
for a happy life. We are each unique beings with differing needs and values. Many tools are available to aid you in living happily, many paths; but the foundation for that life includes a few essentials: love, virtue, effort, a clear mind, and meaning.

Chief among these elements is love,
without which life is empty – not romantic love (which can be tasty and delicious) but love of self. Self-love is synonymous with self-respect or personal worth; with it we’re able to receive love, without it we instead build barriers to others. Being able to take in love is the first step to giving love and to being happy.

Virtue is a challenge
for all of us! But its role in creating happiness is made clear in the words of Confucius: “Virtue is never left to stand alone. He who has it will have neighbors.” Living a life of virtue is a safety net for everyone on the path to becoming a joy magnet because it connects us firmly to our community. It is a synonym for giving and love, the golden rule.

True effort is required
to achieve any worthwhile objective in life, but it must be made with the correct goal in mind. Many people work diligently but make hardly any progress. Whether you call it joy, peace, or freedom, know that your goal is great happiness. See your life as one giant experiment. Life is a struggle full of landmines, there is no doubt about that. Develop the determination to overcome challenges. Bill Reidler, one of my best teachers, once gave a friend excellent advice about this: “Pick something and be willing to really screw it up!” He meant for her to take risks, to dare to live a noble, most excellent life.

MeditationA clear mind is the light
that guides us to fulfillment. Perhaps this is the most difficult of the happiness requirements for anyone to implement. I believe the reason for this is that it is very hard for us to step out of our own skin, to see ourselves as we really are rather than how we imagine ourselves to be. I also believe clarity of mind can be learned; it can be practiced. The best tools for this are daily doses of humility, listening, and meditation.

These four ingredients
– love, virtue, effort, and a clear mind – give our lives substance and direction. Yet they are not enough; meaning is still lacking. To be happy you must be true to yourself; you must seek and live that which makes your heart sing. Your life and your work must be significant – to you. Treat yourself also to the pleasures of life. A hedonistic life is fun and seductive, but will never suffice to create happiness. However, a life bereft of pleasure won’t either. We should be passionate both about our work and about those things that make us feel good: the myriad sensations and sweetness of nature.

In the book “Happier,” Harvard professor Tal Ben-Shahar
Mountain Climbingsays, “Becoming happier is a lifelong pursuit.” He makes the point that we do well to approach fulfillment as a process rather than a finite end. A clearly defined goal creates for us the freedom to live the goal. We know where we’re going and we have the tools; now we can stop obsessing or worrying about it and get busy living it.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin, Texas
Happiness Is a Way of Life, Not an End (article) © 2009

Ecclesiastes 1:12,13

I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God.

Where Does Our Sense of Right and Wrong Come From?

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right. ~ Isaac Asimov

Striving to be good
, kindhearted, or understanding can be as debilitating as any addiction. Others may speak up; but many, often women, give in to people by use of a misguided idea of virtue. Is this you? You are likely capable, industrious, intelligent, and “nice.” For you pleasing others and stuffing uncomfortable emotions is a way of life; you avoid the slightest appearance of confrontation. Because assertiveness seems mean, you may tolerate abuse. Alternately, you store anger, punish yourself with guilt, and then try again to be the better person.

Goodness in adulthood
is valuable only when practiced with maturity and wisdom. In the absence of discernment it creates intense self-doubt, anger, and loss of self-identity. A person who lives like this often feels crazy in a relationship.

Blind compliance
and the desire to be good are often a measure of one’s need to feel loved and accepted. This need is natural, but mindless acquiescence is avoidance of responsibility. It’s an ineffective response that leads to hopelessness and resentment. You can’t create good relationshipsDetermined Woman or contentment in your life just by being good. When a course of action does not honor and dignify you or others, then you must learn to choose another. You train others to treat you according to your self-image and by your willingness or unwillingness to speak up for and do what is right. You certainly should listen to and consider what others say, but you must be true to yourself. Look for what is real and take responsibility for your choices and their consequences.

In order to live joyfully
and to your true potential, be bold and courageous. Create the determination within yourself to experience the truth that love and assertiveness are not mutually exclusive. Learn to be both respectful of others and self-respecting. You’ve been good much of your life, but that isn’t enough. Be authentic, trust, and honor yourself.
David Cantu
Marriage Counselor Austin Texas
When Being Good Doesn’t Work © 2009

1 Corinthians 13:11

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.

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