How to Stop Endlessly Procrastinating

Photo by Tom Morel on Unsplash

Is it even possible?

Ayodeji AwosikaFollowingJan 21 · 4 min read

I hated this feeling.

Before I figured out how to change, every day of my life felt like I was losing bits and pieces of myself.

I had all these dreams, but I kept procrastinating.

I felt my future slipping through my fingers. And still, I couldn’t bring myself to do a damn thing about it — couldn’t save my own freaking life.

I felt pathetic.

But, eventually, I stopped. Just like that.

Here’s how…

Step 1 — Decide to Change Your Life

Great advice, Ayo.

I’m sorry, but it’s the answer. It’s that simple.

I decided I was done being a loser, and then with a seemingly infinite number of baby steps, I’ve made it to the point where I am today.

You see people in the gym every single year who make it past the New Year’s resolution threshold and create a life-long habit.

Why? Because they decided to.

The distinction between wanting to do something and deciding to do it is so subtle, but it makes a world of difference.

How can you bring yourself to decide? Some of my favorite techniques are:

  • Future extrapolation — I always think about what my life will be like years from now if I don’t decide to do that thing I know I need to do. What will your future look like if you don’t decide to make that move you know, deep down, you need to make? Use that negativity to your advantage.
  • Get pissed — Inspiration is light and fluffy, but negativity cuts deep. So when I’m on the fence, feel scared, and find myself hesitating, I beat myself up until I do it. I don’t automatically make the tough decisions I need to make right away, just because I’m a self-help writer. Like I said, it’s hard to bring yourself to do the things you need to do. Sometimes, it takes a ton of repetition.
  • Positive Visualization — Positive visualization can and does work, but I put it last because you can easily fall into the trap of having a never-ending daydream about the person you can become. Be careful with this one, but yes, do take time to actively and vividly picture what a better life would look like. This only works when combined with the work, though.

Step 2 — Do the Work

Wow, what an amazing pep talk here Ayo! Do the work! Such sage advice!

Look…

As cliche as it sounds…one step at a time my friend.

What are you trying to do with your life?

What do you want to change?

Ok, first you decide. Then, you do the teeniest tiniest steps consecutively until you get momentum. That’s it. This little mini-empire I have started with writing one blog post.

If you want to get in shape, you have to go to the gym for the first time.

If you want to be a writer, you have to write one thing — could be 10 minutes worth of writing, but you have to do it.

If you want to start a business, you have to do whatever the teeniest tiniest step is…maybe googling “How to Start an Online Business” is step one. Then maybe you find a list of businesses you could start.

Then you find a guide on how to start that specific type of business. Maybe the guide has 17 steps to it. Do step 1 on day 1[….] step 17 on day 17. Break it down into the smallest chunks you need.

“How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

You kill procrastination by creating a system. Your system has rituals and practices you force yourself to do at first, but become second nature over time.

Reverse engineer your goals to what you need to do now. Create an environment that helps you get to work as soon as possible.

Put your gym clothes in the car so you don’t have to stop home to change after work. Leave your phone in another room while you work on your blog posts. Batch tasks. Throw your Xbox in the trash. Use tiny checklists and cross them off.

When you feel like hesitating, take a deep breath, and count down from five. Once you reach one, you have to start the task. I used to do this in the mornings when I needed to wake up early to write.

Eventually your systems create momentum and all of a sudden your entire life has changed.

You can get there.

Let’s say you’re at square one as of this moment.

Decide today. And then ‘do’ today.

This is the recipe.