We all have the procrastinating gene, look it up in medical journals ;>)
The key to getting past those procrastination genes is doing something productive. There is a release of endorphins that happens when you complete a task. It is even greater when you complete something that brings you closer to your dreams and goals. (You can actually look this one up in a medical or psychological journal.)
How to create Procrastination Killing Goals.
Let’s start with the format. You have to create SMART Goals: (We will use weight loss as an easy example, but you should be applying your business goals to this example.)
Your goals must be specific and the more specific the better. If you want to lose weight, saying “I want to lose weight” is not specific enough. Be specific, “I want to lose twenty-five pounds.” Or push it and you will be more likely to retain the information in your brain, “I want to lose twenty-five point three pounds.” (BONUS TIP: Make the numbers memorable. Maybe February 2, 2003 was an important date to you: twenty-five point three pounds.)
Make sure your goals are measurable. In the example above the amount is measurable. You know when you hit that goal. You can weigh yourself today and see where you are in a week. Measuring your goals does not do any good unless you are tracking it. Keep your goal tracking in front of you as a reminder: sticky-notes, charts, white boards, or even social media can be good tools to use. The key is to make the goal measurable and measure it!
Make sure your goals are realistic. I want to spend a moment on this one. First, I don’t want them to be so realistic that they do not stretch you. It is important to set a goal just outside your normal reach. You want to take better action for better results. If it is too easy, you won’t change anything in your life. The key is to have a reason or desire you want to change. Keep the ‘why’ in front of you so that you can stretch yourself and become better today, tomorrow and everyday following.
Next, I also don’t your goals to be so far that you never reach them. I have seen too many people set out for a large goal only to get frustrated. For instance, losing twenty five pounds may be hard for you, but losing five pounds is doable. Start with little goals and build up to a specific attainable larger goal. (BONUS Tip: Create little celebrations along the way. They will give you the energy that you need to reach the big goals.)
Make sure your goals are relevant. Relevancy means that your goals get you closer to your dreams. If your dream is to lose weight, you may not want to set a goal to buy new shoes. You can use new shoes as a mini celebration for your goal, but it may not help you get to your goal of weight loss. A relevant goal may be cutting down the time you spend watching TV, learning to prepare scrumptious healthy meals, and exercise focused goals.
Now, along with relevancy, you don’t want to have competing goals. If you want to lose weight, you don’t want to set a goal to watch an entire series of your favorite TV show in a week. Watching Tv and reaching a better weight compete with each other.
It is important to give yourself a deadline. If you have a date set up to reach a specific goal, you can track back to what you need to be doing today to reach that goal. If you want to lose twenty-five pounds in five months, you know that you need to lose five pounds a month. You also know that is about one pound a week. One pound a week sounds a lot less scary than twenty five pounds.
BONUS STRATEGY for Procrastination Killing Goals
If you really want your goals to be powerful enough to kill off some procrastination genes, you need to write them as if they already happened.
Let me state that again: Write your goals as if they already happened.
Many goals go like this: “I want to lose twenty-five pounds.”
“Want” is a passive word. You can change it to “I will lose twenty-five pounds.”
“Will” is more command driven. You are telling yourself what you will do, but it is still in the future, so you may not take as much action on it.
Look at this: “I lost twenty-five pounds in five months.”
This is a future focused goal statement, but imagine the power in putting it in an ongoing statement: “I am losing twenty-five pounds.” Put your name in that goal, put your date in that statement and you have a powerful procrastinating goal.
Your brain says, “I am saying this is happening, so it must be happening.” Your brain literally goes to work for you and you will act accordingly. You will want to exercise because it is part of what you are doing. You will want to eat better because you can ‘see’ that you are losing weight.
ACTION ITEM: Write yourself a letter
Write a letter to yourself or use an online service to send an email to you in the future. Write about what you life is like now that you have accomplished your goal. Write as if it has already happened. Write about how happy you are and how things have changed. Write it in the most ideal situation you can think of as you really ‘picture’ it in your head.
There is power to visualizing future success as if it is happening today!