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Harnessing Positive Motivation to Conquer Procrastination

Procrastination is a mindset, not a personality trait. The good news is you can break the cycle of procrastination with positive motivation. “But nothing motivates me,” you say. Well that’s absolutely not true. Do you have a partner, house, car, pet, or nice clothes? Do you spend time with friends and family, or like going to events and gatherings? Do you like to binge-watch shows, or catch up on the news?

Well, something is motivating you to partake in these activities or acquire the various things in your life. The trick is to zero in on what gets the ball rolling. Do you look forward to it? Do you plan ahead for it? What are you getting from it? Ask yourself these simple questions and they will help you understand your motivational triggers.

Once you know what triggers you, you can start to use these triggers to accomplish great things. If you foresee pleasure, gratification, or happiness, channel these thoughts into the task at hand and you will see the outcome of your efforts.

Scheduling and routines also help to motivate us and keep us on track. If we schedule a coffee break and we are looking forward to indulging in a piece of banana bread during that break, we are more likely to stay on task. Routines make it easy to carry out a task because it becomes automatic, which in turn will be motivating in and of itself.

Finally, exercise helps to motivate us as well. It increases oxygen flow and gives us a feeling of wellbeing. When we feel good we are more likely to be open to putting in the work to achieve our goals and stick with the task at hand.

A great way to stay on task is to utilize an agenda, planner, or calendar, and fill it out in advance. The night before, and the week before are best, as planning too far in the future may make things seem overwhelming. Reviewing it each night can help cement what you need to accomplish in the next 24 hours. Make sure to be specific and to the point, including a start and stop time and the actual activity you will be completing. Keep your planner beside your bed, and then when you wake up you can review it before you start your day. This will help set you up for success as you will be the most relaxed when you wake up and willing to see things in a positive light.

Good luck and stay safe!!

Miranda Marschalk,

Psychotherapist & CLC


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