Busting Procrastination

Have you ever had trouble forming new habits and getting things done?  Do you ever find yourself procrastinating or putting off even things that you really want and you know are important?

If so, you’re not alone.  I struggled with procrastination for years.  I had a lot of dreams and goals, things I wanted to do; but, I struggled with follow-through.

Would you be interested in a simple technique that could dramatically improve your ability to follow through and do the things that can make your dreams a reality?

I have it for you.  And, it’s easier than you can imagine.

But first, let’s cover a little bit of neuroscience so that you can understand how and why this technique is so powerful.

There’s a principle of how the mind creates connections known as Hebb’s Law.  Hebb’s Law is usually summed up as “Neurons that fire together, wire together.”  This is the reason that classical conditioning techniques work.  All that needs to happen on a neurological level for two things to become linked is that they happen at the same time over and over again.

In fact, there is a trick based on Hebb’s Law that you can use with ordinary affirmations to make them more likely to stick.  All you have to do is mix in a bunch of stuff that you already know is true about yourself that you don’t need to reinforce.  If you list a bunch of stuff that already feels true and slip your affirmation in with that, that feeling of truth will start to become neurologically linked to your affirmation.

This is the basic idea of the “Will Do List” technique.

All you need to do to start is create a list of ten things that you already know that you’re going to be doing tomorrow; and then, add “I will complete all the items on my Will Do List tomorrow” and “I will create a new Will Do List tomorrow“ to your list.

In my list, I often include things that are so obvious that even mentioning them seems a little ridiculous.  That’s actually the point.  When using the “Will Do List” you want to create the sense that completing everything on it is a foregone conclusion.  You want it to feel like a completely obvious choice barely worth mentioning.  You want the idea of failing to complete all the items on your “Will Do List” to seem ridiculous.

Here’s a sample list for the first week:

I will blink tomorrow.

I will drink water tomorrow.

I will use the bathroom tomorrow.

I will wear pants tomorrow.

I will talk to my wife tomorrow.

I will give my son a hug tomorrow.

I will eat breakfast tomorrow.

I will walk outside tomorrow.

I will pick something up tomorrow.

I will complete all the items on my “Will Do List” tomorrow.

I will create a new “Will Do List” tomorrow.

 

Clearly, there are any number of obvious things to choose from and you should have no trouble creating a new list every night.  Feel free to reuse things if you have trouble thinking of new, obvious things; but, endeavor to mix things up as much as you can each night.

I highly recommend that for the first week you repeat your list out loud to yourself 21 times as soon as it is completed.  This repetition will really cement the neural connections between the sense of obviousness and the habits of completing the Will Do List and creating a new Will Do List every day.  After the first week, I recommend that you continue to read the list aloud at least 3 times when it is completed.

Once you have completed doing the Will Do List every day for one week, the habits of creating and completing the list should be well on the way to becoming permanent.  But, you’re going to want to move forward slowly to ensure that the new habit of completing your Will Do list isn’t jeopardized by failure.  For this reason, I recommend that you only add one task to your list each day for the first week.  Any task that you are committed to getting done the next day is fine.

Be sure to clearly define your tasks as much as possible so that you can be sure you have completed them.  “I will study hypnosis for at least an hour tomorrow” is a nice clear goal that I use; whereas, “I will study” is too vague.  You can always do more beyond your goal if you want and you have the time and energy; but, you don’t want to give yourself room to rationalize five minutes of studying as completing your list.

Every week, you can add one more task to your Will Do List.  Keep going week by week adding a single task to the list and completing the entire list every day.

For best results, I recommend that your list never contain more serious tasks or challenging projects than obvious items.  Do not EVER put anything on the list that you do not fully intend to complete the next day.  (This is part of why built in time constraints on the goals are important.)  Make a conscious effort to keep your list short enough that you know when you’re making it that will be able to complete it.

By training your mind in this way, the habit of completing all the tasks on your list will become stronger and stronger over time and you can use that habit to drive the creation of other new habits.  If “I will exercise for half an hour tomorrow” is on your list every day for a month, it will likely become a permanent habit.

After a month you may add a long-term goals section to your Will Do List.  I recommend that you not put more than three long-term goals on the list to keep from overloading yourself.  Again, make sure that anything that goes on the list is something you are absolutely committed to achieving.  Make sure to put at least one task that directly contributes to each of your goals on the daily Will Do List until your goal has been completed.

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Thank you for reading!
-Adam Coles-
Heart Song Hypnotherapy
Hypnosis, Meditation and Life Coaching
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