By Chris Hales

Procrastination is a real pain, isn’t it? I think we would all need more than ten fingers to count the amount of times we have aimed to get something done in our free time, and ended up wasting the day away. We’re all guilty, I’m sure. I know I sure am. It’s getting out of that funk that is the biggest pain, and finding ways and reasons to give yourself a kick to get to working on yourself or your goals. Luckily, there are key ways of doing this for everyone. This guide is not here to lecture, it is here to tell you that everyone can and is capable of slipping from pushing themselves forward, and these are simple ways to get back at it.

Set Goals

No one is saying that when you say ‘I’m going to be more healthy’ you need to instantly drop to the healthiest of healthy stuff there and then when you’ve been pigging out every day before that. Or that when you say ‘I’m going to get a job that I like’ you just start applying for every job advertisement there and then without thinking. It can be a slow process, but entails you challenging yourself a bit more time and time again until you have achieved your goal. The key to building up on something you really want to achieve is to pace yourself. Start small. It takes just twenty-one days for something to become a habit. Did you know that? If you didn’t, start applying that to your lifestyle.

If general health is a goal of yours, apps such as My Fitness Pal are great for this. My Fitness Pal specifically is a free app that let’s you calorie count and log your food intake and exercise regime. From inputting your physical details (height, age, goals, activeness etc.) the app determines how much exercise and calories you should be intaking to achieve a specific goal. It’s perfect if you are just looking to test out how much intake you are currently on, which then allows to begin weaning off the stuff that doesn’t help with your daily calorie goal and then gives you chance to apply more exercise to assist you in staying under your daily goal. Being able to keep track of what you eat and how active you are allows you to become more confident in knowing what to eat and what not to and also gives you a chance to get into a routine of doing certain amounts of exercise to help you out then adding more and more.

In terms of other daily tasks, e.g. completing an assignment or some kind of document such as a job application, it is the same principle: a little piece at a time. Complete your introduction. The next day do some general research on the company. A day later, give reasons why you would be good at the job. If you hit a wall, if you see you don’t have enough experience, that doesn’t mean you halt. Look into experience that would help you get a job like that and get to work. Sure, you won’t be able to get that job this time round but at least you’ll be actively ready for the next time.

Why Are You Doing It?

That is the question you should always ask yourself when you are on your third episode of your newest Netflix binge and you are looking at your laptop knowing your boss wants that analysis boxed off by tomorrow afternoon. Like I said, procrastination is a real pain, but also the most comfortable thing ever. But the simple reminder to take you up is that no one achieves from stagnating.

If you are an aspiring actor that’s only working part time and not getting roles, the best thing you can do is remind yourself of why you are living that life. It’s because you don’t want to be in job you hate, or it’s because of one of a million other reasons. Everyone wants to be in a specific place, doing a specific thing. To remain focused on where you want to be, do little things here and there. Using acting as an example, create notes and bubble charts for what you want to do and why. If you want to be a certain type of performer, create show-reels and audio-reels. Then, you won’t need to ask yourself why you are still only working four days a week to achieve your dream, your mind won’t stop you anymore.

Lessen Those Distractions

We’ve talked about procrastinating. Now let’s talk about cutting out those things that make us procrastinate. Mobile phones. Junk Food. Games consoles. The Yodelling Kid on Youtube. All simple ways you are knocked off course from building on getting out of that slump. It’s easier said than done, but just getting up and leaving this stuff for an hour a day to work on your goals and your future can make a massive difference.

Being a writer, I am going to use writing as an example here. Writer’s block is hell, it is a hard thing to break out of. The answer to it is removing the obstacles obviously. Give yourself a time limit if necessary to stay away from tweeting and sharing Facebook posts. Let’s say an hour and a half. There is no use in over working, let’s make that clear; sleep is important in functioning in general and over working can cause your work or whatever it is you are working on to become ineffective. You’ll find that you could easily just get back up after fifteen minutes and begin texting again to pass the next hour and fifteen minutes by, but when you’ve just opened your laptop, what is the point in reverting back? Your phone can wait, those funny memes your friends are sending you on Whatsapp can be laughed at later in the night. Some things can be free to distract you when you are not busy being distracted by the there and now of building on your career.

Don’t Compare

This is an important one. I’d say potentially the most important. Other people start things earlier than others. Just because they seem better than you at something doesn’t mean you are not good and you won’t be at that standard one day. Looking at someone and seeing that they can run better than you, or are more successful than you, or appear luckier than you can be an extreme motivation killer. But it goes back to that old cheesy saying of “the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. No one wakes up one morning and is suddenly just amazing at something. Everything takes a degree of work. Physicality. Knowledge of certain subjects. Success. All things that do not come easy. Instead of comparing yourself, begin your own journey in your own world. Push yourself to go on that run tomorrow. Promise yourself to work on that blog later tonight. Come up with a game plan of what you are going to do with your degree once university is over.

There is a misconception that comparing yourself to those you believe to be superior to you in some way will motivate you. Maybe it will, but not in a healthy way if so. It will make you rush, it will make you stress out, it will make you put yourself down if you have worked at something for some time and still had no seemingly positive outcome. You should be you, working at your own pace, and no one else. If someone is ahead, they most probably got there by taking time, don’t try to catch up or it could cause damage to how you perceive your goal.

Like I said before, this is not a lecture piece. This is to inform and help you move forward with those little things you have wanted to get some lately but ‘never got round to’. Just remember to take yourself at your own worth, not anyone else’s. You know how much effort should be put into your goals to make them work; it will take strictness and more strictness. Stay on the path to success and if you feel you are going off course or are not feeling positive, tell yourself it will take more time and you are capable.