Show me someone who doesn’t procrastinate, and I’ll show you a robot. Everyone procrastinates.
A little “research” yields a number of reasons for procrastination: fear of failure or success, perfectionism, impulsiveness, lack of motivation, lack of self-discipline, etc.
That’s a nice list, but it doesn’t really help, since we all face these challenges. At times we all lack motivation and self- discipline. At times we all are impulsive or easily distracted. At times we all fear failure or success.
Each reason for procrastination is a part of what makes us human. We’ll never completely overcome any of those shortcomings.
So I put aside the research, and thought about myself. While I fall prey to everything on the list, for the most part I procrastinate when a task or activity seems hard — even when it’s something I love to do.
I love to write, but sometimes the thought of writing seems daunting.
I love to ride my bike, but sometimes the thought of riding seems daunting, especially in the first few miles… but then something magical happens. Somehow my aversion to “hard” goes away once I break a sweat.
Maybe it’s the endorphins kicking in. Maybe it’s because my legs have warmed up. Maybe it’s because I feel proud that I can do something hard and do it reasonably well.
Maybe it’s because regardless of the initial pain, once I’m actually riding I remember all the reasons I love to ride.
The same is true with writing. Looking at something I’ve written and thinking, “That was hard … but hey, that really works,” is one of the reasons I love to write.
We all feel that way sometimes. I feel sure you have felt that way, too.
But I also feel sure you’ve put off a task, finally gotten started, and then once into it thought, “I don’t know why I kept putting this off … it’s going really well. And it didn’t turn out to be nearly as hard as I imagined.”
And here’s the thing: It never is.
Forget task lists and external motivations and mental mind games. When you’re struggling to get started, don’t think about the pain you’ll feel in the beginning. Focus on how good you will feel once you’re engaged and involved. Focus on how good it will feel to remember why you love what you do.
Get started with that in mind.
Never try to pretend the first few minutes won’t suck. They will. But once you break a sweat it will all be downhill from there — in the best possible way.
LinkedIn Influencer Jeff Haden published this post originally on LinkedIn.