January 5, 2015
By Olivier Poirier-Leroy
Today I want to talk to you about something that I also have struggled with for a long time. I bet you have had to face it as well over the years, whether it is in your swimming, school, work, or even relationships.
So what is it?
It's the devil on your shoulder. The nagging voice in the back of your head that derides your ambitions.
EVERYBODY'S GOT IT
Procrastination doesn't know name, face, race or sex. It attacks everybody equally and mercilessly.
Michael Phelps dealt with it just as much as your beginning age-grouper does.
So don't for a moment think that successful swimmers aren't afflicted with those pangs of wanting to put things off, or ease off, as well.
IT WILL COME AT YOU EVERY DAY
Here is the bad news - the agents of procrastination never completely go away. We can minimize it, lessen the volume of its voice, but it will forever be in the back of our brain, anxious for the moment to find a crack in your commitment to start sliding in those familiar refrains-
- You don't need to finish hard.
- You're tired, you can try your best next time.
- You don't feel perfect today, so let's start tomorrow.
- It's okay, you'll be fine if you don't achieve XYZ goal.
The reality is that it is your duty to show up every day and beat procrastination into submission. But, the good news is that giving the act of putting off success into a choke hold is a relatively simple process.
HOW TO WIN THE DAILY BATTLES
Setting up routines and habits are the most powerful way to beat procrastination as though it owed you money. Habits, routines and systems take away the need to apply willpower each time you need to act.
(And if you remember from previous emails, willpower is a finite resource. Just like a muscle we can only use it so many times before it becomes fatigued and we become prone to making less than stellar decisions.)
Having those systems in place takes that never-ending "should I or shouldn't I" argument out of the equation. So don't be afraid to make routines for yourself.