As coaches, there are a number of phrases that raise our hackles, but none more so than the following:
- I’ll start tomorrow.
- I’ll start on Monday.
Why is it that we delay our biggest and best plans? We rarely put off watching that new Netflix show or drinking that glass of wine. Why, then, do we postpone more ambitious activities, like healthy eating or exercise, when there’s nothing to prevent us from stepping in right away?
We’ve spoken previously about the reasons people tend to start things on a Monday or other ‘meaningful’ date. But how many times does Monday roll around and you’re either too busy or too tired to begin, so continue to make excuses until motivation passes altogether?
There’s danger in always thinking that we have tomorrow up our sleeve. Don’t worry, we’re not going all doom-and-gloom on you here! But we are saying that time has a habit of slipping away from us. By saying ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, we might as well admit to ourselves that we’re prepared to live in the waiting place. According to Joseph Ferrari, author of Still procrastinating? The no regrets guide to getting it done, 20 per cent of adults are chronic procrastinators who put off doing tasks they find difficult, unpleasant, boring or stressful, or when low self-esteem gets in their way.
We get it. We’re programmed to avoid the hard stuff at all costs. But ask yourself this: What good ever comes from putting off until tomorrow what you can do today?
This applies to almost everything. An apology, a phone call, a job search, negotiating a salary increase; there are so many things that needn’t be postponed until the perfect moment arrives (spoiler alert: There’s rarely a ‘perfect moment’ to do anything). The only time it’s appropriate to delay something important is when you’re either too sick to muster the energy or you hand-on-heart can’t do whatever’s required (if you’ve ever made a decision in the middle of a long-haul flight to start running 5km a day, then by all means you have our permission to put it off until tomorrow).
We should clarify here that there’s a big difference between starting something tomorrow and starting again tomorrow. Let’s say you fell off the wagon with your healthy eating plan; you can always pick yourself up and start again. If we mess up, of course we get another opportunity – and the sooner we take it, the better, so that one bad day doesn’t turn into two. But from a coaching perspective, when we hear someone say, ‘I’ll start tomorrow’, we do wonder whether they’re really committed, why they’re choosing to wait and what’s going to get in their way.
When clients share their time-delaying intentions with us, we like to remind them of the proverb, ‘Well begun is half done’. Starting a task is often the hardest part of the whole process, so by taking that first step, you’re well on your way to seeing it through.
So, our question to you now is: What are you putting off – and how could you make it happen today?
– The Coach Place Global
Image by @aronvisuals
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