Rather than a sign of laziness, procrastination can often be a manifestation of a fear of failure.
This fear of failure is often the main driver in our lack of initial effort. Our subconscious wants to keep us in as safe a place as possible so just the possibility of a failure can be enough to cause us to want to remain in our comfort zone and not make any attempt at all. It is very easy for this to become a habit.
Overcoming this can require areas of the subconscious to be retrained. An example would be to re-establish what makes you feel good. Instead of allowing the putting off of a task to elicit a good feeling make it the accomplishing of the task that causes this. Give yourself some sort of reward for crossing something off your to-do list to help raise serotonin levels.
Serotonin can be raised by exercise. A brisk walk, a swim or a bike ride are all good ways of raising serotonin levels along with receiving a good massage. Some foods can help too with apples, blueberries, carrots, salmon, eggs and peas all being linked with an increase in serotonin production.
Hypnotherapy can also be an effective method for retraining the mind. You can use these all by yourself to help to give yourself that impetus to make that initial effort to get things done.
What follows is a list of self-hypnosis techniques that can be useful when you lack the focus to begin a task.
- Start by making a note of your initial stress level with 10 being a ‘full-blown panic attack’ and 0 being not stressed at all. Remember this starting number.
- Sit in a comfortable chair, feet flat on the ground and rest your hands in your lap.
- Sit up straight but remaining comfortable and take four slow deep breaths. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4 and exhaling, also through your nose for a count of 8.
- Close your eyes. Imagine roots growing gently down from the bottom of your feet into the ground.
- Imagine a favourite colour entering into the top of your head and moving all the way down through your body. Flowing out of the bottom of your feet and through those roots into the earth.
- Direct all of your focus to the palms of your hands and breathe for a few moments
- Still with your eyes closed, count down from 10 to 1, saying ‘deeper and deeper’ after each number.
- Repeat the following, either in your mind or out loud, 10 times: I am safe. I am calm. I can easily complete what I must do. I am in the zone.
- Take another deep breath and imagine being productive. Visualise and feel yourself knocking items off your to-do list. Smile as you imagine this.
- After you’ve spent a couple of minutes imagining this, imagine the same colour as before flowing in through your head, down your body and out into the earth through your feet as before.
- Smile, open your eyes and stretch your arms up over the top of your head whilst saying Yes.
- Note your new number on the scale from the first point. Congratulate yourself on completing this task and how quickly you have improved your stress levels.