We all have that project we mean to get to but put off seemingly forever. An internal aversion mechanism, an impetus, seems to hold off the doing. There is that persistent gap between the desire to see your unfulfilled goal materialized and the actual physical catalyst that materializes the project into reality and sustains the habitual work necessary for that project over time.

What is keeping you from starting?

Maybe it’s the subconscious anxiety of the unknown. You’d have to start from scratch, chart your territory, navigate through a fog. That might be uncomfortable. Maybe you aren’t even aware of this feeling. Even if it’s minuscule, if it’s buried deep and goes unnoticed, it will have more power than it should.

Since the cause of your procrastination isn’t delineated or made clear, the vagueness of your aversion can reign immortally.

Why can’t you keep the habit after you start?

Maybe you took too much on. You set unrealistic goals for yourself. You planned to push through and be disciplined. Then it dropped off. You did it for a few days, then forgot. What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you stick to anything?

Perfectionism and overextension is sabotage. It rapidly exhausts the will. It replaces curiosity and ascension with avoidance and stagnation.

Maybe the problem isn’t with you, but in your process. In your deep-seated presuppositions about how you should go about doing things in the first place. Maybe they are ruining your chances at personal fulfillment.

Start by doing it badly.

I learned this year that I could start and maintain habits quite easily as long as I agreed to negotiate with myself from the depths of my gut what I knew I could at least keep up habitually, instead of forcing myself, tyrannizing over my body and mind to produce some conjured up long-term vision.

It is that classic idea of taking things one step at a time, one day at a time, but expanded onto that is the cautionary investment in tasks that are realistically sustainable, for you, for where you are at psychologically, physically, physiologically, today. You can worry about gradual increases of productivity and time later, but if you have to start now with bit sized increments of accomplishment, do it, and do that everyday instead of doing nothing because your disproportionate expectations inhibited you.

What if that book you’ve been meaning to write for years was given just 5 minutes of attention every evening? Maybe you’d only get a few sentences or a paragraph out per night, but it’s better than the nothing you’ve written for years, and positive achievement begets more motivation. You’ll be encouraged to keep writing, and maybe in longer sessions, once you see the progress you’re making over time.

You can apply this to anything. I like to set timers to split up make the sessions for my projects and tasks more concrete. I use the Loop Habit Tracker app on Android to visualize and accentuate my consistency.

So, try doing things you want to get done but haven’t. Do it haphazardly for a period of time that doesn’t make you cringe or groan, then keep doing it. You’ll become less haphazard and less averse to doing things once it becomes a realistic negotiation between your psyche and your body instead of a dictated abuse of forcefulness. It makes me feel fulfilled, purposeful, encouraged, more organized, instead of reluctant, dismal, and averse. So I keep doing it.

“Start by doing it badly.”

 

2 thoughts on ““Start by Doing it Badly”

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