How to Leave Your Negative Mindset in the Dust

Learn to leave your negative mindset behindProcrastinators are oftentimes victims of their own negative mindset.  Rather than coaching themselves towards success, Procrastinators lean towards doom and gloom, predicting humiliation and failure for themselves.  

It is no wonder then, that Procrastination tends to be a problem that continues without being corrected or halted.  The combination of negative mindset and Procrastination limits our natural leanings towards freedom and forward movement.  We end up being consumed with worry and fear instead of putting our heads down and getting our work done.  

What gives rise to a negative mindset?

The roots of a negative mindset can be found in many diverse areas:

  • low self-esteem
  • lack of self-confidence
  • growing up with overly critical parents or other authority figures
  • growing up in dysfunctional, chaotic environments
  • early notable academic or personal success which gives rise to anxiety about performance as the child grows up
  • depression

Negative thoughts certainly can occur on a daily basis.  We need to be mindful of when they dominate our frame of mind and outlook.  When we become mired in negative thoughts and negative predictions of future events, we short-circuit our own ability to think clearly and to act with the full power of our skills, intelligence, and resources.  

We begin to limit our own sense of freedom.  We begin to act as if we are broken, impaired, incompetent, or less than we really are.

Four ways to break free of a negative mindset

Fortunately, a negative mindset does not have to be a permanent part of your life.  Use the following four suggestions to avoid getting stuck in negativity:

  1. Evaluate the purpose of your self-dialogue.  Are you trying to scare yourself out of taking action?  Are you trying to convince yourself that you don’t have what it takes to more forward?  Be honest with yourself when you do this kind of evaluation.
  2. Question whether you want your negative thoughts to be true.  (I learned this technique from an Amy Porterfield business podcast.)   Look at the picture you are painting with your self-talk and decide if you indeed want this picture to become your reality.  If the answer is “no,” then change the words you are using to coach yourself.
  3. Learn how to generate action from your thoughts.  What could you replace your negative mindset and language with?  A plan?  A deadline?   A supportive person?  A goal?  A work sprint at a coffee shop?  Replace the anxiety that comes from negative thinking with some sort of action.  The replacement doesn’t need to be dramatic, big, or important.  It just needs to put you back in motion.
  4. Decide to give yourself the benefit of a balanced frame of mind.  Instead of walking around with an overburdened brain, decide to give yourself a break.  Allow yourself to approach every new challenge with an open mind and heart, without expectations of failure and with a presumption of eventual success.

Here’s a bonus technique to try

When you think about your next new challenges, ask yourself the question: “Am I working towards keeping my freedom or am I surrendering it?”  As long as you work towards your next action, you maintain your flexibility and your capacity to learn.  Once you decide to stay stagnant and to let that stagnation go on and on, you become more vulnerable to anxiety and stress.

Keep in mind that relying on Procrastination often puts your freedom and flexibility in jeopardy.  Make avoiding Procrastination a priority.  Learn to treat yourself well, in thought and in action, and the payoffs will keep coming your way.

If you are interested in getting some support in your efforts to adjust your mindset, please consider joining the Procrastination Coach Facebook Group.  You’ll find information, articles, and loads of support from me and the community within the group.  

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How to Boost Your Mindset and Motivation

How to Boost Your Mindset and Motivation

I have learned over years of coaching and counseling many clients, that it is of utmost importance to understand the nature of a person’s mindset before trying to help them with anything else.  Without knowing what kind of mindset the client has and understanding how it operates, any efforts at behavior change will likely fall flat, or worse, be demoralizing and lead to even more frustration for the client.  

Taking a hard look at our mindset can be a tricky affair though.  We believe, in our heart of hearts, we are trying our best to keep ourselves at our best.  That makes it difficult for us to see how we might be blocking our own progress with the negative messages we sometimes give ourselves.

Here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re curious about what your mindset has been doing for you:

  1. What messages am I telling myself? 
  2. How am I coaching myself — to succeed or to avoid failing?
  3. What kind of mindset to I possess — a positive, forward-looking mindset or a negative, fear-based mindset?
  4. What kind of future am I predicting for myself?  
  5. What factors in my past have caused me to feel the need to coach myself in this way?
  6. What do I fear when I think about letting go of my current negative mindset?  What do I think is going to happen?

Often the answers to the questions above are pretty frightening.  Frighteningly negative, that is.

For instance, the internal coaching conversation might sound something like this:

“Although you were a star student when you were younger, things have gotten a lot more competitive.  Your work better be better than you can even imagine before you put it out there.”

“If I finish my work and submit it, then I might actually confirm what I have been fearing all along — that I am not good enough, and that I am definitely not as talented as my friends clearly are.”

“I need to deal with myself incredibly harshly because that has gotten me far in the past.  I don’t know if I could even get anything done if I stopped being so self-critical.”

“I don’t really know what will happen if I change my way of doing things.  I’m too afraid to find out.”

The general tone of these conversations is strongly negative.  It also feels as if the conversations can only go one way — down into deeper negativity.  It is no wonder we can’t make new changes, get our work done, or concentrate well when we are steeped in negative thinking about ourselves and our future.  It would seem as if we lacked motivation, when really we’re just scared to act on our motivation.

A negative mindset insists that we keep ourselves rooted in anxiety and fear.  There’s little hope for real progress and growth when the negative mindset dominates our thinking.

The good news is, if you have a negative mindset, there are great ways to start looking at your situation in a fresh light.  Here are a few options:

  1. Read a book to be influenced by others’ experiences.  One book you might start with is The Secret from Rhonda Byrnes.  This is a book I recommend to clients who are mired in negative thinking and can’t seem to find another way.  The messages in The Secret tend to make you worried about having a negative mindset any longer.
  2. Find a simple place to start.  Since negative thinking tends to cause us to feel burdened, we need to find a simpler way of getting things done so we can feel the benefits of being active again.  You could take a quick walk around the block.  You could decide to study outside your apartment.  You could set a small goal that will take 15 minutes and get that goal accomplished.  Don’t let your thinking block you from the things you can do very easily and well.  
  3. Do something for someone else.  Send a text message to check in on a friend.  Meet up with someone for a quick lunch for fun.  Just get out of your own head.  Chances are you’ll find a more positive outlook if you do.  
  4. Declare a restart.  Remember that at any point of the year, month, week, or day, you can decide to do things a little bit differently.  No one has to know you are about to do a total reboot.  Just you.
  5. Find support.  If you feel like you are caught in your negative thinking pattern for the long haul, I urge you to seek support.  Time is too precious a thing to waste, and your life and sense of well-being are worth whatever efforts you might need to make to reclaim them.  Find a therapist or coach, mentor, or friend who might be able to lend their expertise and support to you while you figure out the best way to move ahead.  

There are so many options for you.  Unfortunately, it sometimes seems easier to stay hidden undercover where no one can find you than to show up as yourself.  It can feel too overwhelming to make changes even though you know you need and want to make them.

I want to assure you that your desire to feel better about yourself is the positive message you should be listening most closely too.  The internal knowing you naturally have will keep you grounded and safe as you go.  It will guide you into the new territory, both externally and internally, you’ve been meaning to see.

Before you go:

The Freedom from Procrastination Membership Program

If you are interested in receiving support from me in your efforts to combat Procrastination, I encourage you to consider joining me in my Freedom from Procrastination Membership Program.  The Membership Program has been up and running smoothly for about 3 months, and through it I’ve learned that the twin superpowers of having accountability and community can really supercharge everyone’s ability to make the changes they need to make.  For more information about the Membership Program, please read more here.

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What Can Minimalism Offer to Procrastinators?

A look into how a minimalist lifestyle offers the recovering Procrastinator many more choices for freedom, growth, and personal calm.

 

Why all the fuss about Minimalism lately? How might it be relevant to you in your attempts to recover from Procrastination?

My plan today is:

  • to describe some of my own history with Minimalism and how it enabled me to embrace Procrastination recovery;
  • to share some things I learned this week after watching a screening of the Minimalism: A Documentary about the Things that Matter;
  • to recommend some wonderful bloggers who offer great content and inspiration for people looking to make positive changes for themselves; and
  • to inspire you to give Minimalism a try.

My own relationship with Minimalism

I haven’t written much about the actual steps I have taken to recover from Procrastination, but I can tell you that going simple and minimalistic was the very first step I took.

When I simplified my belongings, I stopped tripping over my stuff. Literally stopped tripping. That was a plus.

After that, I became more effective in the mornings, because I didn’t have to get through as much stuff. Another plus.

Soon after that, I started worrying less, sleeping better, and making better choices.

I really could go on and on, and I will because I think it’s important to share these growth points:

  • I was clearer mentally
  • my schedule became saner
  • I commuted to my office with a sense of calm instead of with a sense of dread or a panic about being late
  • I began to look more put together, because all of these small steps and decluttering led me to look that way
  • I was able to spend more time — really good time — working on the projects and relationships that mattered most to me
  • I explored more methods to break away from Procrastination
  • I started this blog!

Need I say more????

What I learned from a documentary by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, The Minimalists

I had the pleasure of attending the screening of the movie Minimalism: A Documentary about the Things that Matter this week.

*Now imagine me making a two thumbs up gesture.*

The documentary was informative, eye-opening, enlightening, and well-crafted. The love for the message of Minimalism was obvious throughout. The film drove home the message that we all have tremendous power over our own choices, and our choices matter so much.

Here are some of the lessons I took away from the film:

Minimalism allows you to work on your personal development. It takes the focus off success for success’s sake and puts the spotlight on the things and people that are important to you.

“Minimalism is not a radical lifestyle, it’s a practical lifestyle.” — Joshua Fields Millburn, of The Minimalists.

When we adopt a minimalist style of living, we come to value what we have instead of feeling anxious about what we don’t. That process of learning how to add value to our lives without pulling out our credit cards feeds our sense of well-being. We can develop our sense of personal freedom when we are not weighed down by our need to hunt (for stuff) or by the latest marketing message or throw-away fashion trend. We have enough => We are enough.

And now, my groupie fan-girl picture for your viewing pleasure #likemeetingtheBeatles:

The Minimalists and Me

What does this mean for you?

As with recovery from Procrastination, going minimal is a step-by-step process, where you learn more about yourself with each step. You go against the well-worn grain by making these changes, but these changes re-instill your sense of gratitude for the life and opportunities you’ve been given and those which you’re about to have.  That’s a plus.

You gain confidence in yourself and in your choices. Another big plus.

Yes, you get so much from going minimal. Funny, right?

If you’re struggling under the burden of Procrastination, I very sincerely encourage you to explore what Minimalism has to offer.

As promised, a list of helpful resources to get you started in your exploration:

One final resource is MY MINIMALISM START, a planning sheet I put together to guide you in your first steps towards trying out Minimalism.  Everything on the sheet is doable within the space of a single day.  It’s simple and practical.

Click here to receive the MY MINIMALISM START planning sheet to help you get on your way today!

It seems I have a lot to say about a movement that tends towards the minimal.  I think you’ll find when you try going in this direction, like I have, that embracing the tenets of Minimalism brings you energy, focus, and spirit like crazy.  I hope you enjoy the ride.

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Try This 5-Point Technique to Conquer Your Fear of Moving Forward

Try this 5-point technique - WPWhen I work with clients, I hear about a lot of fears.

Those fears never scare me.

You know why?  Because I have no idea whether those fears will become real or not. Please remember me telling you “I have no idea” the next time you think of asking me about what negative things will develop if you decide to move forward.  Because that is the truth.

I can’t say your fears won’t come true, but I can say from 20 years of being a psychologist that our worst fears tend not to come true.

So instead of getting all worked up with my clients, I try to help them to get active. Or to get calm.  Either state — active or calm — is way more beneficial than the state of being terrified.  Way more.

Don’t let all of your precious time be taken up by unrealistic fears and dreamt up worries.

Your fears and worries are just indications that you are about to embark upon something new, and you have feelings about making that change.

Instead of thinking the action is so frightening, start to look at your fear as being the obstacle.

Change your mindset about fear.

Know that fear is just a feeling about something.

We are going to change your mindset.  Instead of using all of your resources and thoughts to avoid the perceived danger, we are going to head towards the fear and break it down.

Here’s the 5-Point Technique to Conquer Your Fear of Moving Forward:

1) What was it about the original idea that made you afraid?

2) What particular fears do you associate with going towards the idea?

3) What risk do you need to take in order to conquer your fear and move forward?

4) What tools do you have right now that would be useful in moving forward?  Communication?  Planning?  Brainstorming?  Interpersonal support?

5) What would be the benefit of breaking away from the fear you have?  More time?  More flexibility?  More sanity?

Now set a deadline — yes an actual deadline — for taking action against your fear and towards the task you want to accomplish.  Imaging yourself bulldozing everything in your way to get done with the task instead of imagining yourself as a vulnerable, helpless newbie with no resources or experience.

Use the enjoyment and relief you will feel after completing your goal to carry you directly into your next efforts for making positive change in your life.  Don’t lose momentum.

Momentum is a powerful force for against fear.  Fear is a powerful force against change. You have all the power in the world to make your choice about which force you’d like to align yourself with more.

Bonus Material!

You know what happens when you drop your fears?  You become FEARLESS.  Cool trick, right?  If you’re interested in even more ways to ensure that worry does not interrupt your plans, get your free resource below:

Get the 5 RULES for steering clear of worry here [free download]

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7 Ways to Get More Comfortable Taking More Risks

Procrastination is a very elaborate way to prevent ourselves from taking risks.  We get trapped in our fearful thinking.  We obsess about everything that could go wrong and everything that already is wrong.  We imagine how humiliated we might end up feeling. We decide we aren’t prepared enough, strong enough, or smart enough to even think of trying something that’s new or important.  Even if that new or important action might change our lives for the better.

Because Procrastination can be so dangerous to our well-being in this way, I decided to suggest ways to encourage you to take more risks.  Here are some of the ideas I have:

1.  Stress less.  Focus more.  Since our negative, catastrophic thinking tends to keep us from moving forward, let’s not focus on those thoughts.  Let’s instead turn them right around.  Let’s think about what could go right.  Let’s think about how much freer we will feel.  Let’s think about crossing lots of things off that life’s to do list.  Let’s imagine the sky is the limit, because it really is.  Once we have unburdened ourselves of that heavy, negative, pessimistic thinking, we actually will gain the advantage of having greater focus when we do take action, and that will help us to keep moving in a forward direction.

2.  Choose your actions based on how much impact they can have.  Instead of proceeding inch by inch, envision how you might arrange your behaviors so they have larger impact.  As a simple example, instead of decluttering one magazine issue at a time, decide to toss all the back issues and consider cancelling the subscription to the magazine so you don’t have to deal with unread clutter of this kind ever again.  Small actions take energy just as big actions do, so I figure it’s better to go big if you are going to go at all.

3.  Revolutionize things.  If your past behaviors have not brought you to a happy place, change the way you do things.  Consider changing the entire process.  If you think about it, there are really almost no rules you really have to abide by.  As I was taught when I was in training to become a psychologist, you need to show up on time, pay on time, and not do anything violent.  I figure those are pretty good life rules.  Everything else is up to you to design.  Again, if it’s not working, fix it.  You can do this.

4.  Accept that you are in charge.  Procrastination grows when we act in passive ways. Procrastination is like mold.  If you don’t take care of it, it just takes over.  The next time you have to make a decision, be mindful of whether you are acting with an active mindset or a passive one and then act accordingly.  Don’t live with the mold.

5.  Complete every loop that you are in, no matter how painful, awkward, or difficult.  For so many of us, just finishing something is the equivalent of taking a risk.  So figure out what is waiting for you, and take care of that business.  Face your fears, face your frustrations too.  And by the way, don’t think that completing loops always means extra work.  See if there are open loops in your life that you can close by letting go of them, by deciding that these loops are not worth your time and attention any more.

6.  Don’t fuss and perfect things anymore.  This category too is the equivalent of taking a risk for many of us.  We get stymied when we feel we can’t release our grip on work that might be less than perfect.  We end up feeling like we are suffocating from the pressure of needing to have everything be just so.  What’s the answer to this type of stress?  Catch and release.  Catch and release.  Catch and release.

7.  Loosen up and let other people in.  When we stress too much about how we are or are not doing things, we forget how important the people in our lives are to us.  Since we feel too strung out to have fun, we decide we can’t have fun.  Since we feel behind in every area, we decide we don’t deserve to have happy, well-working relationships.  That is just hogwash, so connect with someone you need to connect with today.  Life’s greatest rewards come when we allow ourselves to take good risks in our relationships.

Let me know what risks you’re up for taking. Once you get in the habit of moving forward consistently, the things that used to feel like risks will begin to feel like interesting opportunities instead.  I’m with you all the way.

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