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Spontaneous Overflow Reflecting in Tranquility

The Official Blog of Michael Schoenhofer, Executive Director

Procrastination - The Inner Critic 1

he five self statements that distinguish procrastinators from producers

It is amazing to me how influential that little voice in my head is over my life. Sometimes I can hear it loudly and clearly and at other times it is a quiet whisper that often is delivering some negative message to me. It has been particularly troubling to me over the years when it comes to procrastination. Often times procrastination is an act of rebellion against this inner critic, according to The Now Habit. There are five negative statements from our inner critic. There is a positive self statement to counter each one.

Let’s look at the first three.

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1. Negative Self Statement: “I have to” - Fiore says that this is the phrase of a victim mentality; that is: “I have to but I don’t want to” that justifies procrastinating. So quickly change this negative statement to a Positive Self Statement: “I choose to.” That is “Use your awareness of a negative thought or attitude to reflexively shift you to the producer’s attitude of choice and power.” Move from feeling victimized to becoming powerful just by shifting the word “have” to the word “choose.”

2. Negative Self Statement: “I must finish.” As long as you are focused on the completed product it keeps your project somewhere out in the future and makes everything seem overwhelming and impossible. Fiore says replace this negative statement to a Positive Self Statement: “When can I start?” This statement focuses your attention on the present and on what can be tackled now. The project seems more doable because all I have to do is start and if I don’t have time in this moment then Fiore asks, “When is the next time I can start?” This positive self statement moves you from feeling overwhelmed and incompetent to feeling focused and energetic.

3. Negative Self Statement: “This project is so big and important.” This statement just makes whatever feelings you have of being overwhelmed and incompetent seem worse because now you are thinking - “This is my one big chance - everything rests on what happens here.” - Then you use up all of your creative energy and enthusiasm on anxiety and fear. Fiore says replace this negative statement with this Positive Self Statement: “I can take one small step.” Whenever you begin to feel totally overwhelmed and fearful then you must remind yourself that all you need to do is to take just one small step - like writing a book or building a house - just write one page or just start to dig a foundation. When you take it one small step at a time, Fiore says, “. . . It gives you time to learn, to relax, and to recuperate between a series of small steps. Move from feeling fear to feeling excited that one small piece of the project is underway.

That’s enough to take in for now. No matter how big or small your project is, if you put it off it wears you down and prevents you from feeling good. It’s not really difficult. It’s just different. Try it.

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