Want to change direction, but find yourself putting it off? Proscrastination – we all do it to some extent, and with things like a trip to the shops for non-essentials or doing the laundry, it probably doesn’t matter much, but there are times when it can really hold you back. Let’s just look at exactly what a procrastinator is before we go any further. One definition is someone who postpones and wastes time in aimless activities. It’s easy to procrastinate. We can simply put off the task until later. In fact, a 2007 study showed that 80 to 95 percent of college students procrastinated on a regular basis, most often when it came to completing assignments and coursework. That might sound familiar!
But students aren’t the only ones who procrastinate. According to Joseph Ferrari, a professor of psychology, “around 20 percent of U.S. adults are chronic procrastinators. They delay doing things at home, work, school and in relationships.” (Source:https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1467-9280.1997.tb00460.x)
There are plenty of reasons for putting off a career change. After all, it’s a major step and you might be afraid it won’t work out, or feel it will take too much of your time. So you procrastinate and another year goes by and you are still stuck in the same situation. And you probably beat yourself up and this, telling yourself you’re lazy and lack motivation. However, that isn’t likely to be true.When it comes to making important changes, there are a few good reasons for not taking action and while they might seem like excuses, they are usually rooted in fear.
The most obvious fears are of not succeeding – no-one wants to start something only to fall flat on their face and have to listen to friends or family saying I told you so or looking smug when they fail to reach a goal. And in addition, you might be a bit of a perfectionist, feeling that you won’t be able to do things well enough to meet your own standards, even if you appear to be reasonably successful.
Another fear is that you might make a mistake – what if you spend time and money training for a new job and find you don’t like it, or even worse, that no-one wants to employ you? What if you end up feeling you were better off before? Any type of change is scary – we feel secure in the life we know and stepping out of our comfort zone, even if that’s a pretty humdrum place, is not easy. Another reason is that we feel the task ahead of us is overwhelming, especially if we’re considering a very different career from what we’ve done in the past. It can also be a habit we picked up at home – procrastination can run in families. It’s worth asking yourself why you put things off – and don’t put off doing this too! It can be uncomfortable, but if you are able to identify the reasons you haven’t taken any action, you’ll be able to start taking the steps necessary to move your life forward.
So, grab a notebook and pen and ask yourself why you haven’t done anything about changing career. Or if you have done a few things, write them down and then note why you stopped.
Once you’ve worked out what’s stopping you, we can start looking at getting things moving again.