Keeping Resolutions

From “The Handbook to Understanding and Overcoming Procrastination”
February 7, 2014 Updated: February 5, 2014

To truly keep your New Year’s resolutions you need to overcome the habit of procrastination. To be a non-procrastinator, you first have to reshape your thinking and realize that real and true satisfaction and senses of accomplishment come from within. 

Change will always begin and end with you, the architect of your thoughts and actions. If you want change and think you can change, then you will. You need to identify which habits and ways of thinking are keeping you in the current mindset of having the habit in the first place. 

I always ask people these questions when they are faced with the dilemma of trying to figure out why they continue to procrastinate and continue to engage in negative ways of thinking and acting. 

This is where you come in—by writing a journal or meditating on your answers. Just writing it down gets your mind out of the shadows and sheds light on what is going on inside your head. 

So with pen and paper in hand, and a quiet place, perhaps listening to soft, tranquil music and having a cup of tea, or java if that gets your brain cells firing, get to it. 

1. What is continually doing the same things the wrong way getting me or drawing into my life? 

• Probably not product endorsements, but attention. 
• What do I like about receiving negative attention? 
• If I like receiving negative attention, does it reaffirm self-defeating beliefs about myself, or what others are saying about me? 
• Do I do the negative things I do to purposely annoy people because I enjoy it or because it gives me a sense of control?

2. What do I get from procrastinating? 

• Do I avoid doing things because I am afraid of failure? 
• Do I have health issues that hinder me by affecting my energy levels? If so, maybe it is time to take positive action in this area. 
• Am I just lazy, expecting others to do things for me? 
• Was I raised feeling and believing I am entitled and that others are required to serve me? Do I truly have a lack of respect for others’ feelings? 

3. Is my current behavior, which is largely procrastination-based, getting me in trouble with other people in my profession and in my relationships? 

• If I continue to do what I am doing, will it jeopardize my marriage, career, life, and the like? 
• What is the breaking point or time that is the cue for me to stop procrastinating? 
• Do I need something bad to happen for me to bottom out and realize change is needed? If something happened to me some time ago that led me to feel like I was victimized or traumatized, am I waiting for “something” to fix me?

4. Will I only change when forced by someone or something outside of me? 

• Do I feel like a lost cause, spinning my wheels as if running on a treadmill going nowhere?
• Do I believe this is the essence of who I am and who I always will be? 
• Do I believe that someone smarter or more successful needs to come into my life to tell me what to do?

5. Do I have an addictive personality that leads me to continually procrastinate? 

• Do I get addicted to things easily—alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, pornography, and so on? 
• Am I depressed a lot or require constant stimulation? 
• Am I satisfied and happy with life in general? 
• Do I believe I possess a mental-health disorder or addiction that I might need help with?

Disclaimer: This is in no way designed to diagnose, classify, or treat mental health problems or addictions. You should always consult with a licensed or trained professional when seeking an actual diagnosis or assessment. 

Dr. Peter Sacco has been working with individuals in private practice and support groups since 1995. He specializes in anger-management classes, overcoming addictions, individual coaching, and counseling. He teaches courses in addiction studies, police studies, criminal psychology, and education at universities and colleges in the United States and Canada.

Image of New Year, New You road sign via Shutterstock