Embrace Unpleasant Obligations
Fiore suggests that one way we can lower the board back to Earth is by embracing our obligations completely, even the ones that make us uncomfortable. This starts by reframing our “I have to” tasks as “I am going to” choices.
“You do have a choice. You don’t have to want to do the task, nor do you have to love it. But if you prefer it to the consequences of not doing it, you can decide to commit to it wholeheartedly.” It really helps, Fiore notes, “to assert positively and powerfully” what you will be doing, such as: “‘I will be at the dentist’s at 3 p.m.’; ‘I am going to traffic court this morning.’” Because every time we say, “I have to” we’re effectively diminishing our power.
Here are a few more ideas from Fiore on how to change the way you talk to yourself:
• Replace “I have to” with “I choose to.”
• Replace “I must finish” with “When can I start?”
• Replace “This project is so big and important” with “I can take one small step.”
• Replace “I must be perfect” with “I can be perfectly human.”
• Replace “I don’t have time” with “I must take time.”
• Replace “I wish I’d done that” with “What small step can I take now?”
Trade Perfectionism for Persistence
Because perfectionism is such an important catalyst for procrastination, Fiore emphasizes the importance of reframing potential “mistakes” as opportunities for growth, learning and self-compassion.
“Replace demands for perfect work with acceptance of (not resignation to) your human limits,” he writes. “Accept so-called mistakes (really feedback) as part of a natural learning process. You need self-compassion rather than self-criticism to support your courageous efforts at facing the unavoidable risks of doing real, imperfect work rather than dreaming of the perfect, completed project.”
As you get more comfortable with the possibility of some imperfect early steps on your projects, Fiore notes, “you’ll be better prepared to bounce back because you’ll have a safety net of compassion.”
Next: Write it down and reprogram your brain