Procrastination is probably the least recognized cardinal sin, because postponing, not doing, means wasting time, and time in life is incredibly limited. Unfortunately, many people avoid leaving the comfort zone, the area where they are best. The comfort zone includes a series of actions, habits, relationships and places that we love to go to because it is easy to do it, because we have no trouble and everything runs smoothly. But it is in the comfort zone that we get stuck when we are unable to advance in our career, to find further satisfaction, to get that little bit more that makes us feel good.
Get out of the comfort zone
In truth, many of us are terrified by the news, even the idea of trying something new makes us pull back. One reason addictions are so much easier than you think, even for things like sugar-rich foods, is that we are very easy to habits and very resistant to change. Going on a diet, for example, implies having to give up tasty meals, which we have eaten for years, renewing pleasure day after day. But often it is the fear of trying new things that stops us, even at the cost of getting back to health. Procrastination, that is, postponing commitments or things to do to another moment, is harmful, as it acts in a negative way on everything: work, relationships, social life, self-esteem. A good way to stop procrastinating is to learn how to get out of the comfort zone. Doing things that were not done before, having the courage to experiment.
Overcoming this fear of trying new things is truly the key to success, if you can manage this part of your life, you will have doors open in every direction. Here are some practical tips.
Avoiding putting yourself in situations of great discomfort, determined by our beliefs, is easy. The brain gets used to shortcuts and uses them to allow us to save ourselves a bother, but it often acts against us, limiting us. When people are stressed they often resort to cigarettes, alcohol, shopping and drugs. They try everything to feel better and get out of the zone of discomfort and re-enter the comfort zone. They like to feel like this, safe, among the few things they have left. But if we look more closely at the mechanism of stress, it is really stupid to stay in that situation, limiting one’s abilities. Also because stress feeds itself. When sedentary people start exercising, they often find it unpleasant. It’s hard. It feels sick, tired, and the sacrifice never seems worth it. So many drop out early on, the dropout rate from diets and gyms is sky-high, which is why gym instructors and nutritionists aren’t billionaires (yet they would have a lot to do, considering the obesity statistics and the age of modern life.) Despite everything we are not talking about a mission in Iraq, losing weight, exercising, putting yourself out of the comfort zone in general is a nuisance, not an unbearable pain.
We must therefore learn to manage this discomfort to make it, how could one say? comfortable. The secret is always to start in small doses, and grow over time, getting your body and brain used to new things, so that they too consolidate. What you have to do then is to really experiment: that is to choose something that has never been done, even something unimportant, is to accustom the brain to new things every now and then. It could be a meditation class, a more complicated exercise in the gym, a different walk to get to the office, a new restaurant you don’t go to because they serve something you don’t like. Anything can be an excuse to experiment. If you experiment every day you take away the fear of doing new things.
Get used to trying and overcoming stress
Basically: you get rid of the fear of trying. By trying, you will avoid postponing to a day when you think you have more courage, and you will stop procrastinating. Because we often don’t say it, but we procrastinate for lack of motivation, for lack of courage, because basically we are fine with it. Yet we feel we want something else and want one thing, but not achieve it, is tantamount to collecting failure, which lead to stress, anxiety, panic and depression. It is a vicious circle that feeds on, only because we think it is impossible to change things. Instead, in small doses, getting the brain used to change means introducing a drop of hope every day, until we find the strength to make that decision that we have been putting off for too long.