Generally speaking, the more ambitious the goal you set, the more likely you are to procrastinate. Suppose you decide to run a marathon. But first you should probably finish that big project at work. Then you’ll need to buy just the right running gear, maybe read a few books on marathon running. And it makes sense to wait for the weather to improve. Come to think of it, you’ve been considering moving somewhere with more ideal weather. Should you postpone marathon training until this move is sorted out? So on and so forth.
Fear of Failure
When you procrastinate, you give yourself a million little “jobs” that stand in the way of your true goal. You spend a lot of time thinking about running a marathon. But in many ways, thinking about running a marathon is the exact opposite of running a marathon! We procrastinate because, deep down, we fear failure. Fantasizing about people cheering while you run across the finish line is risk-free. It allows you to get lost in a compelling story without ever putting on your running shoes. When you actually begin training for a marathon, reality gets in the way. You are forced to encounter yourself in a genuine way. You’re not going to accomplish any truly profound goal without learning some unpleasant–and some deeply inspiring–things about yourself along the way. And once you actually commit to trying something, you open yourself to the possibility of failure. Thinking about doing something is always “safer” than actually doing it.
When you set out on whatever personal journey, you accept that your ego may get bruised at times. You accept that you may or may not be up to the task you’ve given yourself–then you jump in anyway. If you want to run a marathon, you start wherever you are. You start despite the limits of your current circumstances. Jog around the block a few times. Join a running group, Make an appointment with a trainer. Whatever you do, do it today. Commitment requires action, and action never happens tomorrow or next week or next year. The only doorway to action is the Here and Now. Can you find the courage to open that doorway today?