Is procrastination bad?

Traffic sign that says 'Procrastination Avenue'.

Are you a procrastinator? Is it a habit that you want to deal with in 2016?

In the video, the tour guide explains, “This is where we put our good intentions that never fully materialise” and as the adage goes, ‘The road to hell is paved with good intentions’. The visitors also enter a room of gym memberships that were only used once, they see a room with a stack of unfinished novels, a tower of musical instruments that have only played Frere Jacques, and a long hall with “millions of ideas, inventions, Eureka moments…some could revolutionise the way we live our lives.”

Are you a gym skiver?

How many of you have paid for gym membership and then not gone frequently? I was a member of David Lloyd for a while, but I rewarded myself with one of their calorific salads after every workout as I felt tired and couldn’t be bothered to make food when I got home. Then I switched to LA Fitness. I never once used the pool or did a class, but I did have a breakthrough whilst I was there. I started using the treadmill and realised that I enjoyed running, so when the gym membership stopped, my running didn’t.

What do you like doing?

What happened? It has been argued that humans use delaying tactics when our responsibilities and values don’t match our aims. Or, to put it in another way, we dither about the things that we care less about to spend more time on things that hold a greater sway on us.

Some people argue that procrastinators are lazy people who can develop and maintain positive habits, but I disagree. I was going to the gym because I felt that I should, but I didn’t really enjoy it. I’m a sociable person, but I was too shy and self-conscious to attend any classes at the gym. This made me realise that I was avoiding the gym because I didn’t like it.

(I did later I managed to find a group exercise that I was able to do with my husband: karate.)

Black belt
Getting my black belt back in 2011

When I lost the motivation to push myself at karate, I looked for something else that I thought I would enjoy.

Eat the frog?

I accept that sometimes in life you just have to ‘eat the frog’ and reply to a difficult work email or do a tiresome chore, but exercise shouldn’t feel like a task.

So, if your procrastination is in relation to your diet or exercise regime, consider your motivation behind that procrastination. Maybe you’re happy the size that you are, but feel that you should change because of society’s expectations? Maybe you need to find a sport or activity that aligns with the rest of your life – triathlon might not be for you, but maybe something else is perfect for you. You might already know what it is, but if not, go online for inspiration.

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