This is truth: I used to be a terrible procrastinator.
I was infamous for my procrastination. My entire college career was a blur of coffee-infused late-night struggles to get my papers in before early morning deadlines.. As stressful as it was, I never managed to learn lessons about time management from my behaviors. I worked well under pressure, always got A’s, and never failed at getting my work in on time. Since I never suffered any repercussions for my lack of ability to organize my time, every “A” further enforced those subconscious beliefs that I was not only born to be a procrastinator, I was also quite successful at it.
This procrastination continued up into my early thirties. Then something happened.
I opened a business.
I was thrust into a whole new world, a world where a lack of time management would easily spiral me into a disorganized mess that I could not dig myself out of. Furthermore, up until then my procrastination only affected one person: me. If I failed to get things done on time, I would suffer. But when you run a business, your clients are the ones who pay for your lack of ability to get things done. If I couldn’t keep my clients happy, I soon wouldn’t have a business at all.
Procrastination had become part of who I was. It was the way I defined myself. For years, my parents and friends would joke about it, and I would proudly admit that, yes, I would never start anything until the last possible minute.
When I started running my own business, I began to think: if my self-definition played a role in creating my behaviors, could I change my behaviors through defining myself differently?
This is the point where I transitioned into a huge liar.
I began to tell everyone and anyone, whenever it came up in conversation, that I was quick to jump on top of tasks, that I was efficient and effective at getting things done. When a new client would come in, I’d make it a point to tell them that they could email me with questions, and that I was very good at getting back to emails promptly. If someone called me to set up a business meeting, I’d tell them that I’d prefer to do it sooner than later, because I liked getting things done and out of the way quickly.
The more I talked about it, the more it became my reality. I hate disappointing people, so if I promise something, I will always do it. Setting these expectations for others when it came to my actions forced me to live up to them. The more I repeatedly lived up to the expectations of quick and efficient behavior, the more ingrained the behavior became. At a certain point, I didn’t have to try anymore. It was simply who I was, and how I worked.
When it comes to hypnotherapy, I often talk about patterns. Think about this: driving your car through thick, viscous mud. The first time you do this, it’s hard. You have to struggle to get the car moving through the mud. The second time it’s easier…and the third…
At some point, you’ve dug such a deep path into the mud that even if you try to steer your car in another direction, you can’t. Your tires fall into the ruts you’ve formed in the mud.
Those neural pathways in your brain work the same way. Repeat a behavior over and over, and at some point it becomes automatic. You don’t think about it, you just do it.
This is why people put sugar, or cigarettes, or fingernails in their mouths automatically when they’re stressed. It’s why people eat at night, even when they aren’t hungry. It’s why there are all sorts of negative and self-destructive things that we do to ourselves even when we know better.
It’s all about the patterns we create in our subconscious minds, through repetition of beliefs and behaviors.
Fortunately, the opposite holds true as well.
Repeat something POSITIVE, over and over, and it will become your truth-even if it feels like a lie at the present moment.