Why is it that we as human beings often behave in ways that we do not really want to? How often have you said or done something only to cringe at the thought of it afterwards?
The truth is that your behaviour is mostly driven by your subconscious mind, especially behaviour that is hard to explain from an intellectual point of view. Procrastination is knowing what to do, having the ability and desire to do it, but still you do not do it. Although there are many apparent causes for procrastination, the root cause for this illogical behaviour resides in your subconscious mind.
Your conscious mind is very limited in its ability to deal with life. That over which you have conscious control is mostly limited to one thing at a time. This is why using your willpower to create any real change rarely works long-term. What you need to do is to change your automatic behaviour which resides in your subconscious mind, that part of you that controls all the vital functions of your mind and body. You can try and overcome procrastination by using willpower, but it will usually be a short-term change.
Your nervous system is designed to preserve you; and when fear presents itself, your nervous system (through the working of your subconscious) will “kick in” to “protect” you. The ironic thing is that we train ourselves, subconsciously, to fear certain things by making false associations about the meaning. Nothing in life has any meaning but the meaning you give it.
Whenever something happens to you, you assign a meaning to it by the way you communicate the experience to yourself. Subconsciously, you are always trying to establish meaning; and at a very basic level, you are trying to establish whether something means pain or pleasure. This meaning then gets stored in your subconscious mind that will help you act (or re-act) appropriately in the future. The challenge is that when associations are reinforced, you build up beliefs that will greatly influence your behaviour and are often the cause for procrastination.
Although procrastination makes no sense intellectually, it actually reveals a lot about your subconscious and your self-imposed limitations and (in)abilities. The major cause for procrastination is fear – and more specifically, your fear that taking action will lead to pain or a painful experience of some kind. At some level, your subconscious mind combines and searches its “files” to come up with a “link” that associates the action to a painful experience. This can range from something which is mildly uncomfortable to something physically painful.
As human beings, we automatically reach for comfort, and will almost automatically reach for whatever feels comfortable in the moment. This is why you often procrastinate on tasks that do not feel good in the moment, although it will mean much more pleasure in the future. Learning to push against this need for comfort is what creates all the growth that is necessary for you to really produce results.
Procrastination reveals your fears and, quite by design, gives you the necessary resistance needed to expand and grow in your capacity to push past your fears and create the things you really want for your life. The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the amount of “discomfort” you can comfortably deal with. Procrastination can also shed some light on the goals that you value most, as your concern over procrastinating on it shows that some part of you care enough to be concerned.
This is also true for habits of mind, and procrastination often manifests itself as a habitual pattern of thinking. Your thoughts lead to and help create your actions. Like the engraved pattern on a record, your behaviour will “play the same tune” every time. Your associations to pain and pleasure play an important part in your habitual behaviour in that it determines what you will or will not do. By repetition, you form habitual patterns of thinking that will cause you to automatically act or retract in certain ways when your habit pattern gets triggered.
Being aware of your associations to pain and pleasure is critical in dealing with the root cause of procrastination. There are many symptomatic solutions that will not create a lasting result. Although you have to use your willpower initially, your aim is to re-establish your associations to the tasks you are avoiding. You can be, do, or have, whatsoever your heart desires, provided that you overcome your self-imposed fears and take action.
As with anything to do with the subconscious mind, the ThetaHealing® technique can help. We can tap into the Theta brainwave state to access where your fears lie, and release its hold on you. You can be freed from the limiting thoughts and move forward positively and productively.
Thank you Shanon for the background image https://pixabay.com/photos/cat-animal-sleep-cats-pet-animals-800760/