Am I proud of this? Well, admittedly, sometimes yes. I pat myself on
the back and say, "I have the amazing ability to get things done at
the last minute."
Do I usually end up regretting my procrastination? Almost always.
So I've had to learn ways to get things done now, on time. I'm still
learning and always will be. Procrastination is a persistent thief!
Procrastination is an expensive way to spend your life. Waiting
until the last minute can even cost you your life. And when you
"spend" your life mired in procrastination, you don't truly live.
You are perpetually putting off living.
Focusing on quitting smoking, how many times have you said, "I'm
not ready to quit," or "I'll quit tomorrow," or "I'll quit when I'm
not under so much stress"? What are you waiting for?
The costs of procrastination
If you fail to file your taxes on time, you'll pay penalties and
interest. If you fail to quit smoking, you'll eventually pay with
Putting off almost anything will cost you more tomorrow than it
will today. I firmly believe that one of the main costs of
procrastination is the mental anguish you experience when you know
you have something you really should be doing. But most
procrastination also comes with a direct cost, whether it be
financial or health-related or otherwise.
You should take careful note of the cost of waiting "until later"
to quit smoking. Calculate how much cigarettes cost you every day,
month and year. Calculate how much of your life goes up in smoke
with each cigarette. Estimates range from three to 15 minutes of
your life that are lost for every single cigarette you smoke. That's
one to five hours per pack! Is the temporary satisfaction (fix)
worth that much to you? Plus, smoking causes countless fires, wastes
billions of dollars in "smoking break" time and costs billions of
dollars for medical care. You pay for this too!
Causes of procrastination
So, what causes procrastination? Simply put, you do. But why? Why
do you procrastinate? Why do you put off doing something that is
beneficial to you?
Life and motivation and psychology are complex and sometimes not
What causes me to put off doing my taxes? I hate dealing with
forms and complicated tax laws and hundreds of difficult decisions
and paperwork and financial information. In my mind these are all
good reasons to "do it later." (But I bet you never saw a Nike ad
that said, "Just do it later.")
There are numerous causes and explanations for procrastination,
including, but not limited to:
- Fear of failure
- Fear of success
- Fear of the unknown
- Lack of interest or motivation
- Lack of information
- Too much information
- Not knowing where to start
- Too busy
Whatever the supposed cause may be, most times they are simply
excuses for waiting until later to do something that needs doing
now. What's your excuse for not quitting today?
[to top of second column in this article]
Cures for procrastination
Jump in and get started! That's what I've found to be the best
cure for procrastination. Overcoming the inertia and getting moving
helps me to "keep on truckin'" through my taxes or whatever else I
need to do. If I sit and dread doing the data entry for all my bank
accounts, nothing happens. If I just sit down, take the plunge and
start inputting my financial information in my computer, before I
know it I'm nearly done. I work through it until I get it right.
Getting my various bank accounts reconciled takes time and some
trial and error, but by jumping in feet-first I get the process
started and my taxes done.
Similarly, to quit smoking, just get started. Today! Don't worry
if you don't have all the information or if the time isn't perfect
or if you don't think you can quit. Just give it your best shot!
There never will be the perfect conditions for you to quit. Face it!
Time waits for no one, as they say, so quit today or face the
Keep these thoughts in mind as you begin to quit:
Do it today! Now! Not tomorrow or sometime soon. Seize the
moment and make it happen now. Now is the only time anyone has.
Inch by inch, it's a cinch. If someone told you to smoke
7,300 cigarettes today, you'd call them crazy. But if they told you
to smoke a pack a day for one year, then you'd say "no problem."
Likewise, if you worry about not being able to smoke tomorrow
because you quit today, you may find yourself panicked and unable to
quit. Deal with today, and let tomorrow take care of itself.
Begin with an ending. Before you start a trip you'd better
know where you're going. In Stephen Covey's book "The 7 Habits of
Highly Effective People," one of the seven habits is, "Begin with
the end in mind." In other words, get a clear vision in your mind --
and on paper -- of what you want and where you want to be. This may
seem contradictory to what I said about not worrying about tomorrow,
but these two principles work hand in hand. By knowing clearly what
you want to achieve, you can relax in the day-to-day details of
accomplishing your goal.
There's never a "perfect" time or situation to do anything.
Don't wait for "perfect," because it will never come. Do the best
you can with what you know today. Great achievers don't magically
know all the answers when they begin some new undertaking. The
process, the action, the investigation that they experience brings
the answers and the achievement. You need to begin the process of
quitting today, whether or not you know how. You'll learn by doing.
You may not quit permanently the first time you try to quit. That's
OK! You will learn what YOU need to know to quit permanently next
time. Great achievers take massive action. Take action!
Quitting smoking now, today, is difficult, but the rewards are
immense. Throw out your excuses and get started. Excuses are the
currency of failure and the destitute.
Tomorrow never comes. Quit smoking today!
[** Article copyright Fred Kelley of QuitSmoking.com. Visit the
http://www.quitsmoking.com for great information and products
designed to help you quit