The following is a guest post by my friend Barb Raveling. She has authored an amazing book that will help you conquer bad habits and achieve meaningful goals. If I were still practicing as a clinical psychologist, I would recommend it to all my clients, so I commend it to you!
Do you ever have a hard time working on your goals? Is it a struggle to finish this year’s curriculum, keep training for that 5K, or complete that project for work?
I know it is for me. For some reason, even though I really want to accomplish my goals, I can’t make myself work on them.
It’s too hard, I think. Or I don’t have enough time. Or it’s not fun. Or even, I’ll never succeed anyway, so why bother?
When I get into this mindset, I don’t have enough discipline to make myself work. My best hope is to renew my mind so that I actually want to work. I do that by answering questions.
Here are 10 questions I ask myself when I’m dreading the very thought of work.
Questions for Your Journal
What would you like to accomplish today? Be specific.
Why do you want to accomplish that?
Why don’t you feel like working right now?
What do you feel like doing instead?
If you ignore your project and do that instead, how will you feel afterwards?
What will you have to sacrifice to work on your project?
How will you feel when you complete this project and why will you feel that way?
When you think of how you’ll feel, is it worth the sacrifice to work on it?
What’s the first thing you need to do if you want to work on this project? (Example: Get out your notebook, open the computer file, look up the telephone number, etc.)
Why don’t you do that right now and see how it goes from there?
When I ask myself these questions – and usually I do it on the pages of my journal – I find my desires changing so that by the end of the questions, I actually want to do that dreaded project.
Here’s an example of how I filled out the questions below to write this guest post.
1. What would you like to accomplish today? Be specific.
I would like to write this guest post for Melanie’s blog.
2. Why do you want to accomplish that?
Because I told Melanie a long time ago that I would write it and I want to write anyway to help people find out about my new book,The Renewing of the Mind Project.
3. Why don’t you feel like working right now?
Because it’s too hard. I don’t know what to write.
4. What do you feel like doing instead?
Wasting time on the Internet.
5. If you ignore your project and do that instead, how will you feel afterwards?
I’ll feel defeated. It will reinforce the idea that this guest post is too hard to write and it will make me want to keep putting it off.
6. What will you have to sacrifice to work on your project?
I’ll have to sacrifice my comfort, my desire to have the easy life, and my desire to write the perfect blog post since I know I can’t write a perfect blog post!
7. How will you feel when you complete this project and why will you feel that way?
I will feel incredible because this to-do item has been on my weekly to-do list for three months now! It will feel so good to cross it off my list and not have it hanging over my head!
8. When you think of how you’ll feel, is it worth the sacrifice to work on it?
9. What’s the first thing you need to do if you want to work on this project? (Example: Get out your notebook, open the computer file, look up the telephone number, etc.)
Decide on a topic.
10. Why don’t you do that right now and see how it goes from there?
Can you see how these questions would make you actually want to work on your project? By the time I was finished, I was thinking, “Well, maybe it won’t be so bad to write this post. I’ll just do the first thing and see how it goes from there.”
I did that and it took about 30 minutes to write the post I had been procrastinating for two months! If you struggle with procrastination like I do, I hope you’ll give these questions a try.
If you’d like more questions like this to journal through, check out The Renewing of the Mind Project. It’s filled with 48 sets of questions and Bible verses to help you with pursuing goals, starting habits, stopping habits, and letting go of negative emotions such as anger, worry, insecurity, and stress. It can also be used as curriculum for a Christian growth group or personal study for older teens and adults.
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I’m a Christian psychologist turned homeschooling mother of six. My life can be a little crazy, so I look for sanity-saving ideas to use and share. I hope you’ll read my About page to learn more.