Do It Scared: The Relationship Between Procrastination and Fear
by Kim – 23. October 2020
We all procrastinate from time to time – some handle it well with self-discipline alone, while end up causing themselves big problems. Whether you are the first type of person, the second type, or somewhere in between – procrastination has at some point had an effect on your productivity – AND FITNESS.
In this blog post, we look at why we all do this.
What exactly is procrastination?
The word “procrastinate” comes from the Latin roots pro (forward) and crastinus (belonging to tomorrow), which developed into procrastinating in English, meaning “deferred until tomorrow.” Sound familiar? “I’ll go to the gym tomorrow instead” – we’ve all been there.
Uncontrolled procrastinating keeps us from developing further and reaching our objectives. But let’s clarify something important before we move on: contrary to what most people think, procrastination is, more often than not, coming from a place of subconscious fear rather than laziness.
Procrastination has more to do with FEAR than laziness.
While you can muscle your way into being productive with strong self-discipline, figuring out how to beat fear is the key to getting shit done and staying consistent in the long run.
So let’s take a look at the fears responsible for procrastination. If you find that you relate to one or more of them, then that’s already the first step to fixing the problem. Only with insight can you start to do something about it!
What kinds of fears contribute to procrastination?
1. FEAR OF FAILURE
Fear that you’ll do a poor job at work, that you’re not strong enough to get through the workout, that you won’t know where to start, and so on. In a nutshell, you might be so afraid that you’ll mess up or fail, that you can’t even bring yourself to try. Yes, perhaps you will fail; but if you let yourself get dragged down by procrastination, the prophecy will fulfill itself.
If you at least start and just give it a try, then no one can accuse you of not having at least made an effort. Plus, nobody does everything right the first time. Give your best and learn from the experience so that you can continue with these lessons in mind.
2. FEAR OF SUCCESS
Sound silly? It’s not – it’s actually very common that people sabotage their own success for this very reason. Success can lead to stress. Look at it like this: doing a good job can result in more promotions… more money…but also much more work… and so, subconsciously, some people cause themselves to fail through procrastination.
3. FEAR OF RUNNING OUT OF OR GETTING TOO MUCH WORK
Many people fear that if they aren’t “busy”, they aren’t being valuable or productive. This fear shows up in one of two ways:
Either, you fear being idle because it makes you feel like you might be unnecessary. Maybe you even fear of being let go – so instead, you keep busy by stressing about all the things you have to do, instead of just doing them.
On the other hand, you might be afraid of getting things done too fast, only to be rewarded with even more work. So you push things out till the last minute instead.
This whole way of looking at productivity can affect your sense of self and security.
4. FEAR OF THE UNKNOWN
This is a big one for those just getting into working out or trying a new form of exercise – will you be able to finish the workout? What will it be like? There are so many questions whenever you try something new, that it automatically creates a bit of fear.
At work, this can look like being presented with new work, tasks that are unclear, or so large that you don’t know where to start. You may feel reluctant to put your shoulder to the wheel and get to work. To face this fear, try to ask colleagues or someone who is experienced in this type of work or ask your supervisor for the training required for this work.
5. FEAR OF THE TASK
When you’re given a task you don’t like to do, possibly because it’s difficult, unpleasant, you’re sick of it, or you feel unqualified for it, then you are facing this fear and start to procrastinate. You will always find other things to do first until you have no choice but to start with it. At least you’re procrastinating somewhat productively… but you’re still procrastinating.
Here are some tips to help you start overcoming these fears:
- You can’t beat it if you don’t know it’s there – so if you feel that you’re procrastinating, take a break and think about why you keep pushing your task out.
- Be completely honest with yourself, that is the only way you will overcome your fears
- Accept that failure is human! The only thing that makes you different from the others is when you learn from your mistakes.
- Don’t let your fear stop you from achieving your goal!
- DO IT SCARED. The more you do something, the less scary it becomes.
- If the fear is really affecting your life, then do not wait to get help from a professional, or at least make the definite choice not to do it.
Ultimately it is your choice – either you allow your fears to control you, or find a way to deal with them. Obviously living in fear isn’t the answer, so find ways to answer or work around the fears you have control over, and stop worrying about the ones you don’t. Otherwise, you’ll never stop procrastinating.
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