Overcoming difficult tasks. One of the primary coping strategies that all humans use from time to time is procrastination: The art of leaving to tomorrow what you could and possibly even “should” do today. When we procrastinate every now and then with things that aren’t so big it has no harmful or lingering impact on our lives. We’ve simply chosen to pick up the dry cleaning Friday rather than Thursday and it’s stuff we don’t need until Monday so no biggie.
However, those of us who use food to cope in any way also typically struggle with procrastination in a big way and that has a nasty impact on our overall sense of peace and trust in ourselves. This inevitably leads us to need to use food to cope even more to numb out or to feel that at least we’re on top of something.
The underlying triggers that cause us to reach for food to cope or to restrict set off a chain reaction that looks something like this:
- We feel unsafe or insecure about something in our lives – either because it’s new and different or because we’ve been told by others it can be difficult or we’ve tried it before and it was hard, or for some other reason altogether.
- We then tell ourselves a nasty story that it’s not going to go well or that we won’t be able to be successful.
- This story naturally triggers feelings of anxiety and overwhelm.
- These feelings are so uncomfortable that they lead us to want to numb out or avoid this thing we’ve told ourselves won’t go well and we do that numbing out and avoiding by using food to cope in some way and by putting off any effort towards the thing that we’ve said won’t go well.
- Thus our stress level rises and we have even less chance of success, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy and greater likelihood of procrastinating even more furiously next time around.
Not the most life-enhancing course of action when we’re coming from a rational and balanced mind.
But….it makes perfect sense when we really believe at our core that we are incapable; that we are not good enough; that we are undeserving of love and success and freedom and peace and all that we desire. From that standpoint it seems perfectly reasonable to assume we won’t be successful and to just give up before we even start.
Ironically this typically leads us to have to rush around at the last minute and stress ourselves out much much more than we needed to in order to complete whatever “it” is. Or we just get so overwhelmed and we buy so fully into the story that we can’t do it/won’t be successful that we don’t do “it” at all and then have to live with feelings of shame and guilt and embarrassment and all the self-judgment and the “I told you so’s” from within our own head and perhaps even from some key people in our lives.
Overcoming Difficult Tasks with Easy Ones – Procrastination
Procrastination is a killer of peace and of self-esteem and it’s also caused by a diminished sense of self-esteem and the nasty belief that: We just aren’t good enough and we never will be so there’s no point in even trying.
A great place to start to attend to our use of procrastination to cope is to notice that we’re procrastinating and to ask ourselves the following questions:
“What specifically am I telling myself about this thing/event/task that is leading me to procrastinate?”
“Is there any all or nothing thinking in that story?”
“What are some other possible ways that that thing/event/task could be handled or could turn out?”
“Could I allow myself to choose to believe and act on one of those other stories instead of the original, all or nothing, one?”
Give that a go and see what you discover about your thought processes and what happens to your use of procrastination to cope.
If you’re ready to break free of the cycle of procrastination and learn to meet new and old challenges from a place of excitement and self-confidence it’s time to contact The CEDRIC Centre and let us support you to be the best you can be in all ways.