Noticing Yourself Starting To Procrastinate? Do This ASAP

Photo: Aleksandra Jankovic

Grace Smith is on a mission to bring hypnotherapy to the masses. Her distinct style of hypnotherapy feels more like “meditation with a goal,” as she puts it, and can help people do everything from calm their anxiety to get to the root of their insomnia. Her new book, Close Your Eyes, Get Free is a wonderful primer on the practice. Enjoy this exclusive excerpt on training your brain to stop procrastinating.

Oftentimes, procrastination is not a sign of laziness. It’s a fear of failure.

This fear drives so much of our lack of initial effort. Since our subconscious wants to keep us safe, the underlying possibility of failure can be enough to keep us in our comfort zone, especially once giving in to that behavior becomes a habit.

Overcoming procrastination requires that a number of different areas of the subconscious be transformed or reprogrammed. For example, you can start by re-establishing what feels good. Instead of the distraction prompting the good feeling, link accomplishing the task to the boost of serotonin—maybe you tell yourself one thing you love about yourself every time you cross something off your to-do list, or reward yourself with a long walk outside once that pressing email is sent.

Hypnotherapy can be another effective tool for reprogramming the mind to stop procrastination. And the good news is, you can use the tenants of hypnosis all by yourself to overcome procrastination. Below, I've outlined how to do a self-hypnosis during those times you can't seem to focus on the task at hand. I suggest reading through the following directions two or three times before beginning so that you will be able to follow along easily.

Photo: Hayden Williams

A self-hypnosis for beating procrastination:

  1. Begin by making note of your starting stress level. 10 = a full-blown panic attack and 0 = zero stress, no stress at all, the most relaxed a person can possibly be. Remember this number.
  2. Sit in a comfortable chair and place your feet flat on the ground, rest your hands gently in your lap.
  3. With your spine straight but comfortable, take 4 deep, slow breaths, inhaling through the nose for 4 counts and exhaling out the nose for 8 counts.
  4. Close your eyes and imagine gentle roots growing from the bottom of your feet down into the center of the earth, grounding you.
  5. Imagine a color you love flowing in through the top of your head, all the way through your body, out the bottoms of your feet and down those roots, down into the center of the Earth.
  6. Bring all of your focus and awareness and attention to the palms of your hands. Perhaps you can feel your palms tingling, perhaps you can feel your heartbeat in your hands, perhaps you notice a sensation of expansion in your hands. Just notice and breathe for a few moments (you can choose whatever length of time feels best; about 30 seconds is my personal favorite).
  7. With your eyes closed, countdown from 10 to 1, saying "I am going deeper and deeper" after each number: Ten, I am going deeper and deeper. Nine, I am going deeper and deeper. Eight, I am going deeper and deeper. Seven, I am going deeper and deeper. Six, I am going deeper and deeper. Five, I am going deeper and deeper. Four, I am going deeper and deeper. Three, I am going deeper and deeper. Two, I am going deeper and deeper. One, I am going deeper and deeper.
  8. With your eyes closed, repeat the following hypno-affirmations either silently in your mind or out loud, 10 times: I am safe, I am calm, I choose to be here. I easily complete the biggest item on my to-do list first. I am in the zone.
  9. Take another nice, deep, letting-go breath, and with your eyes still closed, imagine being more productive than you have ever been until you curl up in bed tonight. See, feel, and experience yourself knocking items off your to-do list one by one. Have a smile on your lips as you imagine this.
  10. Once you’ve spent one or two minutes imagining the rest of your day being more productive than ever before, imagine the same color as before flowing in through the top of your head, all the way through your body, out the bottoms of your feet and down those roots into the center of the Earth.
  11. Put a gentle smile on your lips, open your eyes, stretch your arms over the top of your head, and say, "Yes!"
  12. Notice your new number on the scale (remember 0 = zero stress, the most relaxed you can be) and congratulate yourself on how quickly you improved your state!

Read more from Grace Smith here.

Based on an except from Close Your Eyes, Get Free with permission from the publisher.

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