Tips for stopping procrastination

Dr. Toni Galardi explains, "Procrastination at its core is motivated by the fear of change. Psychologists and motivational speakers have all debated as to whether it is the fear of success or fear of failure at the root of this complex. I submit that it is both but that the deeper issue is the fear of loss. If I make this choice, it might be "the wrong one"."

"Many times they are; Choosing means dying to other choices. What if you comit 100% to this decision and what if this decision takes me on a path into an unknown future that I'm not prepared for? Stagnation sucks but it is something you are familiar with, something you think you can control. The problem is that this is pure illusion because we are evolutionary beings. Survival of the fittest means those who can adapt to change. If we try to maintain the status quo when what our soul needs is to get healthy through exercise, advance yourself professionally, or take a vacation and rest, and we make no decisions, we invite a crisis to emerge, a lifequake, and then the decision is made for us. Procrastination is an addiction because my definition is that addiction is whatever is between you and what you are really afraid of," says Galardi.


  1. Remember past successes achieved from your efforts.
    Go back to your earliest memory of a decision you made that didn't turn out as you wanted. Was it trying out for sports, turning in a school assignment you had really worked hard on, or telling someone you had a crush on, that you liked them? As you recall this event, where do you feel the emotion in your body? Now, focus your breath on this spot. As you keep breathing into it, allow your body to surrender and receive your breath just as you would if you were stretching a muscle that was tight. As the feeling begins to change, notice what feeling is replacing it. Now think of a time that you committed to something 100% and it produced your desired effect. For example, you ate healthy and exercised and your body got stronger. Place that feeling of mastery in your non-dominant hand, the one you don't' write with. Take your hand and place it over the spot in your body that once held the fear of commitment. This will anchor that feeling.

  2. Use Your Power of Observation to Uncover What Changes You DO Like Making--And What Brings You Joy.
    Take one area of your life that you need to make a decision about--family, career, lifestyle--does it seem overwheming to address it? How could you experience a low level of anxiety connected to this area where change is needed? For example, if you need to make a career change and have been dragging your feet because you don't want to stay stuck in the same job you've been doing but you don't know what you are passionate about, then notice and pay attention to everything you encounter in a day at work that produces great enthusiasm/passion or even mild interest. Keep a journal of all of it. Risking change through deciding begins with experiencing a good feeling around low level change like just committing to observation.

  3. Commit to Daily Introspection and Let Your Gut Guide You.
    Spend 15 minutes a day of quiet contemplation. No TV, computer, or even reading. Sit still and center yourself through breath work then ask the question of your intuition: what step would you have me take next? All you need to know is the next step. The answer may come right away or it may come spontaneously when you are doing something else like a household chore or as you wake up from a dream. When you get that answer, take that step.

  4. Forget the 5-Year Plan--Focus On The Journey Instead.
    A main key to stopping the procrastinating habit is to know that you don't have to know the five year plan, just the next step. Healing the addiction to procrastination requires tolerance for the unknown future. If you focus just on the truth of the next step, you become more oriented toward the journey of life rather than an end goal. When you take your last breath on earth, your thoughts will hopefully be on, Did I give it my all, not, Did I make all the right choices?
Dr. Toni Galardi is a licensed psychotherapist, public speaker, and the author of her new book: The LifeQuake Phenomenon: How to Thrive (not just survive) in Times of Personal and Global Upheaval. Dr. Galardi works by phone internationally with people in transition. For those seeking private consultation, she can be reached at 310.712.2600. To submit questions for "Ask the LifeQuake™ Doctor", contact Dr. Toni Galardi through her email address:

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