My daughter is learning about story structure in school and I actually found it quite interesting. It's like I'm listening with new ears. Why? Because I'm just realizing that starting something and ending something is actually a skill.
How is this a skill?
We often procrastinate because we have resistance to doing something that we need to do or have to do. We just can't seem to start. Has this ever happened to you? On the other hand there is ending an activity. Sometimes we get distracted and just move on to something. Other times we simply don't acknowledge that we are DONE for now, but leave things out assuming we will come back "later." Therefore starting something and ending something takes awareness and skill to execute.
Part of the resistance of starting something comes from making the task bigger in our head. In other words, we turn a mole hill into a mountain and think the task will be more complicated or take longer than we anticipated. Sometimes we may not know how to move forward. That's when making the task easier will be real handy. You can do this by breaking down the task into smaller, easier steps as well.
Here are a few ways that I saw myself procrastinating and how I got myself moving. I'm also including how I became more aware of how I end activities and how you can too, if this is something that you deal with on occasion.
1. Writing a blog article for my job - Instead of starting with a blank page, I outlined what I wanted to say, then a little each day wrote a paragraph at a time, sometimes two.
2. Creating something new - My daughter wanted to present a virtual art show for my Mom. But didn't want to get started. I made it easier for her by e-mailing her the pictures to include in one e-mail so she wouldn't have to search for them. Then, I told her to copy and paste ONE picture then take a break and move on. Well, once she got started she completed the entire project.
3. Putting away items after I eat - Sometimes, I would eat a bag of popcorn and leave the bag where I was sitting because I got distracted and moved on to something else. I realize that my entire family, except my hubby (he's actually much better than us) gets distracted in the Middle of an activity so we do not officially End the activity.
Realizing that my family, including me sometimes struggle with beginning and ending activities is a big revelation. Now that I'm more aware of beginnings, middle, and endings as they relate to every day activities, I feel more empowered to consciously change my behavior. Now, I have a way to communicate to myself and my children about the importance of recognizing the STRUCTURE of an activity.
Now when I finish something, I announce that I'm finished and that I'm cleaning up and leaving no trace so that my kids will eventually follow suit so that this way of thinking and behaving will become engrained in who they are. This is how change slowly takes place without us noticing.
What was the last task that you didn't want to do that you somehow got yourself to do? How did you move beyond your resistance to get it done?
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