I was controlled by an eating disorder, anorexia nervosa, for over a decade. During this time, I postponed eating and living always to the future. I didn’t want to “waste” calories today if I could eat tomorrow when there might be better food, a nicer atmosphere or better circumstances. I didn’t want to let myself go today if I might be able to do that tomorrow. I didn’t skip harming workouts to go out and have fun because of the chance that tomorrow would be a better opportunity.
Unsurprisingly, tomorrow never came around. At least, the “right” tomorrow on which I could finally start taking care of myself was seemingly elusive and the result was me walking down a very dangerous path.
Now that I am in recovery and have my eating disorder under control, I’ve noticed the same things happening in different areas of my life. Whether it relates to work or to my relationships, important things are way too often put off until tomorrow.
I am sure I am not the only one experiencing this kind of procrastination, but I am fed up with this nonsense.
Maybe you cannot tell whether you are a suspect of the case of the constant postponing quite yet. Don’t worry, here are a few telltale signs and what you can do to stop them from getting in your way of achieving your goals.
- You keep waiting for the perfect opportunity.
Here’s a newsflash: There’s never going to be the perfect moment or opportunity. You have to create it and the best way to do that is to act. Now. The longer you put something off the less likely you will actually do it. I know that from first-hand experience and the feeling of regret of having missed a chance is no fun. If any opportunity presents itself, then jump on it and do the best with it. An opportunity can be little things like reading this post and noticing that your life doesn’t have to be on pause and can be lived proactively.
2. You keep saying that you don’t have time.
The truth is that we all have the same amount of time, the only difference is in how we use it. I used to spend days only watching TV. Granted I was fighting a depression and anorexia, but still, I wasted so much precious time on mindless and useless stuff like Private Practice. Make an assessment, look where your time goes and how you could use it better. You’ll soon see that there are many areas you can carve out great amounts of time. I was almost shocked to notice how long a day could be when I stopped watching TV altogether. My productivity increased tremendously by simply eradicating this toxic habit from my life.
3. You keep giving in to fear.
Make no mistake, everybody has fears. It’s normal. It’s human. We just have to deal with them. When I sit down to start writing on a new blog post, I am always scared of failing to come up with words. Yet, I push through them every day and the reward of doing so is awesome. The best way of acting despite being scared or insecure is to make an emotional connection with the outcome. Imagine how relieved, excited or proud you’ll be after you have tried something new or fulfilled one of your dreams.
4. You keep educating yourself, but never act on it.
I am guilty of this one a lot. I love to educate myself on all kinds of things and with the internet, there are so many resources to choose from. It’s never been as easy to learn more about a topic or an area of interest as it is today. Yet, with these new opportunities, there also comes a problem. The more resources you have, the less you tend to act. There’s not enough time in a lifetime to learn everything about every subject. But the reality is that you don’t have to know every minute detail to be an expert at something, or at least not right away. I wasn’t an expert on anorexia and recovery when I started writing about it, but I didn’t let this stop me from producing something. I also didn’t know everything about improving your body image when I wrote my guide, but I have learned as much as I could and I put out the best work I could possibly do at that point in time. This doesn’t say that it was perfect, but it’s definitely helped many people since. Don’t hide behind books and education, but use it to ship, as Seth Godin would say.
5. You keep waiting for the right relationship.
This can apply to any kind of relationship, whether it’s of a romantic or purely friendly nature. Waiting for the right relationship to travel the world, enjoy food, move to a different country or whatever it is you want to do is deathly for those dreams. Sure, it’s nice to have a partner when making a big change, but you shouldn’t rely on that as a catalyst for living your life in the now.
6. You keep saying you don’t have enough money.
Money is pretty tight in our household right now. Worryingly so. And yet, we make it work. If you’re in a similar situation, then start thinking creatively. Ask others for help, for ideas or possible ways to get out of that hole. Be proactive about it. Where can you carve out some money? Where are you spending more than you should? Do you really need certain aspects of your life or could you redistribute your money to an area that is going to help you living fully to your values?
7. You keep claiming you don’t have enough self-confidence.
That’s the worst and yet such a wide-spread problem. Almost everybody seems to have problems with being self-confident, but there’s an easy way of changing it. Start thinking more positive and fill yourself with kind words and thoughts. Start smiling at yourself more often. Start walking tall and sitting straight. Start speaking up and put yourself first more often. If you are persistent, your self-confidence will go through the roof before you know it.
8. You keep telling yourself that there will always be a tomorrow.
Well, there may or may not be. You never know. I wouldn’t take the chances. Life is so much more exciting and fun if you do what’s exciting you right now. Who says that you’ll still enjoy traveling the world after you retire? Maybe your hips will hurt or your health will be shaky or your energy levels will be extremely low, which makes traveling not only exhausting, but also painful. You never know if you’ll have another chance at taking up that hobby or eating that specialty. So, use every day to its fullest and live in the here and now in order to create the best life possible for you.
There is nothing worse than looking back at life with regret. But if we keep walking the road of constant procrastination, this outcome is guaranteed.
It’s not too late to make the necessary changes.
Start living now.
Anne – Sophie Reinhardt is a world traveler, an anorexia survivor, a positive body image advocate, podcaster, blogger, digital entrepreneur, speaker, wive, lover of books, aspiring yogi and social media enthusiast. Her blogs My Intercontinental Life and Fighting Anorexia are focused on living a purposeful, free, healthy and passionate life.
Photo credit: ‘Flights Delayed‘ by Big Stock