Beating Procrastination



Image by denn via Flickr

‘The only thing I can’t stand is discomfort.’ ~Gloria Steinem

By Leo Babauta

Of all the skills I’ve learned in the past 7 years of changing my life, one skill stands out:

Learning to be comfortable with discomfort.

If you learn this skill, you can master pretty much anything. You can beat procrastination, start exercising, make your diet healthier, learn a new language, make it through challenges and physically grueling events, explore new things, speak on a stage, let go of all that you know, and become a minimalist. And that’s just the start.

Unfortunately, most people avoid discomfort. I mean, they really avoid it — at the first sign of discomfort, they’ll run as fast as possible in the other direction. This is perhaps the biggest limiting factor for most people, and it’s why you can’t change your habits.

Think about this: many people don’t eat vegetables because they don’t like the taste. We’re not talking about soul-wrenching pain here, not Guantanamo torture, but a taste that’s just not something you’re used to. And so they eat what they already like, which is sweets and fried stuff and meats and cheeses and salty things and lots of processed flour.

The simple act of learning to get used to something that tastes different — not really that hard in the grand scheme of life — makes people unhealthy, often overweight.

I know, because this was me for so many years. I became fat and sedentary and a smoker and deeply in debt with lots of clutter and procrastination, because I didn’t like things that were uncomfortable. And so I created a life that was deeply uncomfortable as a result.

The beautiful thing is: I learned that a little discomfort isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be something you enjoy, with a little training. When I learned this, I was able to change everything, and am still pretty good at changing because of this one skill.

Master your fear of discomfort, and you can master the universe.

Avoidance of Discomfort

When people are stressed, they often turn to cigarettes, food, shopping, alcohol, drugs … anything to get rid of the disomfort of the thing that’s stressing them out. And yet, if you take a deeper look at the stress, it’s really an unfounded fear that’s causing it (usually the fear that we’re not good enough), and if we examined it and gave it some light of day, it would start to go away.

When people start to exercise after being sedentary, they are uncomfortable. It’s hard! It can make you sore. It’s not as easy as not exercising. It’s not something you’re used to doing, and you fear doing it wrong or looking stupid. And so you stop after awhile, because it’s uncomfortable, when really it’s not horrible to be uncomfortable for a little while. We’re not talking about incredible pain, but just discomfort.

When people try a healthier diet, they often don’t like it — eating veggies and raw nuts and flaxseeds and fruits and tofu or tempeh or black beans isn’t as thrilling as eating fried, fatty, salty or sweet foods. It’s a form of discomfort to change your taste buds, but the truth is, it can easily happen if you just get through a little discomfort.

Discomfort isn’t bad. It’s just not what we’re used to. And so we avoid it, but at the cost of not being able to change things, not being healthy, not being open to adventure and the chaos of raw life.

Mastering Discomfort

The way to master discomfort is to do it comfortably. That might sound contradictory, but it’s not. If you are afraid of discomfort, and you try to beat discomfort with a really gruelling activity, you will probably give up and fail, and go back to comfort.

So do it in small doses.

  1. Pick something that’s not hard. Take meditation as an example. It’s not really that hard — you just sit down and pay attention to your body and breath, in the present moment. You don’t have to empty your mind (just notice your thoughts), you don’t have to chant anything weird, you just sit and pay attention. If you don’t like meditation, try a new healthy food, like kale or raw almonds or quinoa. Or a fairly easy exercise if you’re sedentary, like walking or jogging.
  2. Just do a little. You don’t have to start by doing 30 minutes of something you’re not used to doing. Just do a few minutes. Just start.
  3. Push out of your comfort zone, a little. My friend and Zen priest Susan O’Connell has a favorite meditation instruction that you can use for any activity actually: when you’re meditating and you feel like getting up, don’t; then when you feel the urge to get up a second time, don’t; and when you feel the urge to get up a third time, then get up. So you sit through the urge, the discomfort, twice before finally giving in the third time. This is a nice balance, so that you’re pushing your comfort zone a little. You can do this in exercise and many other activities — push a little.
  4. Watch the discomfort. Watch yourself as you get a bit uncomfortable — are you starting to complain (internally)? Are you looking for ways to avoid it? Where do you turn to? What happens if you stay with it, and don’t do anything?
  5. Smile. This is not trivial advice. If you can smile while being uncomfortable, you can learn to be happy with discomfort, with practice. When I did the Goruck Challenge in 2011, it was 13 hours of discomfort — raw and bloody knees, sand in my shoes as a hiked and ran with 60+ pounds on my back, carrying teammates and logs, doing pushups and crabwalks and other exercises, needing the bathroom and being tired and hungry and cold. And yet, I practiced something simple: I tried to mantain a smile through all this discomfort. It’s an important practice.

Repeat this practice daily. It will be strange, perhaps difficult, at first, but soon your comfort zone will expand. If you practice it enough, with different activities, your comfort zone will expand to include discomfort. And then you can master the universe.


What You Can Now Master

If you master discomfort, what can you now master as a result? Just about anything:

  1. Procrastination. We procrastinate to avoid something that’s not comfortable, but if you can learn to stay with that task, even if it’s not comfortable. The discomfort isn’t bad. Those of you going through the Procrastination module in my Sea Change Program are learning about dealing with the discomfort of staying with your important task.
  2. Exercise. We avoid exercise because it’s not comfortable, but if we expand the comfort zone a little at a time, we can make exercise something we’re comfortable with, after a little repetition.
  3. Writing. If you want to write but always seem to put it off, that’s because writing is often difficult, or less comfortable than checking email or social networks (for example). Stay with the discomfort, and you’ll write more than ever.
  4. Eating healthy. It’s amazing how much our taste buds can change over time, if we gradually get used to healthier foods. That means going through small periods of discomfort, but it’s not that bad in little doses.
  5. Meditation. We avoid the disomfort of sitting and doing nothing, of focusing on the present. But it’s not that hard — just a little uncomfortable.
  6. Waking early. Waking early means being a little tired for a little while, but that’s not a horrible thing. Read more about rising early.
  7. Learning a language/instrument. Want to learn something new? That means doing something you’re not used to, by definition, and so we often quit before we master this new skill, simply because (you guessed it) it makes us uncomfortable. Stay with the discomfort, and before long you’ll enjoy learning this new skill.
  8. Clutter. Clutter is just another form of procrastination. You don’t put things away, or you let a pile of things you don’t need build up, because it’s not comfortable dealing with it right now (as compared to, say, browsing the Internet or watching TV). But dealing with something right now isn’t that hard once you get past the discomfort.
  9. Reading novels. We tend to avoid simply sitting with a book, because we are pulled towards something more comfortable (again, Internet browsing as an example). If we can just sit with the book and a little discomfort, we can read more.
  10. Empty email inbox. Another form of procrastination — you get some emails, maybe look at them, but put off dealing with them right now because it’s easier not to.
  11. Debt. This is a series of things we have to deal with that are uncomfortable — listing out our debts and bills, making a simple budget, doing things that are free instead of shopping, etc. But I got out of debt by finally facing all of these things, and it was wonderful.
  12. New adventures. Many people stay with places they’re comfortable with, which means missing out on new experiences that might be a little uncomfortable. Even when they travel, many people stick with the tourist sights and food that they’re used to, rather than finding strange but more authentic experiences in a new land. We avoid meeting new people, speaking on stage, letting go of what we know, being open to new things … to avoid discomfort.

And that’s just the start. Within each of these areas there’s many things you can work on over the coming years now that you’re not afraid of discomfort, and there are many other areas of exploration now open to you.

Discomfort can be the joyful key that opens up everything for you.

‘Discomfort is very much part of my master plan.’ ~Jonathan Lethem

…More at Discomfort Zone: How to Master the Universe

Discover the Best Abundance Affirmations that Will Bring You Unlimited Success

That’s quite a claim isn’t it? But, you know there is always a right way and a wrong way of doing everything. And in my experience I have found that the ‘right way’ is by far and away the easier of the two.

Abundance affirmations are affirmations that are specifically designed to get you rewards in your life such as abundant wealth, abundance in relationships, in quality of lifestyle, in health and in fact in any area in which you want to abound.

Before offering you some specific abundance affirmations for you to use, I would like to provide a little guidance on the best way to use affirmations. Affirmations can easily be spoken whether out loud or in silence, but an affirmation needs more than verbalisation. Affirmations need most of all to be felt and felt from deep within.

Let me give you an example. If you feel frustrated and doubt that what you are doing is going to work out, what do you say? Something like: “This is never going to work. I can’t do this!” And you say it with so much feeling, conviction and force don’t you.

But when you speak out positive affirmations do you speak them with as much feeling, conviction and force. I think not. And that is why abundance affirmations or any other kind of affirmations do not have nearly as much effect on you or your life as your negative statements do. In fact your negative statements are also affirmations, only no one calls them as that.

So, from the very core of your self, speak out your abundance affirmations. Really feel them. Mean it; fill it with power.

Here are some abundance affirmations:

“I fully accept the unlimited abundance the universe is showering on me.”

“Abundance follows me in my every thought”

“I am thankful for the overflowing abundance happening in my life”

“I am open and free to accept all the abundance the universe is constantly offering me.”

To get more abundance affirmations like these and also a free report on making your mind positive go HERE now.

Is Subliminal Sleep Learning Real?

Is sleep learning really possible?

Well sleep learning is possible, but not in the way you might think, and certainly not in the way TV Sitcoms or Hollywood movies would make you think.

How It Does Not Work

Hollywood has a whole lot to blame for in this area, it glamourises sleep learning, or makes jokes about it and paints an entirely different image from how it truly is. Here I will expel the 2 main misguided beliefs aboutsubliminal sleep learning

  • It won’t instill information directly. It does not work by implanting info into your head for example – you won’t wake up speaking spanish without ever studying, it just doesn’t work by placing knowledge into your head without you consciously learning it within your waking life. It works simply as a learning BOOSTER – it clears your mind and helps you to learn faster, and much more naturally.
  • It doesn’t work instantly, or overnight. It is a slower process unfortunately – each time you listen the messages sink into your mind and you become a little sharper, and more focused – each night your ability to learn improves until you absorb information naturally.

The Real Benefits Of Sleep Learning

Subliminal Learning

So you’ve now learned that it isn’t miraculous or instant, however sleep learning has never been more popular, and listed below are several main reasons why:

  • It is totally non intrusive. You can use it while you sleep and let the messages sink into your mind by natural means. No further action, practice, repetiton is called for from you. This means that your lifestyle doesn’t have to transform at all, you can play the recording on a evening, transform your mind, and go about your day as normal.
  • I will be the first to say that it ISNT a miracle – you will not awaken a different person, however the change is going to be gradual, and it will support the action you are taking and help align your subconscious mind to your conscious goals and actions. It can give you a shortcut and help you to learn almost anything, or develop yourself in nearly every way imaginable.

One other reason that subliminals are becoming more and more popular is because it can also be considered a mild form of hypnosis – while you won’t enter a trance the messages will change you mind in a similar way – ultimately the messages will make real improvements to your unconscious mind and transform your ability to learn dramatically.

If you haven’t triedsubliminal sleep learning yet then the time has come. My friends at SubliminalMP3s are giving 3 free subliminal mp3 albums you can try by yourself; one forrelaxation, one for learning, and one for personal development. This is the ideal taster course in subliminal audio, and you can leave all 3 of them on whilst you sleep and experience the benefits for yourself.

Download These Powerful Three FREE Subliminal Audio Albums Today

binaural beats

If someone said that you can bring about great change by relaxing in a chair doing nothing I would say:”Don’t listen to them.” That is until now…

When I heard about Binaural beats

Let me reveal what they are:

Binaural beats are sounds that alter your brainwave frequencies resulting in an altered state of awareness that allow your mind, body and spirit to unwind and achieve inner peace in just minutes.

Binaural beats are a real break-though because they allow your brain to naturally enter slower brainwave frequencies associated with relaxation, heightened awareness, deep meditation and sleep quickly and easily. This literally means you can experience the same frequencies as a zen master – in just minutes and without all the hard work!

Jump Start Your Metabolism

In a bid to lose weight or get back into shape many people try to simply reduce their amount of food intake. Although this can be beneficial, especially if you are someone who is prone to eating a lot, there are other factors to take into account.

The reason why I entitled this post as ‘Jump start your metabolism’ is because by getting your metabolism working at an optimum rate, it is much easier to lose weight and more importantly keep it off. Most diet plans show you how to lose weight but not how to keep it off.

By boosting your metabolism, you are burning up the calories in the most natural way. And by eating more natural and water content foods you will be providing your digestive system with more immediately digestible foods.

Exercise and food control need to go hand in hand, but it doesn’t mean that you need to embark on a rigorous routine by any means. What’s needed is a simple but regular routine so that your body is able to start toning and developing muscle. This is not becoming muscley; that’s totally different. What it means is that by exercising you are simply getting into shape and ‘shape’ means correct muscle tone and volume.

Muscles burn more calories than any other cells in the body and so the more in shape you are, the more you are likely to stay that way.

Stop beating yourself up!

Do you find that you keep beating your self up? You are not alone as millions of people have the same habit. The problem is that by beating yourself up it becomes an addictive process so that whenever you make even the smallest mistake or simply don’t fulfill your own expectations of your self then the self critical and hurtful side of the personality kicks in. If this habit is not curbed then you can simply make life hell for your self.

Although you want to know how to stop beating yourself up, the very first thing that is essential to understand is: WHY are you beating yourself up? The reason why you need this understanding is that there is little point in trying the various techniques which help you to stop beating yourself up if the underlying cause is not identified and sorted out.

The fundamental reason for being so self critical and even cynical are almost always due to the lack of self love and self esteem. It doesn’t matter what your portfolio may be like. For example you may be a company CEO, a top athlete or celebrity or etc. It is more important how you value your self internally rather than just what the world thinks of you. The simple reality is that you don’t live or communicate with any one person all the time but you do live with and communicate to your self all the time.

How to stop beating yourself up? It all starts with observing your own thoughts and emotions to learn what is going on inside your head. Recognize what thoughts you produce and what kind of emotions they lead to. Very often you may have one thought of frustration due to a lack of achievement; it may even be due to not being able to complete a very simple task on time. That one thought of frustration then leads to a deeper emotion of frustration which then leads to more thoughts of frustration…and so the pattern continues. At that moment when you have a negative thought stop your mind for a moment and immediately produce a positive thought and try to feel that thought so the thought changes from just a thought to a feeling. For example replace a thought of frustration with a thought of patience. What you are doing is simply giving yourself space to change your thought patterns. It works; try it

Here is another very effective method to stop your self from beating yourself up: Before you start your working day and also before you launch into each particular activity within the day, stop for a few seconds to qualify and quantify what you want to achieve and by when you want to achieve it. As many causes for self criticism are due to the self imposed pressure of time, the time you give to your self will enable you to plan out your day more effectively so that the priorities get listed first on your list. By stopping before you start each main activity to check why you are about to do such an activity and how you are going to get it done will provide clarity and purpose as well as a chance to make sure that you have everything that you will need. This also works

To conclude it is very simply giving your self some much needed space in your own mind so that you know what you are thinking and the likely results of that. Then you are adjusting or re-directing the thoughts to experience a much more positive state

Harness the Power of Your Mind

The human mind is incredibly powerful. It was, after all, the human mind that was the origin of every invention and discovery. Everything that you see around you is the product of someone’s thought. That thought in the mind became, in time, the buildings, the aircraft, the ships, the computers, etc. The power of your mind is so amazing! If we harness that power look what can be achieved, but if we waste that power look what a mess we can get ourselves into.

As the mind is your thinking machine, like any machine it needs rest time. By this I don’t mean sleep but quiet contemplation. You need to know what is going on in your mind and not only on the surface but deeper within. By having time to your self you will be able to understand some of the driving forces in your mind. This in turn may well yield some interesting insights as to why you do what you do and in the way that you do it and also why you entertain certain desires and wishes. The quieter you can become in your mind, the more powerful and focused you will feel.

Before you start any activity, project or work, decide what you want to achieve and by when. The reason is that the power of your mind works most effectively when you give congruent, focused and clear information to it. If there is any vagueness or uncertainty in your thoughts or ideas the mind will not be in a position to cooperate completely with you. The power of your mind will be chocked, unable to work effectively.

Once you know what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve it, that is, you have worked out a plan of action, the next step is to visualize the successful accomplishment of your plan. By ‘seeing’ in your minds eye the task already successfully completed, even though you have not even started on it, provides the mind with a powerful signal. On the basis of this signal your mind can work at its most powerful level and create the results similar or even identical to what you had visualized.

Because the mind works so fast it also has a tendency to disappear into unwanted areas. You can call this wasteful, negative and useless thinking. By allowing your mind to get lost into any of these three will result in a great loss of time, energy and enthusiasm. Just as if you were driving a very powerful and responsive sports car, you would have to be very alert and attentive about what you did with the controls or you might end up in the ditch, so too the mind needs to be shown the same attention or it will end up in the ditch of negative thinking.

Just as with the example of the sports car it will take a lot to get it out of the ditch so it will take considerable attention to get the mind back on track. By maintaining a simple discipline of checking from time to time to see what thoughts you are having and if they are supportive or detrimental to your purpose, you will, in time, be able to keep your mind focused and empowered.

By using these tips to harness the power of your mind it will not be long before you start to feel that your mind is cooperating with you and your thoughts are powerful and focused. Success is the natural result when you use the power of your mind in this way.