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Hypnosis For Procrastination: I'll Try It Tomorrow (Part 1)

May 25, 2008
It happened a little while back, but I remember it clearly. I should first say I'm a hypnotist. I help people lose weight, stop smoking, improve their romantic situations and solve the little foibles that sometimes make life, well, less than ideal.

Things like always being late, misplacing important objects, and, yes, putting off what needs to be done--endlessly.

Anyway, it was two months ago when I got this call from a woman. She left a message. "I'm calling for hypnosis," it said, "Call me back. Here's my num--Oh, never mind! I'll just call you again tomorrow. Or the next day." She didn't.

- The Client Who Wouldn't--Or Couldn't-- Show Up

Two months passed before I spoke to the woman. She had a friendly voice. She told me her story.

She had three more credits left to get her college degree. She had started school seven years ago. It seemed a shame to be putting it off for so long, but things kept coming up. Like not getting around to choosing that last class. See, to finish her degree, in her major, with her career goal, there was a choice of two classes.

Both were offered almost every semester.

We made an appointment a week and a half away. She never arrived.

She called again. I asked her to pre-pay for the session this time, thinking it would make a difference. It didn't. Well, it did to me. I cashed the check. She understood completely. She made another appointment. This one she actually canceled.

It was progress, but not much.

"Do you want to work on your issue, improve your situation?" I asked her.

"Of course I do," she said, surprised that I would even ask.

- The Habit You Put Off Breaking (Or Creating)

The same woman continued to set appointments with me every so often, but didn't keep any. She improved only by canceling a few days in advance. I asked her if perhaps she didn't feel comfortable with the idea of hypnosis, or with me, or with solving the problem only to create a new one.

She said none of that rang a bell.

There are many reasons why people procrastinate. Google "procrastination" and all heck breaks lose, but certain reasons for putting things off stand out as the most common, at least in my experience, both personal and professional.

Notice which ones resonate with you, and what changes in action or attitude can help.

- Reason 1: Fear of Change/Comfort with the Status Quo

Change is scarier to most people than keeping things the way they are, even if unpleasant. It's "the devil you know" vs. "the devil you don't." Many people are simply afraid they won't be able to handle a new experience.

But if the status quo isn't working, why not try mixing it up a bit? Not every change has to be a leap across a wide gorge.

If a step-by-step approach is possible, try that first. Notice what's working and keep moving further in that direction. Otherwise, make adjustments until you discover what works. Staying frozen because of fear usually produces regret.

- Reason 2: Fear of Ineptitude

Most people make mistakes when they try something new. That's expected; it's part of discovery and learning.

When scientists experiment, they expect to make adjustments, even to start all over again. Be a scientist. Take reasonable risks. The more you work at it, the more expert you become.

When you first learned to walk, you fell a lot. Have you survived? Thought so!

But for people who expect to be perfect, even the first time, fear of ineptitude holds them back from trying, learning, succeeding and, ultimately, mastering.

Ironically those who are willing to stumble, experiment, and fail miserably end up being masters while people who loathe failure walk away from learning the craft altogether.

Which makes me ask: who ultimately is the success and who the failure?

- Reason 3: Fear of Success--And New Expectations

Why would anyone be afraid of success? To some, it's even scarier than failure. Success creates demands because when something is working, expectations from self and others grow. It is presumed that you will do more and, perhaps, be more. Or so you assume.

But isn't it possible that you don't have to achieve a lot all at once?

Couldn't it be gradual? For example, you successfully learn a new computer program at work. Now you can do more in less time. Are you afraid that you'll be given double the workload?

It's possible, depending on the company where you work. But couldn't this new skill make your work easier and less time consuming? Couldn't it set you up for a desirable move up the ladder, net you a higher salary--or the ability to change jobs at will?

Perhaps you can ask for time to integrate the new skill into your workday before taking on added responsibilities. And there's often the option of not saying too much, too soon, to too many people--until you're feeling comfortable with your new learnings. In other words, don't brag. --Article to be continued in "Hypnosis for Procrastination: I'll Try It Tomorrow (Part 2)." 2008 by Wendy Lapidus-Saltz. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Wendy Lapidus-Saltz, "The Optimizer," is a mind coach and hypnotist who helps people fulfill goals by optimizing abilities and traits they already possess; discovering gaps and filling them; and using the natural abilities of the subconscious mind to make the process easy and joyful. Read her at http://www.hypno-attraction.com, http://www.nonsmoker4life.com . Connect with her at ILAPSAL@aol.com or 312-640-1584.
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