The root cause of your pattern is lack of self-trust and unconscious fears.
Now that you know the root cause of your repetitive pattern, you might be wondering what initiated it. As they say, awareness is the first step to freedom and here are few possible explanations and tools you can use to begin your healing journey.
The reason behind your unfinished projects and unrealized dreams is deeper than lack of motivation and follow through. Repeatedly falling into the trap of perfectionism or indecision are avoidance tactics designed by your subconscious mind to keep you safe. So it’s not about being bad at habits or lacking willpower. The source of your procrastination is in your subconscious mind.
We acquire limiting beliefs through a family of origin (the family unit you grew up in), early romantic relationships, friendships, or the school environment, and then we play them out in the future because we have been conditioned to do so on a deep subconscious level.
- Maybe you grew up in an environment where there was only one standard of performance which was perfection, and you felt compelled to pursue it to obtain approval and acceptance.
- Perhaps when you were young, your budding sense of initiative was not rewarded or encouraged.
- Maybe your efforts in the past was thwarted either by dismissal, belittling or excessive control.
- Perhaps you have had experiences that instilled in your sense of danger and led you to believe that world is an unsafe place.
- Possibly your emotions were invalidated or unacknowledged, and now you doubt your judgment.
Your repetitive experiences are symptoms of something more profound. The problem is that often we don't realize what is causing the "symptoms." We don't have any idea that it's connected to an unresolved experience. The key is to identify the event that initiated the pattern and then to transform it, so it no longer blocks you on a deep subconscious level.
You don't take action because deep down you fear that making a decision and following through with it might upset the current order of your life. If you take a leap of faith, you may face criticism or rejection, possibly lose friends or social support. So remaining where you are, might seem like a better alternative. It’s not a rational choice; instead, it's driven by your unconscious fears.
You are more than your past conditioning. It's time to unwind your natural potential you were born with out of your unconscious.
If you have difficulties prioritizing, or you keep focusing on less important tasks because they are less threatening; you are practicing avoidance. Any behavior which is not aligned with your goals can be used as an unconscious avoidance tactic. Even going to yoga five times a week instead of working on your goals, ultimately is a form of self-sabotage.
If you are spending inordinate amounts of time perfecting your projects, keep changing your mind or redo them endlessly, or just feel stuck in analysis paralysis, the culprit could be deeply buried belief that you have to be perfect even to matter. You might be only aware of the symptom, which is perfectionism fueled procrastination.
If you have a pattern of indecision, you might have grown up in an environment where your needs and voice were stifled, or most decisions were made for you. Possibly because of control or overprotectiveness, you didn't have a chance to develop your decision making muscle. And now on some level, you simply don't trust yourself.
The reasons why:
All those tactics are procrastination tools designed by your subconscious mind to keep you safe. Here are possible reasons why you might be subconsciously resorting to procrastination and its favorite friends: perfectionism, indecision and overwhelm to stop you from moving forward.
Perfectionism is a vice that our society doesn't always perceive as a negative. Often the statement "I am a perfectionist" is synonymous with having high standards and strong work ethic. We might think it's true, but what’s underneath is fear of failure or being punished in some way for not being "perfect." You might feel you have to perform at 150% just to be "ok" however it feels overwhelming, and instead, you fall into paralysis and don't accomplish anything. Perfectionism is even more layered if you had traumatic experiences because that trait had kept you safe in the past.
Also, striving to be perfect offers a semblance of control, so even though it might keep you in analysis paralysis, the paradoxical reward is the feeling of being in control. The price, however, is the constant feeling of stress, shame, and failure because you are not moving forward with life.
Indecision is connected to suppressed emotions, (you can read more about it here), self-doubt and low self-confidence. When our feelings are continually disapproved or dismissed, especially at a young age, we accept that view and start doubting ourselves. The reasoning goes something like that "If it's wrong to feel what I feel, but I feel it anyway, therefore there must be something wrong with me." Decision making is difficult if you don't trust yourself and had lost touch with your emotional center. Therefore, developing a relationship with your emotions is imperative.
Why You Can’t Outsmart Your Behavior Patterns And What To Do Instead:
First you need to create a sense of internal safety and self-trust.
Practice 1- Create your Sanctuary
Procrastination stemming from perfectionism, indecision and overwhelm is an avoidance mechanism designed by your subconscious mind to keep you safe. And the best way of transforming this pattern is developing an inner sense of safety and trust.
You want to imprint this sense of safety onto your subconscious mind, that's why using imagery is one of the most effective methods.
Before you embark on this exercise, it would be helpful to take the free 5-Day Mini-Course which will show how to use expressive art to connect with your subconscious mind and use art for healing.
Here are step-by-step instructions:
- Close your eyes, take few deep breaths and allow your body to relax. Now imagine a place of safety. It may be one that you already know, a place where you felt safe and taken care of, or it may be one that you can create in your imagination. If you have chosen an imaginary place just allow the images in your mind's eye to unfold without forcing.
- Just let your imagination show you the image. Try to engage your senses as much as you can, imagine the sounds and scents, if there is a light coming through, feel its warmth on your skin. You get the idea. Set an intention for this place to be vivid and real. However, if the details are not coming through or are subtle it's completely normal, and like I mentioned forcing anything is strongly discouraged.
- When you feel you have a good sense of the place, describe it to yourself ....the images, the colors, the sounds or silences, the temperature, the whole feel of it. Then begin to sense that feeling of safety inside of your body. What is the sensation of the security within your body? Is it steady? Is it cozy? Maybe you feel enveloped in warmth, or perhaps you feel expansive like you can do and accomplish anything because you are standing on a solid foundation.
- See if there is an image or a word or a phrase that comes to your mind that describes that safe place. If nothing comes to you, it's perfectly fine. Using art materials (markers, pastels, paper, magazine pictures, etc.) start creating an image of the felt sense of your sanctuary. Start making scribbles, lines, and shapes and fill them with colors that reflect the sensation you experienced going through previous steps of this exercise.
- Once your image is completed, you will have externalized the feeling of safety. Doing this exercise shows you that there is a natural sense of security and trust within you. And you can connect to this place, feeling and image anytime you feel stuck, paralyzed, or unable to take action. You can always return to your sanctuary because it's a part of you. Otherwise, you would not be able to connect with it and visualize it.
- I invite you to engage with the image you created and the feeling of safety it evokes for at least few minutes a day. The best time to do it is right when you wake up, you can do it laying in bed, or right before falling asleep when your brainwaves slow down to theta state. Theta brain waves are present during deep meditation and light sleep, including the REM dream state, which is the realm of your subconsciousness.
- Repetition is the key because subconscious mind responds to images, feelings, and repetition. It's like learning to drive for the very first time; you have to make the unfamiliar familiar, in this case, your goal is making safety and self-trust natural and familiar.
Practice 2- befriend your anger
In your case, it would be beneficial to work with an emotion of anger. Based on the work with people who went through childhood trauma, psychologists concluded that the outcome of repressed anger is diminished motivation and lack of follow through.
If you feel like you can't take steps towards your goals, establishing a healthy relationship to your anger can unblock you. If you wonder how to do it, I recommend you get my free 5-Day Mini-Course which will show you how to use expressive art to process, integrate and transform your emotions.
Practice 3 - Look for a bright Spot
Most of the time we focus on the things that went wrong, things we have done that are not good for us, like ruminating, putting things off, etc. Well, it's time to switch things around a bit.
I invite you to think about few things you did which are good for you.
Please write down answers to these questions:
- Think about the last time you did something that moved you towards your goals, how did you do that?
- How did you decide to do that?
- What helped you do that?
- What have you done so far today that is good for you?
- What else have you done today that is good for you?
- What else?
- What else?
Those questions are designed to help you refocus on the positive, notice there are exceptions to the rule, for example, you don't always procrastinate, and build upon those exceptions. You are not in your pattern every second of the day, nobody is. You are already making progress; the trick is to recognize it, learn from the positive and build upon it. I hope this journaling exercise brought some fresh insights for you.
What Happens Next - Free Mini Course Is On Its Way.
In 24 hours time, I’ll email you a free 5-Day Mini-Course.
It isn’t your average life-coaching exercise. It’s highly unlikely you’ve tried this little-known technique before.
This course will guide you through the step-by-step process of releasing and transforming painful emotions, so instead of blocking you and keeping you stuck in a repetition cycle they will become your ally and a guide.
For the next five days, you’ll need to set aside 30 minutes to complete a simple task. And within just a few days you you’ll be able to understand your beliefs and emotional patterns from a completely new perspective.