10 May, 2022

4 Ways to Conquer Procrastination


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“Procrastination is the thief of time.” – Charles Dickens

Today’s topic is one that we are all guilty of doing at one point in time in our lives. It is one habit that has prevented us from reaching our fullest potential. We are all aware of what procrastination is. We know it negatively affects us, but why do we do it? Why do we always put off doing what we must do? More importantly, how can we stop procrastinating?

Tune in and find out the answers. Help me, help you reinvent yourself and become the best version of you because a great life does not happen by chance but by design.


✅ We procrastinate to avoid pain or stress and because we lack direction.

✅ Overpower the urge to procrastinate:

  • Be aware of what you are doing to yourself. Understand and believe how great you can be.
  • Choose and decide who you want to become.
  • Stop stalling about specific tasks and start acting, get in the game, as Mel Robbins mentioned in her 5 Second Rule book.
  •  Celebrate every time you stop and start until you can form better habits. 

Important stories:

✍🏼 12:34 Jim Rohn’s views on indecision.

✍🏼 13:43 Bill Gates and his own procrastination.

✍🏼 15:50 Zig Ziglar on things we do when we get excited about the future activities and why we do them.


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Excited to hear your thoughts about this episode.


I help everyday people achieve their goals & dreams!   Helping and coaching people in my expertise. And it is VERY satisfying to change people’s lives so they improve and change their health, finances, relationships, confidence, and mindset.

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About Pete Cohen: Pete Cohen is one of the world’s leading life coaches and keynote speakers. Hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have been motivated and inspired by Pete’s presentations. He has professionally impacted the lives of thousands of people worldwide, including business executives, professional athletes, and everyday people.  Pete focuses on the importance of closing the gap in our lives between where we are and where we want to be, both personally and professionally.

It’s then all about coaching you to remove the obstacles that are in your way and helping you install the habits of success.

Pete is the author of 20 published books, several of which have been best-sellers across the world, including Shut the Duck Up, Habit Busting, Life DIY, and Sort Your Life Out. He has also presented his own show on TV called The Coach and was the resident Life Coach on GMTV for 12 years.

Pete Cohen  0:00

Happy beautiful day. It's the Pete Cohen podcast. It's the Future Self podcast and today we're talking 4 Ways to Conquer Procrastination. I will see you after the theme tune.


Pete Cohen  0:44

oh what is stuck inside your head? I think we've all got things stuck in our head and we haven't we I mean, do we all suffer? From procrastination? I think it's absolutely fascinating, don't you, you know what goes on. Between those two little ears or those big ears. My ears are definitely getting bigger. And someone explained to me why that is. I haven't worked it out


Pete Cohen  1:10

you know the hair that was once on my head is definitely moving a south. Any of you that know me? I'm fairly bald. I started going bald at probably about 17. I felt very insecure but I didn't actually understand what was happening. But if I'd kind of looked at my dad and kind of looked at my grandfather and looked at my other grandfather, I would have realized that well, they didn't have much hair on their head. So chances are I was going to go down that road but I thought it was something wrong with me. Now I realize I've got a lot of hair on my chest, on my back, and dare I say in my nose in my ears, and on my ears. I actually have hair on my ears and I regularly have to do something about that because my wife doesn't like it. And I've been someone who's always been asking questions always like, you know, why is that? And my theory about the hair thing is everything moves south right? Everything moves south eventually. But at the same time where everything is moving south, you can still move north. You can still move towards where it is that you want to go. And this might sound a little bit heavy. But I think it's the truth. You know, life is an event that it will end in the West in some form. And we will die. But why we are dying, we can still choose to live. And I personally think that many people are not choosing to live to their fullest that doesn't make sense living to with intent, or living with an intent that inspires them to get up every single morning. There's clues everywhere if you're like me like I'm like the inspector clues Oh, of what works. I for years have been just looking at the study of experience the study of my own experience the study of your experience, the curiosity that comes from inside me. How can this be better than what it is and today I want to talk about procrastination. We've done podcasts on this before. Everything we do at the future self podcast. Everything that we do as a business within Mi365 is very simple. It's about getting people to stop, stop first of all and stop and look, look at where you are, you know not to judge it not to criticize it, not to even analyze it just to look at it because if you really want to go to a place that you've not been before, and you want to start an endeavor or start a new habit. You got to stop first and it's a wonderful thing when you can stop and pause and stop putting that off. Because procrastination is some it's a word ultimately, you know what does the word mean to you? Because what it means to you might be something completely different to what it actually means to me. But if you want to look at the origin of the word, surprise, surprise, it comes from a Latin word, which means to put forwards. So why would anyone put something forwards? Again, everyone's different, but if we were looking for commonality, why would people start things with great intentions? How many of you have ever started something with a good intention? What got you to start? Well, we know this that what gets most people to start most of the time is pain. We know that it's for years in psychology, we used to think that what drove behavior was the desire to avoid pain and gain. gain pleasure. We now know that's really not true. It is maybe to gains to gain some sort of pleasure, but it's only to get out of pain. You know, recently I started with our stock one stock one program. We encourage everyone to do a start and a stop and do that for 30 days. And then then start another start and stop and go out there and create identity capital as you go out and pursue the person you want to be you invest in that person. So I decided to start stretching for an hour a day. Now that's big for a lot of people that might be too much, which we'll talk about how to get yourself in the game where you get to win more of the time because often people will overwhelm themselves by the goals that they set themselves.


Pete Cohen  5:12

But it's fascinating what got me to start stretching in the first place was what I was. There's too much pain in my body too much in flexibility that I thought you know, I've got to do something about it. Isn't that fascinating? What drives most people to do something in the first place is a dissatisfaction. And if you look at any great entrepreneurs, you know, great people, they have looked at a circumstance and gone. This isn't great. I don't like this. They attach some sort of pain to it. And they're driven to make it better but there are certain types of people that are driven to make things better because they can see the result of things being better. And I think it's really important to have the conversations about procrastination because why would we put things off? It's pretty obvious really because we associate pain to it. We associate some sort of pain and discomfort to it. And you know today I've got a few special guests in the studio with me. One of them is a lady called Mel Robbins. I'd love you just to take a moment to listen to what Mel Robbins actually says about procrastination. This is fascinating procrastination is a form of stress relief. Let me explain this. So let's say that you've got some stuff going on in your life and heck, who doesn't have stuff going on in your life? Maybe you're fighting with your significant other, maybe moms or dads health is failing and it's really, really upsetting you maybe you've got some financial stuff, you put too much of your savings into Bitcoin and now that that's crashed, you're stressed out about it, right? And so you go into work and when you get into work, you got stuff to do. You kind of walk in and you got this big stress ball that subconsciously is hanging over your head and so you walk in and you sit down and you know you got 13 phone calls you need to make and you also know that you've been chickening out you've been making easy calls and there's a bunch of CIOs or other people that are higher level that you haven't been calling. And so as you sit down to do it, you got the stress on your shoulders, your brain that starts to go wait a minute, you want me to make a call to somebody that I'm scared to make? Absolutely not I'm so stressed out about can we just watch some cat videos for a minute? See, it's absolutely singing No an hours gone. It's absolutely fascinating, right? Because if we're in pain it already and then you need to do something that you associate pain to. So if you think about anything that requires work, it's so it's so important. I really appreciate Mel Robbins on what she does in the five second rule, and it's a fantastic book and it's a fantastic tool to get yourself in the game. But the first step to conquering procrastination, it has to be awareness. You just have to be aware. First of all, you know, you have to just kind of open up and just start to observe. That's the first way observe what's going on. Observe the narrative observe the experience of being used it just like she said, if there's something that is that requires effort and energy like this, for example, exercise, let's say you get up every single day you do a job you don't really enjoy your job very much or it's aspects that you don't and you work all day and you have to get up first and the kids are screaming and getting to school and then you go to work or you work from home. And it's and you have to do a lot of things that maybe you don't want to do and you're tired, you know and then you and then you got to work out. Excuse me. I've been working all day and now you want me to work out you know, no way because you associate pain and it's work and you've just been working out you need to work out I'm just going to watch another cat video or not look at another reel on Instagram or whatever it is to get some relief to get out of pain. But what we see with a lot of people is that's only temporary we tend to go back to what we were doing before and if we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always got. So procrastination is to put things off, put things off until tomorrow. And a lot of people don't realize that even people like Leonardo da Vinci you know he was a chronic procrastinator, you know it took him what 16 years to do. The Mona Lisa, there were so many pieces of work and he never finished he stopped a lot of people because he didn't finish. So he wasn't he was a bit of a perfectionist and you know, we'll do some we'll definitely do some podcasts on that on perfectionism because that often stops people from getting started. But what's really important and what I encourage you to do is to understand that you know you're not alone here. And once you get started so this is the other point I just really want to make. I love you to get your head around this because this is really really powerful that human beings we are designed to save energy, we are conserving energy machines, that's why we have the ability to store fat on our body so that when there is no food, we've got energy on our body that we can use to survive. So you know if you think about going back and using exercise as an example or writing a book or you're not going to do it, if you you see what many cases the honeymoon period might get you to start because you get excited about it. But once the honeymoon period wears off, which invariably does maybe because you don't see the result that you want or you just get bored


Pete Cohen  10:10

you go back to where you were before but from a an evolution standpoint, there's a part of you that's just gonna go what's the point of doing this, you know, cavemen didn't think about retirement, you know, cavemen wouldn't weren't thinking too far into the future they were just thinking about the next meal just about surviving, avoiding pain, avoiding danger. Caveman would never have gone for a run imagined want to go for a run or go route run know what's that? That would be dangerous, right? Severely dangerous because if they run out of energy and a saber toothed Tiger came running along, we got a problem. And what I'm encouraging everyone to do if you really want to conquer procrastination, you need to understand first, yes, become aware become aware of the greatness that lies in your head that you do have the ability to start and sometimes the hardest thing to do is just get started to get into the game. And the second thing I want you to do if you really want to conquer procrastination is to forgive yourself, to forgive yourself. For all the times in the past when you have procrastinated. There was a study that was done. I was reading about it with 119 students, and they went through this exercise of forgiving themselves before they started studying. And for so many of them. It alleviated that procrastination they didn't feel the need to continue the habit. My brother was a chronic procrastinator. I remember I was always pretty scared of procrastinating when when I was younger, because when I was at school, that was another another story. The point I'm trying to make here is really very simple. That first off, you're not alone. Secondly, just become more aware of the narrative become aware I'm not doing this because I soaked associate pain to it. There were some studies that were done with people that don't like maths, right. They don't like maths. Even when they thought about maths we could see pain receptors in their brain going off. But once they started the maths once they engaged with the maths, those pain receptors turned off. It's just about getting in the game. It's about making that decision. And as few better people that I know that to talk about this then then Jim Rohn just take a few moments just to listen to what Jim Rohn says about this


Jim Rohn  12:34

Indecision is the thief of opportunity. In decision indecision means the door is still closed. Indecision means the opportunity waits. Indecision means what could be is postponed or may never be


Pete Cohen  12:49

fascinating. Once again, Jim Rohn, one of the forefathers of I suppose self help personal development, and about that indecision that we've never been living in a better time in some respects. Some people might talk differently about that, especially with what's going on right now. But in terms of the possibilities that exist, of all the things we can do all the things that we can learn all the people we could become the choices that we have, which is another thing Jim Rohn talks about, about we're the only animals that have this choice, the dignity of choice. But what are we doing with the choices that we have most of us are becoming very predictable, very predictable because we keep being who we think we are. And it's about making that different decision. And I'm, I'm excited I'm a fired up and I really want you to take a moment now to listen to somebody else. Who's this talking? I'll tell you


Jim Rohn  13:42

it's Bill Gates. One habit that I developed when I when I was at college, that was actually a very bad habit, which was, I like to show people that I didn't do any work, and that I didn't go to classes and I didn't care. And then at the very last minute, like two days before the test, I get serious about it. And people, people thought that was funny. You know, that was my positioning the guy who did nothing until the last minute. Then when I went into business. That was a really bad habit. And it took me a couple years to get over that nobody praised me because I would do things at the last minute and I tried to reverse to students I'd actually


Pete Cohen  14:27

once again, you know, you listen to him, it's like what got him here. He's, you know, he obviously had some talent and he had some success with that talent Bill Gates, but that only got him so far right? That he's put into a different arena. It's like her that that ain't gonna work here my friend because we're in an industry where everything is evolving. I need to reinvent myself. And I really encourage you to, to open up to this fact that everything you're doing today is a vote for your future self. You know, that's why this podcast is called the future self podcast, because we want you to start thinking about your future. Beyond just a day, a week, a month for you to get excited about the opportunities that exist for you. And you know, when I left university, having been in academia for a long time, I was a bit disillusioned by all of the academic and I was became much more interested in something which we now call in practice idemia which is the practices of, of academic research of kind of what works. And that started my journey on personal development and looking for the answers you know, and reading the books and the first book I read was by this guy and I'd love you to hear what Zig Ziglar has to say on this. This is really, really fascinating.


Jim Rohn  15:39

Your honest ever hand goes. Second question. How many of you the day before you go on vacation, generally get more done than you normally get done in in it? 234 or five days will everybody hold up that? Of course I do. Alright. And let me tell you why you do that. First of all, you focus on exactly what you've got to do. Second to make a list of what needs to be done. Third, you prioritize those things as to what is important for you get after him with a considerable amount of enthusiasm. Fifth, you accept the responsibility that if you don't do it, somebody else is going to do it. Six you make the commitment to do it and seventh you become a team player. Now if that works out well before you go on vacation, why not do it every day. Now let me emphasize a point by doing it every day one of two things will happen. You will either move up the ladder very quickly, or else you will finish what you need to do much more quickly. Then you can use the extra time for recreation, personal growth, family time, spiritual goals are all of the other things. Lack of time is not the problem. Lack of direction is the problem.


Pete Cohen  16:56

Fascinating lack of direction is the problem. Lack of direction is the problem. Where where is the erection? Now I don't mean to be candid with that. But what is it that you're building? What is it you're erecting? Who is it you're becoming? And again, these conversations they're the most incredible conversations to have when I was a teacher and I got in trouble because I spent too much time according to other teachers talking to students, because all I was interested in was what they're excited about capturing their imagination about who they wanted to be. You know what they wanted to do and eventually I had to get out of that system. I had to get out you know for me because I just I was really frustrated with the confines of the education system. So I you know, I've created my own and that's what I've been doing for the last, you know, 32 years and I really feel like I've only just got started and I'm genuinely looking for people that want to overcome themselves and become more and build that relationship to their future self. So I really hope you've enjoyed listening to people like Jim Rohn Mel Robbins, Zig Ziglar What a fantastic name. You know, that is and there are things that we can do here. So let's just let's just recap what we've been talking about. We're talking about procrastinating how to stop procrastination. Well, look, the first thing is if you want to stop it, you've got to just become aware of what you're doing. You've got to become aware. Right? It's come on we all know this is so obvious. But if your mind is constantly being on and it's constantly being stimulated, it's just you won't become aware. There's a story going on behind you. There's something there's a narrative and maybe now it's time to change that narrative. Become aware of that you know, before you know you start something you set the intention. That's why our business Mi365 is about my intentions. Now delivered. That's what we do. It's about getting your mind set your mindset on what your mindset on who you want to be. Who do you actually want to be. If you could wave the magic wand I've got a magic wand in my hand, the wave the magic wand, who would you want to be who would you want to be with your health? Well, who is that person? That person is not you? You could be that person who do you want to be with your relationships with yourself with others? Who do you want to be with your wealth and your work and your service? Who do you want to be who's that person? What if you could identify with that person and often people want the identification now if I can't see it now then it doesn't exist. But building that relationship, building, building, erecting it, and I loved what Zig Ziglar said, you know, I'm going I'm not going on holiday, but I'm going away tomorrow. Tomorrow, Sunday for seven days working in Portugal, you know, I've got to get packed. I've got to get sorted for so many reasons. It's quite complicated. What I'm doing over there. And so, you know, I need to be ready. Every single day. I need to be ready every single day. I need to get up. I can't put off where I'm going because I've fallen in love with who I'm becoming. I got to become that person. I can't procrastinate. And when I start noticing myself doing it you know what, 54321 I'm back I'm in the game 54321 use that tool. That's what Mel Robbins wrote about and the five second rule just get yourself in the game because once you get started is hard to stop. And this is our goal with what we have created was step one, start one. It's about helping people build a streak of doing something over an extended period of time getting a return on their investment as because every time when you use our technology, you get a coin every time you say and this is a really important point if you want to stop procrastinating you know what Pete? I want to stop procrastinating Okay, great. About what? Let's get specific. It's really important to get specific. Stop procrastinating about what? Okay, let's say exercise. So if you want to stop procrastinating about that, how are you going to do it? Well, there's a few different ways but I would book in near Iran who I did a podcast with who wrote the book in distractible, fascinating guy. You're going to make time you can make time blocks, which is boring for a lot of people. But if you block it, then you're allocating time to it. That's what I do every day, four o'clock in the morning. I'm downstairs, I'm ready to go. I'm training training to get better. But that's just me. You don't have to do what I'm doing. But if you if you keep doing what you're doing, obviously you're going to keep getting the same results. So I want to start wrapping this up here. I really encourage you to just start playing a different game. Are you ready to play a different game? Our goal and what we do is to help you get to a place where it's actually really hard to go back. It becomes harder to stop the thing that you started because you've got on a roll with it. You've created new habits.


Pete Cohen  21:49

And the thing that you stopped I can't ever imagine myself ever eating chocolate again. I can't believe I'm saying that. I honestly can't imagine it but I can't. I could try and imagine it but I don't want to because I have enough evidence now over the last eight nine months that that's just not what I do. It's the greatest thing the reinvention of you. But it all starts off with building that beautiful relationship to your future self. And I'm really ready to help you in any way I can. So the four ways to stop is definitely starts off but you got to start off with awareness. You got to then really decide who do I actually want to be. That's the second thing. You've got to decide who is that person and it might change, decide who that person is. And then you got to think well okay, if I want to be that person, what do I actually what's one thing if I stopped doing it for an extended period of time, I would start becoming that person What's one thing if I started doing once one start one stop is a good place to stop. And then the third step to conquer is to every time you do is to celebrate, to celebrate because by celebrating what you're actually doing is you are doing something really amazing. Actually, you're you're voting for your future self every single time. You're voting for that person right? Isn't that an amazing thing? Every single day


Pete Cohen  23:23

and whatever gets celebrated. Gets it gets repeated. But we celebrate your birthday. We celebrate Christmas. Why don't we just celebrate every single thing that you do that moves you closer to where it is that you want to go. Because a great life. It doesn't happen by chance it happens by design.


Pete Cohen  23:59

And the fourth way is just look every time you feel yourself procrastinating just getting in the game. If something takes you less than two minutes to do just do it. Just recognize that you're putting something off because you attach some sort of pain to doing it. But what I would love you to do and this is my big challenge to all of you is yes you might think about starting to write it's mental energy Stein to meditate meditate, its energy to get started to exercise. You want to minimize the it's called the refractory period. You know that time that it takes for you to actually start the thing that you're triggered to do something and then if you're not careful the emotion gets in the way that you run the program that stops you. Take a moment and then phone up your future self right. Take a moment to actually think about your future self is calling you up and actually having a conversation with you. basically telling you Look if you do this, if you do this, then what do you think it's going to happen? You just have a quick a quick conversation if you just pick up the phone. Don't ignore it because if you don't ignore the fact that you're that's why you had the spark of motivation in the first place. Just literally just pick up the phone pick up the phone


Pete Cohen  25:24

that's what so many people do all their life. The phone is ringing they're being called to something but they're being distracted to something else. And I've seen this with so much clarity. Once when I was making a documentary, we filmed at a hospice and I spoke to a number of people who kind of regretted that they didn't answer the call one woman who said that she worked for 40 years and didn't like what she did. You know that we know the phone is ringing. You know you're being called to something else. And you need traction towards that because if there's no traction to it, there'll be there'll be distraction. You know, one of my of the 400 Odd episodes of this podcast that we've recorded. One of the first was with Joe de Sena who is the founder of Spartan Races. And I never forget, you know him, I didn't get it right at the beginning and I didn't I kind of it just was a little bit much. But over the time, he's become a real mentor to me. And it was actually the fourth podcast that we ever did. And I just remember getting my head around this if we can hear


Joe de Sena  26:46

this. You're walking around with a towel being silly because she heard me say that. So um, so where was that? What was the question?


Pete Cohen  26:55

Yeah, just about spawn because obviously now it's become a it's a it's a global business. Tell us.


Joe de Sena  27:00

It's fine. Anyway, he comes up he takes Friday off for work. We leave Thursday.


Pete Cohen  27:07

If you get a chance to listen to that podcast. I've actually been on his on his podcast twice. And he really taught me about the power of delaying gratification. You know, the power to say no. The power to say I'm not doing that. I'll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes I'm not doing that and building that like a muscle. Absolutely essential. Get yourself in the game. And once you're in the game, you will be rewarded because it's your body that's telling your brain not to do it. What happens is you come up with a thought like this exercise. And the brain has that thought and said that goes turns into an emotion which turns into a feeling and in many cases the feeling coming back is well that's painful. Let's not do it. Unless we learn to think greater than we feel. Unless we know that once you start your brain will reward you with those endorphins and serotonin and dopamine you'll get rewarded from taking the step. Taking the next step. And everything that we've done in creating stock one stock one is really just all about that. It's about getting you in the game every single day and as you go out and pursue your future self as you go out and show the world just what you're really all about. So I want to thank you for listening to the podcast please subscribe to it. Please take a picture of the podcast and put it on your stories and tag me in it. Reach out to us tell us what do you take away from listening to this? Because we've only just got started in helping people create the futures that they want go out and pursue it and make it happen. So what was your biggest takeaway? Was it It all starts with awareness? Was it the voting recognizing every single day that you behave in a way where you're bringing yourself and your future self into the world today that vote? What was it? Is it that your ability to just get started get in the game and to recognize that once you get started? You start feeling good. Thank you so much. I appreciate every single one of you. We'll see you next time for another future self podcast the greater things


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