How to stop procrastinating

In a very exciting announcement to myself, I am finally complete disgusted with telling myself “One I do ____ (pick any activity not aligned with my intentions), Then I will ____ (pick any activity aligned with my intentions). I have spent far too long saying “Once I do my work, then I will write my book proposal”.  Or “Once I have one more incredible feast at Portillo’s (a local Chicago hot dog joint), then I will start eating better.” A new favorite has been “Once I finish this last game of Bejeweled 3, then I will start writing.”

I identified that my form of procrastination was this dreaded repeat of “Once I do___, then I will ____” and that it only happened when the 2nd part of the equation was something related to an intention I really care about.  Further, the intention is usually something out of my current state of “normal Scott occurrences”.

I used to believe that procrastination only occurred when you didn’t want to do something.  I was wrong about that.  Then I believed procrastination was a sign from some higher guidance that I wasn’t supposed to do whatever I was procrastinating about.  I was wrong about that too.  My 3rd attempt at conquering procrastination was to implement many advanced time tracking and day planning tools.  I am now very proficient in Getting Things Done by David Allen, but I still procrastinated on certain things.

Then I learned from Louise Hay that procrastination is the belief that you are unworthy.  I didn’t want to accept it because it would be embarrassing to find out that I didn’t think I was worthy.   It took a lot of digging to get to the root of this, but I now believe Louise to be correct.

When I first read Louise say that procrastination is the belief in my unworthiness, I scowled.  “Well, this obviously is written for Other People that are reading this.  They are the ones that need the really deep healing.  I am just looking for some refinements on some affirmation techniques.”

Reading further, as I thought about my current intentions (part 2 link), I noticed that my beliefs and self-confidence as it related to a goal seemed to contribute a lot to its success.   The plan of a goal when I am confident seems ridiculously obvious.  I simply execute the obvious steps and then the goal is mine.  There is no hesitation and no self doubt.

It is not that, for the intentions that have manifested for me, I suddenly have all kinds of free time to finally take the right action steps in the perfect order.  I am just as busy achieving certain goals as I am procrastinating on other goals.

The realization that my procrastination wasn’t random was eye opening.   The thought that an internal belief is the cause of procrastination, rather than an external technique on time management, sounds like a welcome relief.  I just need to chant/affirm/change my mind and then I’m home free !?   But it was in the digging into why I procrastinated where things got murky and uncomfortable.

So I have Louise in one part of my mind telling me that procrastination is a belief that I am not worthy, and I have another part of my mind telling me that it can’t be me, of course I am worthy, and then I have a 3rd part of my mind telling me that maybe I should do some digging and find out the truth.

If I just decided that “Of course I am worthy” this could’ve been a lot shorter post. J

Louise Hay has a lot of great advice on proper affirmation use and techniques.  I decided to try out all of it and see what worked for me.  In order to ferret out the unworthiness vibe she says that I have, I had to be disciplined and follow the advice verbatim.

The technique that helped me find the unworthiness was verbal affirmations stated into the mirror.  Stating the affirmation out loud while looking at yours elf is very simple to do.  I stated “I am an inspiring writer, speaker, and teacher, and I accept it now” into the mirror.  Then I observed my body’s reaction to this statement.

My voice was unsteady and a little crackly.  I lowered my voice a little so no one heard me in the house.  I felt awkward inside.  Those were all tell-tale physical signs.  I also felt myself detaching from the present.  I began to have a debate inside of my own head!  I was shocked about that.  My mind was frantically trying to figure out the action steps so that I was not a “fraud” with this affirmation.

Well, it’s pretty clear that I hit the jackpot on my mental archaeology.  I did feel unworthy about this affirmation.  What an efficient process from Louise, I am very grateful.

I am even more grateful because the identification that I had this buried belief became a catalyst for action.  Simply becoming aware that I felt this way gave me validated information on my procrastination cause.  So now what?

I approve of myself.

This became my mantra at her advice.  “I approve of myself, I approve of myself, I approve of myself”.  Over and over and over, when I was walking to get an Americano to start my day at Savor the Flavor, I repeated it over and over.  When I am waiting for my dog Kaiya to sniff over every square inch of grass before pooping, I repeat it.  When I get antsy that I don’t have time to meditate, I repeat it over and over.

I normally would have scoffed at such advice.  But it was so damn easy to do, and Louise’s other simple technique had given me such value already, I figured what the hell.  She mentioned that people would be shocked at how much could occur in one month’s time.  She was right, I was shocked.

Procrastination on my book proposal has ended.  This site is finally on the first page of “meditation techniques” on Google.  A couple of very promising business ventures and speaking opportunities are heating up.

I am able to find time to take action on things that support my intentions that I have identified as most important to myself.  I still have two consulting jobs plus this website plus a pregnant wife plus a 16 month old plus we’re moving.  So I most definitely did not win the lotto and quit my jobs and have all the time in the world.

But somehow, I have time and am able to take action.  And that is a beautiful thing to me.

If you find yourself saying “Once I do ___, Then I will ____”, consider verbal affirmation technique in the mirror and repeating “I approve of myself” to yourself as much as you can.  The results might surprise you.




  • Vince
    on September 7, 2011 Reply

    I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head. Never thought of procrastination in those terms but it certainly rang a bell inside my head.

    • admin
      on September 16, 2011 Reply

      Hi Vince,

      If something rings a bell it is usually worth looking at. Thank you for taking the time to comment.


  • Mark
    on September 8, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for this info Scott. I understand what you are talking about here however I do disagree with what Louise say’s about not being worthy. In my case it is being in information overload and so many projects-both professionally and personally. I look into my mirror every morning and say “if this world knew what you know, well, try to help them understand-and learn from them too”. I think you’re great Scott! I have been impressed with you since I met you and I have told my friends about you.

  • Ilja
    on September 8, 2011 Reply

    Thanks Scott for this honest sharing! What I’ve also found be helpful is radical inquiry & true forgiveness working with Higher Self when you find the mind shrieking and the body contracting. It’s a quick way of releasing limiting, egoic beliefs in the unconscious. Some inspiration on this see these two great teachers:


    • admin
      on September 16, 2011 Reply

      Hi Ilja,

      These look like some interesting techniques to try, thank you for reading and for passing them along.

      Take it easy,

  • carol
    on November 2, 2011 Reply

    Great blog. Very interesting to connect procrastination to unworthiness.

    You mention Louise Hay saying procrastination is related to feelings of unworthiness. Can you advise the title of the book that you are referring to.


  • PeaceForEarth
    on January 16, 2012 Reply

    Procrastination is a tough issue to overcome, as as many of us know, but you (and Louise) seem to have discovered an important piece of the puzzle. I am definitely going to explore this further!

    • admin
      on January 24, 2012 Reply

      Hi Peace –
      Thank for reading and the comment. Facing procrastination worked for me, hope it helps.

  • Biz Burnett
    on December 13, 2012 Reply

    Great post, Scott! 2 days ago, I was venting my still-unresolved anger over an incident that happened 42 years ago (!), in which a high school teacher criticized and belittled me in front of the entire class after I spent 20 minutes trying to clean up and organize HER disorganized supplies closet. Back then, that incident was just 1 in a series of authority figures constantly deflating my self-esteem and self-confidence. Back then, I learned to say “I’m not good enough and never will be.” which is another way of saying “I don’t approve of myself.” Today, your post gave me the freedom to instead say “I approve of myself.” Thank you! (And thanks to Erik Henyon, whose blog led me to yours.)

    • admin
      on February 8, 2013 Reply

      Hi Biz,

      Glad it helped. Louise Hay believes the majority of our issues stem from lack of approval.

      Erik Henyon rocks, by the way.

      Take it easy,

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