“I’ll start my diet tomorrow.” This thought is a major obstacle to successful weight loss. Procrastination is the act of putting off something that is in a person’s long-term best interest in favor of something that is easy or pleasurable. One of the reasons we behave like this is because our brains are wired to respond to immediate threats and it is more difficult for them to generate a sense of urgency about something in the future. The urge to grab a cookie trumps the desire to look good in a bathing suit this summer.
Everyone procrastinates to some extent, but 20% of people procrastinate so much it has a negative effect on their lives. The reasons behind the tendency to procrastinate can be as diverse as low self-esteem, fear of failure, or even fear of success. If a person never overcomes procrastination, it can lead to a loss of jobs, opportunities, satisfaction, achievement, meaning, and joy. It can also cause relationship failure and chronic anxiety. In weight loss, procrastination manifests in thoughts like “I need to finish this project so I don’t have the time to shop and prepare food and exercise,” or “someone brought in donuts so I will start my program tomorrow.” Both of these statements reflect the tendency to focus on what is immediate (project, donut) rather than what can and should be done.
“Time Management for Creative People” by Mark McGuiness is an excellent resource for procrastinators. It teaches how to group tasks, prioritize commitments, and focus on what needs to be done now. A more immediate tool is the app Things for iPhone and iPad. With this program, a person can learn to make a time budget and break down projects into steps figuring out how much time is required for each step. The program Freedom enables a person to block access to the internet for a period of time to prevent distraction and procrastination. These tools can be useful in weight loss because they will help a person find the time to shop, prepare healthy food, and exercise. No one should expect to banish procrastination overnight, but with dedication and self-examination, success is possible.
*Individual results may vary. Seek medical advice before starting any weight loss program. Contact Red Mountain Weight Loss to make sure this is the right solution for you.