Stop Procrastinating: 10 Tips To Quit Dreaming About Your Ideal Life And Start Living It Today

There is a way to turn your dreams into reality. By making a few changes in your everyday life you can live the life you've always imagined.
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We’ve all been there. That never-ending despair consumes us as we dream about something that seems endlessly out of reach. It could be something you’ve had a lifelong passion for or a newly acquired desire. We get to a certain point and it feels like there is a big flashing sign in front of us asking “What are you doing with your life?

Then the panic sets in. You might be doing well, you might not. Either way, your life isn’t exactly as you pictured it. My panic set in when I was approaching my thirties and suffering massive corporate burn-out. I had two options, continue on the path I was on, killing myself for the bottom line, or to stop the train on its tracks and move on to that which had been calling me.

It wasn’t an easy decision to make and I had to do the work, but it was quite liberating to be making a conscious effort to finally be doing something I really wanted instead of just going through the motions.

Here are the 10 Tips To Quit Dreaming About Your Ideal Life And Start Living It Today:

1. Start now because there’s never going to be a “right” time

To-do lists are never-ending. When we check items off the top of the list, we just add more to the bottom. As a result, we never seem to get ahead. This isn’t good or bad, it just is what it is. Staying busy tends to be the norm and if we’re not busy then surely, something must be wrong. 

Waiting to finish your to-do list to pursue your dreams is a fool’s errand. We don’t get time back and the time is now to go after what you want. Just start doing it. 

Lack the training for a certain endeavor? Get training. You have to start somewhere.

Think you’ve passed the point in your life when you should have pursued it? Doesn’t matter. Now is when you’re thinking about it so now is when you should go after it. Take the leap. Make it a priority.

There is no right time, there is just time and what you choose to do with it. Your dream shouldn't be the next thing on your to-do list. If something is so important that you can’t imagine doing anything else then start doing it today.

2. Figure out what type of procrastinator you are

The first battle you will have to fight is with your own procrastination. You likely fall into one of four archetypes of procrastinators:

  • The Performer

The performer forces focus by reducing the amount of time they have to complete a task. Their biggest problem is actually getting started. To work past this, goal yourself to when you are going to start something rather than when you are going to finish it. 

  • The Self-deprecator

The self-deprecator blames their inability to act on laziness or stubbornness when really all they need is a break. If you fall into this category, take time to rest and recharge before tackling your next goal. 

  • The Overbooker

The overbooker has an “I'm so busy” mentality. In reality, this type of procrastinator knows how to get things done and uses the excuse of being busy as a form of avoidance. Ask yourself why you are avoiding this particular endeavor.

  • The Novelty Seeker

The novelty seeker gets so caught up in their next big idea that they never follow through on the current one. Instead of jumping from one thing to the next, jot your new idea down for later and finish the task at hand. 

Figure out which one of these categories you fall into. It could be that more than one seems to fit so actively practice the necessary behaviors to beat your procrastination and forge ahead.

3. Find the courage to pursue your dream

One of the biggest contributors to procrastination is the fear of failure. Trying something new can be stressful, challenging, and scary. Sometimes it seems easier not to try at all rather than risk failing when you do try. Dig deep and find the courage to chase your dreams.  

Maybe you know exactly what your dream is. Maybe you have a few, or even several, dreams marinating and you can’t decide on just one. Being indecisive is natural. With the world at the touch of a screen and seemingly endless options available, it’s easy to feel like you’re being pulled in different directions. 

So, try them all! It might seem counterintuitive, or like a waste of time, but part of going after what you desire is eliminating all the things you think you might. 

Don’t be afraid to fail either. Easier said than done, believe me, I know, but fear of failure will keep you stagnant. There’s no right way to do anything and the reality is maybe you do fail at your dream anyway, but at least you took your shot. Better to have tried and failed than never to have tried at all.

Watch the video here for some inspiring words about failure from one of my fave comedians, Jim Carrey. 

4. Decide what your standards are and live by them

At some point in my formative years, I had this notion instilled in me about career success that if you were making a certain amount of money or held a particular title that would mean you had made it. You had a career. We learn at a young age that money and status are the markers of success.

Well, this is not true. Money and status are not really the markers of success.

Whoever made up these generic standards, whatever misunderstood concepts were deemed fact, however, this happened, we need to right the ship. Success comes in so many different forms. There is no one right way that suits everybody.

The truth is the only standards we have to live up to are our own. Whatever your dream may be, figure out what it’s going to take to get there. Alter your perception of what reality should look like and start living it. Define your standards and stay true to those. Leave everybody else to do the same.

5. Work on how to improve your self-accountability

Self-accountability is when you are honest with yourself, stay true to your word and look past the present moment to consider the repercussions if you do not take a specific action. 

This can be hard to do because we so often look outside ourselves to find a reason for why things are the way they are. Obviously, everybody else and every situation that has preceded the present moment are to blame for why life is the way it is.

If you’re living in that funk, stop yourself before you get too far down the rabbit hole. You have to look internally to figure out what is holding you back because nobody is stopping you, but you. Evaluate why that is.

Be committed to holding yourself accountable to your own goals. Nobody else is going to do that for you. Decide if you’re willing to sacrifice your future bliss for whatever immediate pleasure the current situation provides. 

6. Sacrifice short-term gain for long-term goals

For everything we do there is something we aren’t doing. Whether we’re doing something we want to or not. Whether the thing we’re missing out on matters or not. You cannot pursue that dream you’ve had on hold if you aren’t willing to make it a priority and this prioritization will come at the cost of other things that you would normally give your time to.

This isn’t always easy. It can be really hard to say no to someone else to put what you need first. Maybe you’re the type of person who is always willing to give. The problem with that is eventually you give so much you don’t even recognize yourself anymore.

Sacrifice instant gratification to benefit later. Be willing to take the time to take steps toward making your dream a reality. Be willing to say no and make hard choices. Only you have the power to make what you want a priority.

7. Don’t get discouraged when things don't go your way

We aren’t perfect. As humans, we are going to have missteps in our lives. It’s how we respond to those missteps that allow our character to shine through. It’s also how we learn and grow. 

Sometimes the only way to know what’s right is also to know what’s wrong. Sometimes the error is pursuing the wrong goals altogether and going back to the drawing board. Accept this and move on. And if you make a mistake doing the thing you love. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn for the future. 

We would be nowhere without mistakes. Hello, penicillin! You might have a few blunders on your path to your best life, but it will be worth it when you get there. 

8. Figure out how to stop dwelling on past mistakes

Just like current missteps, past mistakes can be just as daunting to overcome. It’s easy to look back and start with the “if” statements. If only I had done this or done that or made this other choice. 

There is no changing what has already happened. I don’t want to drop the standard “everything happens for a reason” here either. Because sometimes things happen that are awful and have no reason. We make peace with situations or we don’t, either way, we have to move on. “New Normal” is a term that’s gotten thrown around a lot because of 2020, but the truth is it’s been around a lot longer than that.

Make peace with your past to set yourself up for future success.

9. Set progress milestones

If you want to be serious about pursuing your dream then you should be serious about checking in on your progress. With this intention, set reasonable goals. 

The key to setting these goals is giving yourself a deadline that’s manageable with your current responsibilities. You have to be realistic about the amount of time you have to commit and you also have to evaluate what can be cut. Here’s where some of those short-term sacrifices are going to come into play. There are things you can give up now, you just have to be willing to. 

Put the dates on a calendar to keep track of what needs to be done and when. Make sure that to-do is a top priority. When you miss a deadline, assess what happened to try to prevent it from happening again and try not to be too hard on yourself. Life happens. 

10. Believe that you have what it takes to succeed

Obvious, right? Not really. Self-doubt is real. We can’t help ourselves as humans. Doubting ourselves is like a defense mechanism for self-preservation. We can beat it though and we can turn it into something that fuels us.

There are some ways to use our self-doubt to reclaim our power. Embrace the doubt and acknowledge it exists. Doubt the doubt itself in favor of everything working out. Call out the voice in your head that's feeding the self-doubt to dilute its power. 

The truth was after putting off my dream for so long I was amazed at how easy it was to just be. I realized that all that mattered was that I was actually doing it. Think about yourself first and how badly you need to do this. Commit to yourself and others will see your greatness too.

I spent years on fear and self-doubt, years that sometimes I wish I had back, but the only way is forward. Pursue your heart’s desire now. Go after your passion and do it for you.

There is no time like the present to start shifting your focus. Start with one standard, one habit at a time, and before you know it you’ll be living a life very different from the one that you’re used to. When in doubt, always remember, there’s never a right time and it’s never too late. Only you have the power to make your dreams come true.

stop procrastinating and start doing
stop procrastinating. image source: Freepik
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Aspiring content marketer, writing to soothe my soul. Lover of dogs, fiction novels, and a good TV binge.

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