At times we all put off things we dislike. Chores. Housework. Paying bills. But why procrastinate things we actually want to do?
Sometimes it's about identity theft.
Ask someone about what they do and they'll often tell you about who they are. Electrician. Mother. Writer. We get a sense of our identity from our behaviour. Which works well for us when we feel capable.
But what about when we don't?
I wanted to be a musician since picking up a guitar at 15. But eventually I started avoiding it. I'd spend whole days at work day-dreaming about playing. Only to find myself busy with anything-but once home.
To be a guitarist, I had to be able to play. But I didn't believe I could. Not to the standard I deemed worthy. It wasn't just about failure though. Being a musician was an integral part of who I believed I was. And if my playing wasn't good enough, then I wasn't really a musician.
I was afraid of losing who I was.
Threats to our identity are some of the most terrifying psychologically. It's life-or-death as far as the mind is concerned. It's one reason career-people can struggle with retirement. Or parents lose a sense of purpose when the kids leave home.
If I'm not the person I thought I was, then who am I? And what does that mean for my future?
Looking back, it was a form of Impostor Syndrome: where a person doesn't feel capable of their role, so they constantly worry about being 'found out'. Except, the person I was most worried about finding out was me.
Eventually I broke the pattern. I got so sick of being sub-standard I signed up for music college. And was made to perform new songs every week. Which first incited blind panic.
And then I realised I was doing it.
I had no option but to change my belief about what I was capable of. Because my actions kept proving me wrong. That in turn validated my identity as a musician: someone who actually plays music.
As Aristotle said, "we are the sum of our actions".
Who would you be if you started doing a little bit of what you've been putting off every day?
(Struggling with procrastination, fear of failure, or perfectionism? Cognitive Hypnotherapy in Leighton Buzzard and Milton Keynes can help you. Get in touch to learn how)