Procrastination has been part of the human nature for a long time. Infact, ancient Greek philosophers like Socrates and Aristotle developed a word to describe this type of behavior as Akrasia.
So what exactly is Akrasia? It is the state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgment through weakness of will. It is when you decide to lazy around or do something different from what you know you are supposed to be doing. It is what prevents you from following through on what you set out to do.
The tendency to procrastinate is not limited to a specific group of people. Everyone avoids taking action, it could be tackling a difficult assignment at work, attending workout sessions, writing your next article, starting a diet and so on.
The list of things we can procrastinate is endless, but the list of reasons for why we procrastinate is not. We avoid every task for the same reason: We highly value immediate gratification more than future rewards.
When we set goals, we are envisioning what lies ahead. When you imagine how you want your future to be then your brain gets down to work as it sees the benefits years to come.
When it comes to implementing what you have set, your brain falls back due to lack of instant gratification. Your brain values long-term benefits when they are in the future, but it values immediate gratification when it comes to the present moment.
Take for example someone who wants to write a novel. He will envision the novel becoming a best seller and impacting people’s lives in future and most importantly earn him an income. When it comes to the daily routine of actualizing his dream, there are days he will procrastinate writing because there is no immediate daily reward when he does that.
The same applies to someone who wants to lose weight, they may envision themselves having a killer body and this will push them to signing up in a gym. When it comes to the actual work out, they may want to skip some days as they may not experience instant results after every workout.
The only way to pull through is understanding how to resist the pull of instant gratification. When you set your eyes on the bigger picture, you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
In our next article we will look at what to do to avoid procrastination.