Procrastination and Low Self Esteem Explained

Question:

"I am a chronic procrastinator. I graduated from med school in 2018 and my goal is to practice medicine in the United States. For that I have to take 3 exams. I was supposed to be studying for the first hardest and hardest one in September (approximately 7 months ago). But I started procrastinating after 2 months (November) and for the last 5 have done nothing! Every day I wake up and automatically sit on my desk and open my books. I then start surfing social media or reading about procrastination and jumping from one article to another! I stay I this pattern until I go to sleep. It’s a cycle!! From November till now I have studied only 10 pages!! I can’t control myself. I am so desperate!" - Fatima


Answer:

- The root cause of this is self-punishment caused by low self-esteem.

- Realize you are USING study for a purpose!

- This is hard to accept. Unconsciously we use it to undermine ourselves.

- Your biggest fear is not failing! It’s not being good enough to do what’s required.

- The feelings of anxiety are alleviated by saying: “I’ll do it later” or “I need to get motivated”.

- Pick your start time mindfully. Give yourself plenty of rest and relaxation time. I call this being kind but conscious.

- Only commit to a small amount of work each session. Or, limit the amount of time you allow yourself to stay with the work. This makes your nervous system relax and not feel overwhelmed.

- Simply start to watch whether you show up or procrastinate.

- Implement a consequence every time to procrastinate. This, I usually tell people, should be to not allow yourself to work later in that same day.

- This trains your mind to accept that later is not an option. It needs to start responding to your will and your desire to make progress.

- Self-talk is a HUGE part of this. Watch any ‘have to’ or ‘need to’ type phrases and replace them with language that reinforces a sense of choice: ‘want to’ or ‘choose to’ work much better.