So, to sum up Pychyl’s research on our attitudes about procrastination: “we think we’re having more fun, but we’re not”; “we think we’re not affecting future self, but we are”; and “it’s all about giving in to feel good,” which—see point number one—doesn’t actually work that well. – Josh Jones, Open Culture

Last week, I laid out my plans for 2018. Actually, just the plan for making plans for 2018, but, to be honest, I haven’t started, yet. The brand-new notebook has not even been opened. The thought of starting fresh is exciting to me; planning comes naturally to me; my family supports me. There will be virtually no start-up costs, and time, also, is not an issue.

What’s holding me back?

Why are we so quick to make a New Year’s resolution, but so slow to follow through on it? Why is it easier to throw our dreams to the wind?

Timothy PychylTimothy Pychyl is an expert on procrastination. He is an author, an award-winning professor, and the Director of the Centre for Initiatives in Education at Carleton University, which includes the Procrastination Research Group (PRG). Pychyl, and his graduate students have been studying “the breakdown in volition action” – procrastination – since the 1990s. This article on the Open Culture website is a great summary of Pychyl’s findings on the why of putting things off, and includes an hour-long video of Pychyl presenting his findings on student procrastination.

… we put things off not because we are morally deficient, or “lazy,” but because our emotional brains are trying to cope. We feel some significant degree of fear or anxiety about the task at hand. The guilt and shame that comes with not accomplishing the task compounds the problem, and leads to further procrastination. – Josh Jones, Open Culture

Fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of ridicule… sound familiar?

~ Debbie MacLeod

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