How Procrastination Hurts Your Confidence
Could your Candy Crush addiction hurt your confidence? They may not seem related but putting off a dreaded task or pushing away emotions can make procrastination a problem. Perhaps you avoid that project until the last minute, or feel lazy instead of motivated at the thought of another monotonous task and reach for the remote. Avoiding the work breeds more self-loathing thoughts and makes room for negative self-talk to arise, which makes your confidence plummet.
Dopamine is a very powerful neurotransmitter, it makes you motivated and crave pleasure, which is a key part of procrastination. If a task has a higher, historical likelihood (or perceived future likelihood) of producing dopamine, our brain becomes addicted to reproducing these activities, and avoiding the others. Turning on a show that makes you laugh, instead of talking to a frustrating spouse, can create a habit of avoiding the conversation, and harboring those emotions until they are too big to keep in.
You don't always need a prescription for change. In fact, most doctors would tell you to try to change your behaviors before popping a pill to help with procrastination. Your brain chemistry can change when you engage in new habits, new thinking styles, which means you will feel happier, proud, and more motivated.
4 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Feel Proud
- Focus on what is working. We often focus on what sucks, what we need to improve on, or what isn't working. Change it up. If you notice that you are complaining (in your mind or out loud) start to notice what is going well. This can be challenging but try it. Say you're feeling down because your job isn't making you happy. Focus on what is going well: the sweet co-workers or your short commute. When you practice reminding yourself about the good things it enhances your capacity to feel good too.
- Create a reward system. Setting small goals, breaking up tasks and rewarding effort can help rewire the brain. A 5-10 minute Facebook feed session after an hour of doing that dreaded task, can stimulate the reward center in your brain. Reward yourself with a positive complement or a bite of a sweet treat, even with a task that you are supposed to do, but just don't feel like doing. This triggers your brain to begin to like the new task, and conditions your thoughts patterns to become more positive.
- Get more positive feedback. Allow yourself to experience frequent positive feedback as you work towards goals. If someone gives you a compliment, sit with that feeling for a minute before moving on to the negative voice in your mind. If you meet a goal or get a good review, sit with the feeling of pride for a little while; go back to it if the dark cloud of doom and gloom surfaces. Just go back to the feeling. People who provide positive reinforcement can help you to push through the blocks that keep you stuck in your behaviors. A trainer, nutritionist, Alcoholic's Anonymous sponsor, therapist or anyone can help push you along the way.
- Embrace a new goal and take small steps towards it every day. That may be saving money or stopping the cigarettes. Putting a dollar away every day and watching the jar grow, creates incentive. Each step, even the smallest one, such as putting out the cigarette halfway through, is awesome and your brain remembers. Remind yourself of how well you are doing even if your not all the way there.
Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
LPC, E. (2014, August 14). How Procrastination Hurts Your Confidence, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/buildingselfesteem/2014/08/how-procrastination-hurts-your-confidence
Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC