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The Mental Game: Beat Procrastination For Good



You may or may not put off reading today's edition of The Mental Game. If you do, hopefully you remember to come back to it! Be sure you pay particular attention to the lessons when you do!

This week The Mental Game focuses on that nettlesome procrastination bug that seems to bite even the best of us.

Today on The Mental Game: Beat Procrastination For Good

Continue reading to find out procrastination at bay and your mind focused!

(thanks to Lifehack)

Today's lesson could almost be considered a companion piece to our other martial arts mental exercise wherein we examined the best ways for a martial artist to manage his or her time. However, while that lesson took a broad stroke to fixing the problem of time management, today's focuses specifically on the problems of procrastination. In particular: ways to overcome it.

One of the most difficult obstacles you may face as a martial artist (new or old) is that of your brain's proclivities towards putting something off. It's quick, painless, and so easy to do. All you have to is...nothing. Of course, we all know that this is hardly the way to approach any sort of meaningful change in our lives. Martial arts success requires commitment and dedication though. Procrastinating for even a couple of classes can be a tremendous setback. We are here to help. So roll up those sleeves and get ready to lay a hurt on some of that Procrastination!


Learn the basic idea.
Learn It:


Did you make a New Year's resolution to enter the martial arts but still haven't followed through? Did you follow through but now find yourself floundering, looking for any excuse to put off your training?

While it may be the case that martial arts just isn't for you, it is most likely the case that procrastination is beginning to rear its ugly head your way. Don't panic. You're not the first person this has happened to and you are far from the last.

Read over the following steps to start properly arming yourself against the steadfast enemy of procrastination:

  • Identify - This step is probably a given but we won't skip it. You need to be able to identify precisely why you're putting off what needs to be done. Maybe it's practicing or training at home, maybe it's getting to a class to begin with. Whatever the problem may be in you martial arts studies, you need to take a close look at why you are putting off what you're putting off. Are you scared to fail? Unmotivated? Intimidated? Unfocused? All of the above? Identifying what's stopping you from jumping into your training with enthusiasm is the first step towards fixing the problem.

  • Plan - Once you've identified precisely what it is about your martial arts courses that your brain is wanting to avoid, start devising a plan to counter the procrastination. If you have larger fears concerning failure or a lack of confidence, think of ways that you can negate these emotions. Will using a friend for support help you focus your training efforts? Maybe you can try thinking of similar situations you have experienced in the past and recall how you managed to overcome and defeat procrastination at those times. Once you've worked up a model for best defeating your particular brand of procrastination, you can now set in in motion!



  • Find ways to apply it to your training.

    Apply It:

    Now's the fun part! Beating the procrastination bug with a well-implemented plan. Below we'll try to look at some common martial arts related examples of how you might look to rub out your procrastination altogether.

    • Remove all temptation A vast amount of procrastination problems arise simply by having too many distractions available to us. Distractions are the food on which the procrastinating mind thrives. You have to starve it.

      To a certain extent, the brain is rarely going to want to do something that requires effort (particularly the physical variety). This means that martial artists can have it particularly rough. However, having access to that cell phone with its various alerts, alarms, notifications, rings, and even the distinctive 'hum' of a vibration setting can all be motivation killers that you can't afford to have around. Put the phone on silent, or better yet, leave it in the car/at home. Make martial arts time yours, free from any and all distractions.

    • Exercise your prefrontal cortex This is the part of your brain that is assigned to the strategizing and decision making. Often referred to as the "CEO of the brain", it oversees your major cognitive functions, helping to influence an abundance of behaviors. It also gets tired easily and can fall to the more easily distracted portion of your brain, the limbic system. Train that prefrontal cortex like it's cramming for a belt test via constant repetition. Plan in advance your training sessions and do whatever it takes to see them through. In no time you'll have your brain working for you, incorporating your training into its normal routine.




    Repetition makes perfect!
    Repeat It:

    As hinted at in the 'Exercise your prefrontal cortex' section, repetition is the key to most things when it comes to training your brain. We are all creatures of habit and as such are susceptible to routine. Routine is the blueprint for your brain's daily function.

    Your brain has been doing things one particular way for so long that the only possible hope for changing the way it handles problems is through repetition. Pick a few, specific, ways that you can start changing how your brain handles procrastination and implement them, today. Then do it again tomorrow. And the next. Sometimes maintaining even positive changes in our lives requires us to stay on top things more than once!


    Final Thoughts

    In the war to attain your most desired goals, procrastination can be your greatest foe. Allow it to hit you with an extra evening of television or a skipped class, and the next thing you know you'll be struggling to remember what your goals were in the first place. Facing down procrastination is not for the faint of heart or weak of will, but it can be defeated. Maintain focus, exercise your mind along with your body, and remember some of the lessons you've learned today. You'll soon find yourself at victory's threshold, celebrating your greatest martial arts achievements, and laughing in the face of distraction.

    Are you struggling to make it to classes lately? Do you suffer from procrastination in a particularly bad way? Feel free to talk about it in the comments below! You may find that someone out there has the same problem you do and has found a way to beat it! Don't be shy.

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