Address Procrastination Using Your Values
Address Procrastination Using Your Values


Maggie Sim

Maggie Sim

To address procrastination, we have to first figure out what is the cause of this behaviour. There are two main reasons why we procrastinate:

  1. Avoiding difficult emotions associated with the action
  2. Lack of alignment between action and higher purpose or values

I wrote a blog-post about the first piece around avoiding emotions previously – you can find it here.

In this blog-post, I want to talk about the second piece which is the lack of alignment between the action and your higher purpose or values.

1. What higher purpose or value is this action serving?

When we want to take an action and we find it difficult to actually do so, we have got to take a look at the WHY of the action. Instead of saying to yourself that: “I want to do this, or I need to do this, or I have to do this”, ask the question “What is important to me about doing this? How is this in alignment with my values and purpose?”

We usually have a rationale or logical reason for wanting to take the action. However, this does not necessarily mean that the action is serving our higher purpose or value. And if it does, we might not have intentionally aligned the action with our purpose or value, so it feels fuzzy and unclear to our brain as to why we need to be taking this action.

Let’s take exercise as an example. We know that exercise is good for our physical, mental and emotional health, so why is it difficult for most of us to do it consistently?

A key reason is emotional management: some people want to avoid the feeling of pain associated with working out, or the feeling of shame we have around their bodies.

The other reason for procrastination is a lack of alignment with one’s higher purpose and/or values. The question is this: what is the higher purpose or values that exercise is serving? Examples of values besides ‘health’ could be self-love, independence, family, beauty, impact.

2. How do we align action with our higher purpose and values

Until we align the action with what is truly important to us and lock it in with intention, we will continue to find procrastination to be a feature in our life.

If one of your values is ‘self-love’, alignment could sound like this.

“I exercise because this is how I love myself. I care for my body and I want to give it what it needs to function well. When I don’t exercise, I am not honouring my value around ‘self-love’.”

If one of your values is ‘independence’, alignment could sound like this.

“I exercise because I want be physically independent for as long as I can. Keeping my body fit and flexible is how I am honouring this value.”

If one of your values is ‘beauty’, alignment could sound like this.

“I exercise because I want to have a beautiful body that I am proud of. Looking great is how I honour my value around ‘beauty’.

3. What is the next right step for me to address procrastination?

When you find yourself procrastinating on a particular action for a long while, dig deep and ask yourself where is the desire coming from? There are many things we want to do in life but it does not mean that we need to do all them now.

As you work through the emotional regulation and alignment pieces, what could be the next right step for you? Sometimes, we demand too much of ourselves. We get impatient with ourselves. We want to see the outcomes right now.

We want to go to the gym 5 times a week for a duration of 60mins each. It might just be too overwhelming for the body and mind right now. Instead of 5 times a week, the next right step might just be going to the gym 1x a week for 30mins.

Take small steps. Like really tiny steps that make it easy for you to take action regularly. In this way, you have stopped procrastination. You are exercising. You are taking action. Perhaps not in the big massive way you imagine it to be. But you are definitely not stuck doing nothing.

Working With Me

If you would like to explore working with a Life Coach to elicit your values and/or address procrastination, send me a message for a chat. Or follow me on Instagram for more tips and resources on personal development!