Behavioral Science · Life

Mission Impossible: Self Improvement

As usual I am going to start this post with ‘Its been sometime since my last post’. The thing is I suffer from something called ‘Serial Procrastination’. Okay! Sorry… Its not really an ailment to use the word suffer. I have seen several TED Talks on this topic of Procrastination and consistently every speaker has said the same thing ‘Just do it‘ or ‘Keep check of your instant gratification impulses’.  The packaging in the talk might have been different but the content was the same. Don’t get me wrong I am not saying that the above solutions are wrong. I have immense respect for all the speakers from said talks but I have not been able to implement their ideas.

Atleast once every year I have a self-reflection phase where I ask myself ‘What are you doing in life?’. And as expected what follows this self-reflection phase is a short lived mission of Self Improvement. The first two days is easy, the next two are very hard and the fifth day is when I realize that this is impossible. By the sixth day I am back to my usual self. I think part of the problem lies in the fact that I have nothing to complain about my life so far. I had the privilege of attending great schools, employed in a firm that is very invested in me, a loving family and an angel for a girlfriend. But I don’t think being in a comfortable place in your life should hold one back from being more active. If I think about it I have not been successful at Self Improvement missions when I was in some dark places of my life.

After several failed attempts I have learnt the following. Any self-improvement missions requires the following elements.

  1. Self-Control: The biggest issue with most procrastinators is lack of self-control. Instant gratification is so attractive that the rational decision maker within ones self becomes invisible & mute.
  2. Motivation: Self-control has an expiry date for everyone, what keeps it running is motivation. A strong reason asking ‘Why I have set out on this mission in the first place?’
  3. Making it one day at a time: Motivation get stronger with every small win in our life. The sense of winning at the end of a day spent productively makes you feel excited for the next.

Now with the above framework in my hand, I am setting out on yet another Mission of Self-Improvement. I am excited to see how it goes this time. Stay tuned for my progress.


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