Procrastination never has desirable outcomes, yet it is incredibly common. Teens are especially prone to delaying or avoiding undesirable tasks, which in turn, creates undue stress and pressure. If unaddressed, procrastination can become a pattern that’s hard to break.
As a life coach, I’ve worked with hundreds of teen girls and young women on overcoming procrastination and gaining more motivation. These are the practices I share with my clients which have led to improved motivation and a better work ethic. Share them with your daughter or use them as a guide to parent-coach your daughter toward more motivation in the new year.
- Challenge your limiting beliefs. When you tell yourself you can’t do it, it will take too long, or it’s too boring, you get yourself stuck. These are limiting beliefs that perpetuate procrastination. They hold you back from taking action and achieving your goals. When you notice a limiting belief, challenge it and reframe it into something more positive. More energizing beliefs are: I can get this done, I can do a little at a time, and this is a stepping stone toward something important to me.
- Manage stress. Stress can zap motivation. When possible, try to limit your interactions with stressful people or situations. Also, learn which stress management strategies work for you and put them into practice. These may include a time management system, a regular exercise routine, practicing daily affirmations, journaling, or talking with a life coach.
- Discover your why. Your why is aligned with your purpose and your purpose can ignite motivation and focus. Your why will emerge out of self-awareness. As you discover your passions, values, interests, and strengths, and connect with a vision for your future, you will discover a new perspective. Your attitude toward the tasks that seem mundane or pointless changes because you can focus on why they are necessary, where they are leading you, and how they are shaping you into the person you want to become. As you shift your perspective, you will change the way you experience it.
- Identify just one thing. It’s easy to freeze when you feel overwhelmed. Instead of looking at everything you have to do, focus on just one thing. Use the statement, The most important thing for me to do right now is….. This will help you narrow your focus and stay on track. It will also limit the feelings of overwhelm that can come when you think you have so much to do and so little time or energy.
- Get out of your own way. Procrastination is a habit and habits can be changed. Start to evaluate the cost of your procrastination habit. Use these questions to activate your logical brain and analyze the pros and cons of procrastination. Your answers may also reveal which limiting beliefs need your attention.
- When do you tend to procrastinate?
- What do you get out of procrastinating?
- What’s stopping you from just getting started?
- What are the outcomes of procrastinating?
- What are the outcomes of not procrastinating?
- What would it feel like to stop procrastinating and get into action?
As your teen works to cultivate more motivation and break the habit of procrastination, provide her support and encouragement. Praise her efforts and celebrate the wins that come from her newfound motivation.