Module 2.

How to Avoid Procrastination

 

In the last session, we talked about what we can do to make the new behaviour or habit as easy as possible. The easier it is the more likely we are to stick to it.

As I’ve mentioned several times, we are trying to change our behaviour rather than to start a new habit. However, I thought it would be a great idea to include these ideas about avoiding procrastination in this module, because they are so useful and can be applied in many other scenarios.

Basically, one of the most important things is to actually get started. Let’s say we have set ourselves the goal of running a marathon. That’s a big goal that can be disempowering. We focus on the end result and as a consequence never get started. It would, in fact, be far more productive at the beginning to concentrate solely on getting started. And try to resist the temptation to do too much, too soon.

The Two-Minute Rule

In his book atomic habits, James Clear explains a concept called the two-minute rule. This rule or law states that any habit, objective, or goal can be reduced down to the first two minutes. The idea is that if you concentrate just on the first two minutes and just take that action then that will often create enough momentum in itself to enable you to carry on for longer.

Some people find this idea a bit silly because it’s just a mental trick. So what you can do and what I do is to actually only allow myself to carry out the first two minutes of the new habit. This has two benefits. Even if I am only doing the action for two minutes, it’s enough for me to start to see myself as the kind of person that I want to become.

So for instance, if I wanted to take up running, the two minutes would be enough for me to put on my running shoes and take the first few steps outdoors.

The second benefit is that it creates desire within me to do more. When I only allow myself to do the first two minutes, I actually feel a desire to do more and I start to look forward to next week when I will be allowed to run for 5 minutes.

This is incredibly powerful because just by increasing by allowed running time by 5 minutes per week, in 12 weeks I will be running for an hour a day and I will have become a runner. And all of this will have been achieved without huge amounts of self-discipline and force of will.

Applying This to Changing Eating Behaviours

So our goal is to become a new healthy version of our self. We could go all in and try to change all our eating habits in one go. This, however, would be like trying to run the marathon without much training. It requires much more will power and self-control than just starting slow.

For example:

  • Changing everything at once is very difficult
  • Changing every meal apart from breakfast is difficult
  • Changing just breakfast is tricky
  • Just stocking up on plant-based foods is easy
  • Just writing a plant-based shopping list is very easy

In the modules that follow we are going to be going on this journey. We are going to be writing a shopping list, stocking our pantries with different, healthy plant-based options, getting started with breakfast before moving on to lunch and dinner and much more.

But we should always try to remember that it’s better to make any start, regardless of how small than never get round to starting at all. Equally unwelcome would be to start too big and end up running out of steam or enthusiasm before our new behaviours have had time to become ingrained and a part of who we are.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.

Module 2.

How to Avoid Procrastination

 

In the last session, we talked about what we can do to make the new behaviour or habit as easy as possible. The easier it is the more likely we are to stick to it.

As I’ve mentioned several times, we are trying to change our behaviour rather than to start a new habit. However, I thought it would be a great idea to include these ideas about avoiding procrastination in this module, because they are so useful and can be applied in many other scenarios.

Basically, one of the most important things is to actually get started. Let’s say we have set ourselves the goal of running a marathon. That’s a big goal that can be disempowering. We focus on the end result and as a consequence never get started. It would, in fact, be far more productive at the beginning to concentrate solely on getting started. And try to resist the temptation to do too much, too soon.

The Two-Minute Rule

In his book atomic habits, James Clear explains a concept called the two-minute rule. This rule or law states that any habit, objective, or goal can be reduced down to the first two minutes. The idea is that if you concentrate just on the first two minutes and just take that action then that will often create enough momentum in itself to enable you to carry on for longer.

Some people find this idea a bit silly because it’s just a mental trick. So what you can do and what I do is to actually only allow myself to carry out the first two minutes of the new habit. This has two benefits. Even if I am only doing the action for two minutes, it’s enough for me to start to see myself as the kind of person that I want to become.

So for instance, if I wanted to take up running, the two minutes would be enough for me to put on my running shoes and take the first few steps outdoors.

The second benefit is that it creates desire within me to do more. When I only allow myself to do the first two minutes, I actually feel a desire to do more and I start to look forward to next week when I will be allowed to run for 5 minutes.

This is incredibly powerful because just by increasing by allowed running time by 5 minutes per week, in 12 weeks I will be running for an hour a day and I will have become a runner. And all of this will have been achieved without huge amounts of self-discipline and force of will.

Applying This to Changing Eating Behaviours

So our goal is to become a new healthy version of our self. We could go all in and try to change all our eating habits in one go. This, however, would be like trying to run the marathon without much training. It requires much more will power and self-control than just starting slow.

For example:

  • Changing everything at once is very difficult
  • Changing every meal apart from breakfast is difficult
  • Changing just breakfast is tricky
  • Just stocking up on plant-based foods is easy
  • Just writing a plant-based shopping list is very easy

In the modules that follow we are going to be going on this journey. We are going to be writing a shopping list, stocking our pantries with different, healthy plant-based options, getting started with breakfast before moving on to lunch and dinner and much more.

But we should always try to remember that it’s better to make any start, regardless of how small than never get round to starting at all. Equally unwelcome would be to start too big and end up running out of steam or enthusiasm before our new behaviours have had time to become ingrained and a part of who we are.

1. Introduction  |  2. Identity Change  |  3. Make it Rewarding  |  4. How to Build Habits  6. The Best Way to Start  |  7. Environment  |  8. More on Environment  |  9. Make it Attractive10. Make it Unattractive  |  11. Role of Friends and Family  |  12. Momentum | 13. Make it Easy  |  14. Procrastination  |  15. Commitment Devices

About Module 2:

Before we find out more about switching to a healthy diet, it will help us a lot to learn about how habits are formed and, perhaps most importantly, kept.

I’m really excited about this module because it provides us with a tool for making changes in all areas of our life, not just diet and health. I promise that you’ll discover a lot of new ways of implementing changes in your life. This module will also help you to kick bad habits and create new ones.