“Are you ready for National Procrastination Week?”… “Nah, maybe later.” 

Whether you were aware that the first full week of March is dedicated as National Procrastination Week or not, one might wonder, “what do we need a procrastination week for anyway?” The holiday week was started as a fun way to encourage people to take a little time-off and unplug, so to say, to spend some time on a hobby or go out and enjoy nature. While we all can benefit from taking a step back from the daily grind now and again, let’s face it, it’s easy to fall into a rut of pushing off tasks, and projects which can hinder success and keep us from accomplishing our goals, even goals for our own personal health and wellness. Here are five ways to fight off procrastination and reach health goals. 

Set goals and write them down. This tip may seem obvious, but the first step to reaching a goal is creating one in the first place! People often have aspirations of improving their health but fail to do so because they never set personalized goals for themselves. A person with diabetes may know that lowering their blood sugar levels is a good idea but its tough to make much progress, if any, until they decide to do so and set a target they would like to reach. Similarly, many people would say they would like to lose weight, but until a specific goal is set, they may not see much improvement. Once you have determined what your goals are, make sure to write them down. The act of writing down a goal can be helpful with mentally preparing and getting motivated. It is also encouraging to have goals written down so that, later down the road, you can look back and see all you have achieved! 

Make sure goals are manageable and achievable. When setting your goals, make sure that they are appropriate for you and achievable. Setting unrealistic goals can lead to discouragement and giving up. A helpful way of making goals is to use the acronym SMART: SPECIFIC, MESSURABLE, ACHEIVABLE, REALISTIC, TIME-BOUND. An example of a SMART goal for someone interested in losing weight would be: 

Lose 10lbs in three months by performing physical activity for 30 minutes 5 days a week and maintaining a balanced diet. 

If you have a large long-term goal; consider breaking it up into smaller short-term goals to avoid becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. For more helpful information on SMART goals, click here

Look for ways to make tasks more enjoyable. We often tend to procrastinate from a sense of dread or feeling that the activity/task will be unpleasant or uncomfortable. By looking for ways to make the task more enjoyable you will be less likely to put it off. For example, if you are struggling to start an exercise routine, consider putting on some lively music and dance around the house to make it more fun or get a friend or family member to exercise with you! Also, making a game or a challenge out of your goals can help to increase motivation. 

Reward yourself. Who doesn’t appreciate being rewarded for a job well-done?! Rewarding yourself for accomplishing a goal (or even for just working on a goal as you set-out to do) can be a great motivation boost. So, instead of procrastinating by binging your favorite show, having a spa day or going shopping, consider using these activities to treat yourself if and when you accomplish a task or reach a goal! 

Go for it! Finally, sometimes you just have to jump in and get started. If you tend to procrastinate and make excuses such as, “I don’t feel like it.” “I’m not in the mood.” “I’ll wait till life isn’t so busy.” it’s important to just go for it; once you start working on a goal, you will likely find it’s not as difficult or unpleasant as you originally thought. Put a start date on your calendar and stick to it! 

If you would like to take some R&R to enjoy National Procrastination Week, do it! Taking some time off now and again is important to reflect and regain focus. Just remember these tips to keep procrastination from hindering you from reaching your health and wellness goals.