How to stop procrastinating and jump start your life

Have you told yourself you would lose those last 10 pounds, update your resume for a new job or get organized once and for all – but have never actually done it? Make this year be the year that you accomplish your goals! Experts weigh in on how you can stop procrastinating and jump-start your life once and for all.

Woman writing in planner

“My 2010 resolution was this: Read more. Write more. Run more. Left to my own devices, I would ‘facebook more’ or ‘surf the internet more,'” says writer Leslie Leber. “So, I started scheduling time into my calendar for my important activities.”

Leber has found that this technique works for her and helps her stop procrastinating and meet her goals. Here are more tools to help you get a jump-start on your own New Year’s resolutions.


Using a timer can be a great way to give you a jump-start because you know you will only be doing it for a set amount of time. “When I have a task that needs to be done but I have been putting off getting started, I tell myself I’m going to do the task for twenty minutes. I set the timer on my phone then I dig in,” says Leber. “Twenty minutes usually passes quickly and most times I continue on for another ten minutes or more until the task is done.”

Along this same thought, you can time yourself in other ways. For instance, tell yourself you will fold laundry until a 30-minute show is over or will run until three songs have played on your iPod.


Leber says she schedules activities on her calendar, much like she would a meeting or appointment. “I started scheduling time into my calendar for my important activities,” she says. “I block out an hour, three to four times per week for running. I schedule reading and writing time just like I would schedule a meeting, often including a specific goal for that time, such as write 1000 words, or read two chapters.”

3Break it up into small steps

Breaking a large task into small steps can make it seem much more doable. In fact, Laura Vanderkam, author of 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, recommends aiming to do less to make the project seem more manageable. “If you have something you are really trying to tackle, break it into many, many small steps. Do one thing today. Celebrate having done that thing. Do NOT try to do anything more on the project! Then, do one more thing tomorrow. Over a year, this adds up (to 365 things). There are very few big projects which can’t be tackled in 365 steps. Writing an 80,000 word book, for instance, would simply require writing less than 250 words per day.”

4Get an accountability buddy

Having a buddy working with you on the same goal will help you get through the ups and downs of tackling a project. Where can you find an accountability buddy? “This can be a coach, friend or co-worker,” says Bo Bradley, author of 11 Secrets of Living a Life Balance. “It should be someone who is willing and able to not let you slide by making stories and excuses and will check in with you, [as well as] being available to listen and brainstorm with you when you are struggling. I suggest making a regular scheduled time to check-in at least once a week.”

5Set realistic goals

If your goals are unrealistic, you may be procrastinating because you know you can’t meet them. Re-evaluate and re-work your goals to make them realistic and achievable. “If you hate going to the gym, don’t make your solution to losing weight going to the gym three times a week,” says Bradley. Instead, find alternative ways to get in shape. Maybe you hire a personal trainer that comes to your home or you get a walking buddy to walk with you at lunch. Make it more enjoyable and you are much more likely to do it.”

What you saidTell us: How do you stop procrastinating? Share your tips in the comments below!

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