In order to learn if we can overcome procrastination, we should first talk about what it is and why it exists.

What is Procrastination?

In essence it's the avoidance of doing something that you either need to or want to do.  Avoidance comes in different forms.

  • Doing tasks that are less important
  • Taking longer on other less valuable tasks
  • Imagining the task will take less time than is true
  • Leaving things to the last possible minute

Why Do We Procrastinate?

Procrastination is the delaying of an activity that we either know we 'should' complete or really want to complete.

We can find ourselves avoiding, sabotaging, forgetting and generally getting in our own way in order to 'not' do the thing we know we need to get done.

Some in the business or success world might say you procrastinate because you lack the ability to prioritise.

There is also a belief that people who procrastinate have neural differences such as ADHD or ADD.

And some presume the procrastinator is actually lazy!

The truth is, it's not you.  It's your unconscious mind.  And your unconscious mind has ideas of it's own.

To Overcome Procrastination When It's A Result Of Unconscious Resistance Drivers

Que? you say!   Unconscious resistance?  Yes the unconscious has many hidden drivers which come in many forms.  These drivers are built in for a sensible reason even if their existence makes no rational sense to the conscious mind.

What is an unconscious resistance driver?

Well these are drivers of behaviour that in this case, are about resisting doing something that a part of you believes will cause pain.

Even if consciously the completion of the task would lead to wonderful things such as;

The resistance is triggered by something related to the act of doing it, or the completion of having done it.  It being the task you are procrastinating over.

Unconscious vs Conscious Causes of Procrastination

Many 'experts' don't really understand the power of unconscious resistance.  They still perceive you simply need to develop better habits!

The conscious mind is the part of our awareness that is right now.  What we see, feel, think, do, hear - in this moment.

The unconscious hosts the collection of experiences, memory, beliefs, emotions and perceptions are developed from that.

Some of the examples of unconscious resistance drivers I've encountered are as follows;

  • fear of success (people having higher expectations is an example of this)
  • fear of failing (letting others down, proving oneself less capable)
  • fear of what the success might lead to (greater responsibilties)
  • fear of what failing might lead to (giving up on dreams)
  • overwhelm (can't cope)
  • being found out/ judged/ scorned

Trauma Memories Can Trigger Procrastination

It's not true that all procrastinators have trauma as the root of their issues but it is true that it can be one of the factors.

If any of the thoughts (often unconscious) relating to the task have content that is also lodged in the trauma memory, the unconscious will automatically RESIST!

Trauma memories are memories that haven't been resolved (moved) to the memory centre of the brain.  They remain in a held position within the Amygdala - which is the guard house of the mind.

Because they sit there, the content is bypassed by the conscious mind and to protect you, the fight flight freeze responses (sympathetic nervous system) is activated without 

You may delay, but time will not
Whatever is the cause of your procrastination, it's possible to start discovering that so you can test your own ability to overcome or determine if you might need support from an expert.

Questions To Help You Learn The Cause of Your Procrastination

When you think about the activity you want to complete;

  1. do you feel anxious?
  2. do you find yourself questioning whether or not you can do it?
  3. do you feel overwhelmed by the amount of effort/tasks involved?
  4. do you think this is a boring slog?
  5. do you believe you can't complete it well enough?
  6. do you have a general issue with prioritising tasks?
  7. does this feeling seem common in many tasks?

What You Can Learn From Questions Regarding Your Procrastination

If you answered yes to the above;

  1. you may have an underlying issue that is triggered by this task.  I recommend reviewing the questions below, plus checking the links to additional enquiry before you book a session with a qualified Practitioner.  The key is to discover the potential trigger.
  2. this could be a self esteem/belief issue.  You may need to resolve any conflicting beliefs you hold about yourself.  And I recommend NLP techniques to begin the process of seeing, feeling, hearing yourself completing the task well.
  3. this might be a genuine overwhelm issue.  Perhaps not having enough time or resources to get the task done along with other tasks/expectations?  Here's where you get to determine what completing the task means to you.   Here's further questions to help you trigger motivation to get started.  Click here> NLP Coaching Questions
  4. sometimes tasks are genuinely uninteresting.  That's when a few techniques will help you to get started.  We avoid pain and move towards pleasure, so long as you have negative mindset about your project, the less likely you are to get started.  Start reframing the way you feel about the task.  
  5. if you aren't sure you will do the task well enough, you may have expectations of yourself that aren't realistic.  Did you have people around you growing up, who put pressure on you to do more than you felt you could?  Did anyone ever put you down when you tried your best?  Consider the issue might be deeper than first appears.
  6. prioritising tasks comes easier with simple strategies.  It may be you hadn't developed those strategies and life could be radically different when you do.  A coaching session with NLP would really help you iron out those steps, so getting started becomes more natural.
  7. if it's familiar for you to find yourself procrastinating, you might have a general belief that tasks left to the last minute, get done eventually.  It could just be a malfunctioning concept that hasn't yet been challenged. Again working on the unconscious resistances will help you to resolve this issue.

Challenging your motivation levels to overcome procrastination.

The best way to unravel the causes of procrastination and then rewrite beliefs, create new positive states and move forward with your Goals is with a qualified practitioner.  You can learn more about Leah on her Practice website here:

There are some NLP coaching questions on this website that can help you discover more of the unconscious resistance and overcome procrastination.  

You can find tips and a useful exercise here on this website:  NLP Coaching Questions 

You'll also find a helpful exercise on the Enhanced Life Substack that will help you analyse and reframe the thinking that underpins your Procrastination:  Click here > Exercise To Overcome Procrastination

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About the Author Leah Butler-Smith

Leah Butler-Smith is a professional Clinical Hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist with Advanced training in Hypno-analysis, Inner Child Healing, Trauma therapies and more. As an NLP Master Practitioner & NLP Trainer, she has experience Coaching people from all walks of life inc Business. She is the Founder of Enhanced Life & the creator of the Enhanced Life App. As a Freedom Loving Spirit she supports Humanity in every way she can.

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