NLP Life Coaching to discover why some of us are prone to procrastination seems to be a little bit of the holy grail. But this is actually easily possible. In fact, I view doing this exercise as absolutely crucial in finding the cause, reason and solution to procrastination. I also use the same NLP technique for many other presenting problems, unrelated to this subject.
A key element is the understanding that there is a positive intention motivating every behavior. This may seem a little odd, as procrastination is “bad” behavior and doesn’t get us very far in life. Humans beings are designed to move towards pleasure and away from pain, to adapt, and to survive. We are inherently not very complex in that sense. And even in our bad behavior we are simply doing what we are designed to do. Well, we think we are anyway. But we can be a little more specific about it. And that is in the discovery what positive thing we are trying to achieve through procrastination. This may be completely unconscious to us.
What we usually do around bad behavior, is to yell at ourselves for it. To STOP procrastinating. We are actually making ourselves feel worse, for something POSITIVE the unconcisous mind is trying to achieve for us.
This is an exercise I designed for my life coaching practice, partially borrowing from NLP, psychology and common sense.
Finding the positive intention behind procrastination:
1. Close your eyes, and go inside, focus on your breathing.
2. When you are completely calm and turn inwards, ask yourself the following question: “What is the positive intention, expressed in one word, that I have in mind by procrastinating (on this task?)”
3. Listen carefully for the answer, a positive word! Do not logically try to reason it out. Let any answer come automatically. It may be a hunch or a sense of a word, this likely won’t have the same quality as your logical thoughts. Though it is OK to get the intuitive answer, the unconscious answer, and then logically try to make sense of it. However, be careful that your logical voice doesn’t overrule your unconscious voice. It takes practice and development of intuition or quality of our unconscious mind voice to hear it clearly.
If you hear nothing; pretend AS IF the one word came to you. If so, what would that be?
4. Get a piece of paper, and start writing about the positive intention as it relates to the procrastination,
a. Given the importance of the positive intention, isn’t it understandable that you procrastinate at the same time?
b. How are you (in the long run) not truly meeting your positive intention at all by procrastinating?
c. How important is it to meet the positive intention?
d. If you meet the positive intention in some other way than procrastination, you may as well stop procrastinating, correct?
e. Is there any deeper awareness or positive meaning you can think off around this?
f. How an the positive intention still be met, by some other way than procrastinating. Write down 3 tasks you could start today.
g. Feel free to make up other questions you can ask yourself in this writing exercise.
5. Allow the above discovery and writing to integrate. And read again the next day in a quiet moment. What are the lessons learned?
Examples of positive intentions behind procrastination are: relaxation, fun, self-love, calmness, “being”, flow, balance, peace etc.