More Effective Goal Intentions: Think Width and Consistency

How can we more effectively avoid short-term temptations to achieve long-term goals? Two leading researchers argue that framing our goals with "width" and "consistency" makes a big difference.

Words of Healing for Perfectionists: Forget Your Perfect Offering

Far too many of us feel the unbearable weight of our perfectionism. These unrealistic expectations, often internalized as the expectations of others, are a sickness within us. In this brief post today, I offer up a poet's voice with words of healing.

Worried about Our Children

I love this cartoon. The imagery is simple. The implications are profound. There are the literal deep, and small, holes into which we might trip or fall while attending to something else. And, then there are our children, those "emerging adults," who populate our campuses. They are falling into their own deep holes. I'm very worried about them.

Still Procrastinating? The No-Regrets Guide to Getting Things Done

My colleague and friend, Dr. Joseph Ferrari (De Paul University, Chicago), has just published a new book: Still Procrastinating? the no-regrets guide to getting it done. As Joe has published more research about procrastination than anyone else in the world, I thought that Don't Delay readers might like to hear Joe talk about his book.

Every Day, but Not Today

My son will celebrate his third birthday on Sunday. Today, he taught me something about development and learning. He revealed how early in life temporal reasoning takes shape. The upshot was that I then realized how many of us are stuck at a very early level of maturation.

Today I Will Take Life Easy

I just finished reading stories to my children, ages 3 and 5 years. Among other things, we read the first chapter of Arnold Lobel's Days With Frog and Toad entitled, "Tomorrow." It is a wonderful story with an important lesson for us all, particularly when we're facing a day like Toad with "so much work to do."

Personal Barriers to Good Health

I had my annual physical examination this morning. I've got a new doctor, so we had an interesting "get to know you conversation" that included a chat about what I study as a psychologist - self-regulation failure. It's a common interest to physicians, of course, because they know patients often fail to implement necessary health behaviors. One thing he said in particular surprised me.

Am I Too Busy to Live My Own Life?

Do you remember Joseph Heller's novel Catch-22? Even if you don't, I think you might recognize how many of us play out the paradoxical "catch" in our lives daily. Desperately in need of more time with family or friends, or time for exercise or a therapeutic relationship, the situations that create our need seem to prevent us from getting what we need.


I will never do this again. I can't believe I've done this to myself again. Not true. Relapse is more the rule than the exception. Planning on it, accepting it, moving on, are key elements to a successful strategy for change.

If You Haven't Done the Time (Don't Count on the Happiness)

In a consumer-oriented society, we think that money can buy everything. Here's an example that shows this just isn't true. In fact, Julian Boulle, famed South African skydiver and birdman put it simply as, "If you haven't done the time, you just can't get there."

The Procrastinator's Digest: My New Book Is Now Available

This post has been updated as this book is no longer in print. The summary is relevant to its new edition as Solving the Procrastination Puzzle.

2 More Tips for Beating Writer's Block

When I see something about writer's block, I immediately think of Robert Boice's work on procrastination and blocking. He has also written an excellent book about new faculty. Here are two more strategies to add to Bill Knaus' list of tips based on Boice's research.

Procrastination Can Make You Happy?

Does procrastination make us happy? Does it improve performance? The short answer from the accumulated research literature is "no" on both accounts. So, why does this myth persist?

Why Understanding Batting Averages Is Important

I often meet people struggling with change in their lives, particularly around procrastinating less, and they are discouraged. They feel that they fail more often than they succeed. The thing is, this might still define success, even excellence. It does in baseball.

How Can I Learn to Eat Healthier Snacks?

In the most recent issue of the journal Health Psychology, there are two studies that explored how we can develop and maintain more healthy snacking habits. Not surprisingly, knowing that it's good for us is not enough for long-term success.

Doing a Full Pomodoro: Give Me a Break, Please!

Do a pomodoro. The tomato that's a verb. Sure, the technique has merits, but be careful not to miss the point. Technique is never enough.

The Procrastination Field or Why I Finally Cleaned Out My Fridge

Oh, the strange things that we do when we know we don't have time to take a break (but we do). While not working, we find ourselves maintaining a readiness to work, dramatizing our commitment to work, trying to convince the world and ourselves that we are not really off task. 

The Dark Side of Conscientiousness: Life Satisfaction in the Face of Unemployment

A soon-to-be-published longitudinal study of 9,570 individuals revealed that conscientiousness has a dark side following unemployment. This is one of the first instances of research documenting that conscientiousness is not always good for well-being.

How Does Personality Influence Blog Writing and Reading?

A study in the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies indicates that blog text presents consistent, readable cues about the blog author's personality. In addition, readers are more attracted to authors they think are similar in personality to themselves. So, which blogs are you reading here on Psychology Today?

What Are the Most Popular Goals in the World?

43 Things is the world's largest goal-setting community. It's a virtual place where people gather to list their goals. Really. Want to know what the "world's most popular goals" are? I did.

Why Procrastinators Aren't Very Happy

Although it would seem that procrastination should make us happier, as we're avoiding a task we'd rather not do, research consistently demonstrates that higher scores on procrastination are associated with lower scores on well-being and higher scores on measures of stress. Here's one reason procrastination doesn't buy happiness.

The Pernicious Perils of Perfectionism

Do you tend to ruminate on things? Generalize your failures to other tasks or situations? Pay too much attention to errors? Interpret ambiguous feedback as criticism? If so, you may have a problem with perfectionism. A new study reveals that a basic personality trait plays an important role in understanding this maladaptive approach to life.

Learning from our Limitations: Lance's Lesson

Sometimes, the most important lessons in life are the most difficult to learn. One of these lessons is about how much we can learn from our limitations; how learning to cope with and overcome our limitations can make us better.

Are Your Goals Value Congruent?

If our goals are not well aligned with our values or our sense of self, we're more likely to procrastinate. Value congruence and self-identity are part of our sense of the overall personal meaning of our goals. Our latest research indicates that low meaning is related to higher procrastination.

To Name it is to Tame It

Habits are tough, but we can change.

I'll Go to Therapy, Eventually

A new study suggests that procrastinators, younger people, males, and those overly concerned about their own social desirability are less likely to seek help with mental health concerns.

Adolescent Procrastination

Carl Pickhardt's recent blog posting about adolescent procrastination and stress certainly underscores the long-term consequences of this "do-it-at-the-last-minute" habit. Parenting, development and time management all play a role in adolescent procrastination. 

Procrastination and the Planning Fallacy

I've been enjoying reading Heidi Grant Halvorson's blog, The Science of Success. It interests me, because we both have our focus on successful goal pursuit. In her latest entry, she discussed the planning fallacy as one of our biases that can affect our task engagement. 

Procrastination: Feeling Overwhelmed, Helpless and Ready to Run Away

For the size of the wave, it's surprising how it catches us by surprise. You'd think we'd see it coming. Yet, each time we sit down to begin a difficult task that we'd rather avoid, here it comes - a huge tidal wave of negative emotions that overwhelms us. We feel incompetent. We feel like an imposter. We want to run away.

Time Management, Willpower, Success: A Source for Really Busy People

Have you ever wanted to read all of the self-help books you've seen on airport bookstore shelves, but lacked the time? Then this series of books may be just the thing for you. It's the "Coles Notes" of the self-help and motivational literature.