Breathe, Count: This is a Basic Volitional Strategy

Inhale, count 1. Exhale, count 2. Continue until you reach 10. Do you ever use this strategically to decrease procrastination? You should.

I Have to Do It or I Want to Do It?

I’ve gotta get this done. I’m going to try and do that tomorrow. Both of these statements signal upcoming problems for really getting things done.

How not to Be Pavlov's Dog

“I couldn’t help it. I can resist everything except temptation” (Oscar Wilde). “Those who restrain desire do so because theirs is weak enough to be restrained” (William Blake). What do we know about individual differences in resisting temptation?

You Can Develop Desired Health Behaviors

How do we develop more healthy habits?

Success Depends on Starting

My personal mantra for fending off procrastination is "just get started." Here's a short post by a professional coach that explains how and why this is so important.

Procrastination Helps Creative Thinking

Procrastination helps creative thinking. You might come back to it with a fresher approach if you procrastinate. These are two of 13 positive beliefs that some chronic procrastinators reported. There are some negative beliefs as well. A paradox? The truth?

Intentional Procrastination or Procrastinating on Intentions

My annual physical was in July. My doctor gave me a requisition for blood work. It's almost October and I haven't done that yet. Is this procrastination?

The Future is Now: Lower Impulsivity, Delay Gratification

The problem with self-control is that we are usually paying now for a reward later. The consequence is that we discount future rewards and give in to feel good now. How can we learn to delay gratification? Here’s some new research that might help.
When Pride Prevents the Fall

When Pride Prevents the Fall

Procrastination. It’s nothing to be proud of. Recent research reveals that this lack of pride may be part of the solution to procrastinating less!

Depression and Procrastination

If I were to name two common problems or experiences that many people share, they would be depression and procrastination. Not surprisingly, they’re related. Here’s some recent research and personal experiences that provide some insight into this relation.

An Experiment That Might Help Reduce Procrastination

Can you imagine being honest with yourself? How would that work? Try "The Honesty Experiment" and find out.

Three Women and a Hospital Room: What I'm Learning

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time at the hospital. My mother had a stroke just over a month ago. There has been plenty of time and motivation for reflection.

A Procrastinator's Wise Advice and Success Strategy

The secret of motivating present self is in imagining the consequences for future self. We need to be able to go “back to the future.” You don’t have to believe me, a blog reader/podcast listener says it best! Here's a powerful anti-procrastination strategy.

Strategies to Strengthen Executive Function

A reader of my last post agreed with the points made about self-regulation failure, but noted, “when the [procrastination] habit has been 'cemented,' things are not so simple.” Another reader wrote, “Please tell more about how self-regulatory skills can be learned.” Here are some research-based strategies to strengthen executive function.

What Guilt Teaches Us About Procrastination

I’m not advocating that having guilt is a good thing. Far from it. That said, the fact that we experience guilt when we procrastinate reveals something very important about needless delay.

Caffeine, Alcohol and Fear

When asked how she accomplishes so much, British writer Caitlin Moran replied with “caffeine, alcohol and fear." Said in jest, at least in part, I think this statement rings true for many. What does that say about motivation?

Too Much of a Good Thing?

“Despite good intentions, most goals go unfulfilled.” This is the opening line to a research article published this fall, and it’s not news to most of us. This recently published study does have some surprises in terms of why some of our best intentions fail.

Perfectionism, Procrastination, and Distress

Excessive concerns about making mistakes, pernicious self-doubt, harsh self-criticism, impossibly high standards or expectations for performance, a strong and chronic tendency to evaluate one’s performance as not measuring up to levels expected by oneself or others - these are features of maladaptive perfectionism that predict psychological distress.

Willpower 101: A Gift for the Class of 2016

If you ever struggle with procrastination - and face it, who doesn't? - you'll want to read this book. In fact, I will recommend it as a "must listen," and that makes it an ideal gift for sons or daughters as they head off to college and university this fall.

Stop Thinking Goal, Think Practice

I’m a big advocate of clearly defined goals and goal achievement. To my surprise, I think I may have been misplacing some of the emphasis. It’s not always about the goal. It might be about the practice.

The Power of Hypocrisy

In a recent new book, psychologists argue that cognitive consistency is a basic principle of how we function. We seek to resolve any form of dissonance. Until we do, we feel the tension of hypocrisy. Is this hypocrisy an evolved strategy that fosters self-regulation?

No Magic When It Comes to Weight Control

“Illuminating the Obesity Epidemic With Mathematics” is the title of a new paper by Dr. Carson Chow. A recent New York Times article captures Chow’s conclusions succinctly, “There’s no magic bullet on this.” So, what does it take?
Can You Make Yourself Smarter? Only if You Try

Can You Make Yourself Smarter? Only if You Try

An article in the New York Times summarizes some compelling evidence that we can improve short-term memory that in turn improves fluid intelligence. Yet, as the author writes, “. . . cognitive exercises may prove to be up against something even more resistant to training than fluid intelligence: human nature.”
Self-Control Is More Than Strength and Brute Resistance

Self-Control Is More Than Strength and Brute Resistance

So often, self-control is portrayed along only one dimension—willpower strength. Willpower may be like a muscle, but self-control involves skill too. Here's a new book that speaks to our weakness of will.

Is the Word "Just" an Injustice to Self-Regulation?

Some advice from a reader: “be very wary of the word 'just' ... normally it conceals a lot of difficulty.” If this is true, why do I always say, “just get started?”
The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

It’s typical to speak about procrastination as a habit. There are self-help books with this title in fact. Here are some key ideas from Charles Duhigg that I want to echo when we think about habits.

I Don't Feel Like It, And That's OK

Some tasks take much more time and energy than we ever expect. A break, some task delay, and dare I say it—even some old-fashioned procrastination—may be the best thing to do.

I'll Feel More Like It Tomorrow

"Tomorrow - A mystical land where 98 percent of all human productivity, motivation and achievement is stored." (Unknown) Ah, tomorrow, what promise it holds . . . at least that's what we want to believe.

Due Tomorrow. Do Tomorrow.

The problem for some of us is that these mean the same thing. Why do I think I'll feel more like doing it tomorrow? Why do I procrastinate?