August for teens is like January for adults. It’s the start of a new (school) year and a time for resolutions, vows and commitments to be made…and ultimately, to be broken. Every August, I have numerous teens sit in my office and say, “It’s going to be different this year; I am going to get good grades this time around; I’m not going to forget my assignments”…and the biggie: “I am not going to procrastinate this school year.”
So often, very competent students fail or receive grades well below their capabilities for the mere reason of procrastinating. This is a cycle that will continue into adulthood if not dealt with now. Now is the time for change!
Here are 4 easy tips to break this vicious cycle.
1. SET GOALS AND MAKE A PLAN.
This seems obvious and almost too simple to list, but this is the most crucial step in breaking the cycle of procrastination. I recently saw a quote that said, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” –Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Procrastinators are professional wishers. They say all the amazing things they are going to do, but never put a plan in place to make this wish, goal or dream a reality.
So, make it simple. Put a pen to paper and write down your goal. Is it to pass your AP exam? Receive all A’s and B’s? Not miss any classes? Whatever it is, write is down, and then formulate a plan to bring that goal to fruition.Examples of plans can be: Finish homework by 6pm every night; study for at least 5 hours a week; get after school tutoring; take an SAT prep course; etc.
2. BECOME AWARE OF WHAT IS CAUSING PROCRASTINATION.
This one is a little tricky, but possible with a little bit of work and repetition. When you set out to do something, but find yourself procrastinating, immediately stop and ask yourself, “WHAT is causing me to not want to do this?” It could be simple laziness, or a fear of failure. Or it could be no real motivation or lack of priorities. Either way, you need to discover what’s holding you back.
3. FACE YOUR PROCRASTINATION.
Instead of procrastinating your procrastination problems, immediately find the best way to confront these thoughts. Once you are aware of what’s causing procrastination, you can now implement rational thinking to combat it. For example, if you have a fear of failure so you keep putting things off, use rational thoughts like, “Well, if I don’t get this done, I am DEFINITELY going to fail. If I at least try, I could possibly get a decent grade.”
One of the best ways to face your procrastination is to be proactive and make a list of reasons why you should not procrastinate BEFORE you are in the midst of it. Some great reasons are: “Procrastination leads to anxiety; I feel overwhelmed when I procrastinate; I most likely won’t get it done because I won’t leave myself enough time; etc.”
4. MAKE STEPS 1-3 YOUR NEW HABIT.
Any time you implement a new habit or thinking pattern in your life, it will take some time to truly set in. Do not be discouraged or give up if your procrastination habits do not change right away. This is a process and takes repetition. Reward yourself when you overcome it and pick yourself back up and try again when you don’t.
If you, or your teen, are struggling with procrastination, then call Life Counseling Solutions to help implement these principles in order to have a successful school year. Call us today at 407-622-1770 or schedule your first appointment here.
Author: DeAnn Maccloskey