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The 3 Biggest Reasons You Procrastinate What's holding you back, and how to move forward with more ease.

By Paula Immo Edited by Jessica Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

"I'm so frustrated with myself. What is it that makes me procrastinate?"

"Why can't I just do what I have planned to do?"

"I guess I'm just not good enough, right?"

These are the type of questions I often get from my clients when they're in the midst of the inner battle of procrastination. And not that many years ago, I was the one asking the same questions myself. Luckily, I had a world-renowned coach by my side, and since then, I've helped my clients bust through those mind-created obstacles and leap into living their dream lives, free of procrastination. Here are the three biggest reasons you procrastinate, and how to navigate through them with more ease.

Related: You're Not "Multi-Passionate," You Just Have a Procrastination Problem

Reason 1: It's too good to be true

We're highly unlikely to do anything about something that feels impossible and out of reach. This is the reason why too many great ideas have been dismissed as too good to be true when they've flashed through our minds. But is there really such a thing as too good to be true? Or is it just about our (in)ability to let more good into our lives?

Awesome events — magical, really — have taken place in my clients' lives after they've gotten rid of the idea of something being too good for them.

What helped? First and foremost, proof. References of real people who've already done what you'd like to do, or something similar. Proof makes us wonder if our idea could indeed be possible. And such curiosity is forward-moving energy. Take time to search for suitable references.

References work best when you get to be in contact with them in some way. Thankfully social media makes reaching out to pretty much anyone so much easier than it used to be. If getting in contact with them is not possible, reading about them, listening to their podcasts or videos and getting to know their story works just as well. Then, get curious. What would it mean if your idea was possible after all?

Related: How to Go From Procrastination to Inspiration

Reason 2: It's unclear

When we don't see our vision clearly, moving forward feels more or less like a constant battle. Don't get me wrong — this doesn't mean you can't go forward unless you have an exact, clear picture of the outcome in your mind. It only means you need some sort of an image of the desired outcome to direct your way. Most important is clarity of the next step. Not all of the steps, just the next one.

How do you get clarity of the next step, then? Or the desired outcome? Simply by asking questions. If something is fuzzy or unclear, it already provokes questions in your mind, and our mind is built to seek answers to any questions we have.

Start with these three simple questions:

  • What is the next step I'm going to take?
  • What can I do next?
  • If I had clarity, I would…

Then give yourself time to hear the answers. Sometimes they don't come right away, but if you stay open to the question, ideas will sooner or later start to pour in.

When we have either an idea or full clarity of the next step and act accordingly, that action will bring with it the clarity of the following step. And here's the brilliance of the whole process! By taking just one step, no matter how small (and quite frankly, the smaller the better), we bust free of procrastination with ease. Going forward, keep in mind that you only ever need to take one step at a time. This realization has helped so many of my clients leap into living their dream lives, as we regularly make sure they have clarity of the next step.

Related: Just Do It: How to Work When You Really Don't Feel Like It

Reason 3: It's too big

Sometimes we think we know exactly what to do next, but we still don't take the next step. That's when it's time to check you haven't zoomed so far out that you can't see the details. If you're only seeing the big picture, it might be hard to decide what to do next and divide what you're supposed to do into bite-sized bits. Let's imagine this in terms of your favorite cake (if you don't like cakes, just play along for the fun of it).

If you have the whole cake in front of you, you'd hesitate to stuff it all into your mouth at once, right? You'd perhaps cut a piece of it first, as that's the most popular way of eating cake. But would you then stuff that piece into your mouth at once either? I assume not, at least when accompanied by others. What we do is take a spoon and eat that piece of cake one spoonful at a time. If we'd continue, spoonful by spoonful and piece by piece, the whole cake would be eaten over time.

I'm sure you got the picture. By chunking what we're supposed to do into small enough pieces, we make it much easier for ourselves to go forward. And when it's easy enough, there's no reason to hold back anymore. You've got this.

Related: Simple Methods to Help You Let Go of Procrastination Habits Completely

Paula Immo

Success Coach, Happiness Evangelist

Paula Immo is a success coach based in Oulu, Finland. She coaches award-winning entrepreneurs, experts and business leaders in finding their unique way of succeeding and helps firms cultivate happiness as competitive advantage. She’s known for her visionary and proven approach on success.

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