As a speech-language pathologist, I love reading about learning, neuroscience, and communication. I have “liked” some pages on Facebook which post interesting articles about these subjects. Today, I read a really interesting article about the Zeigarnik Effect. A Russian psychologist, Bluma Zeigarnik, observed an interesting phenomenon while watching waiters fulfill their orders. The article also talks about other studies and gives examples that simply demonstrate that when we start something, we are more likely to finish it.
I am really great at procrastination. I don’t like that I procrastinate, but I do it quite well. There are two reasons that I procrastinate:
1 – I am not really motivated to do a task
2 – I don’t know where to start and I want it to be perfect
Being motivated is a key determinant to getting something done. However, even when I am motivated, I put things off because the task seems so big, and I want to start in the exact, right, perfect place so it turns out well. I felt this way before I started this blog. First, I thought that I didn’t have the right blog name, and then I thought that I didn’t start my diet and exercise at the same time, so how can I really keep track of what influenced my body? Then I thought that I hadn’t taken any measurements until recently, so it’s not really true to my real progress. Lastly, I realized that I was full of reasons not to get start, and I just had to start somewhere, anywhere! I did make sure my blog name was just right though 😉
In reality, it doesn’t matter where I start, because it is about the journey and not the destination. This journey has taught me so much in such a short time. All I had to do was start! And ultimately, I have realized the value of all the imperfections I have encountered. If I started out anything exact, right, and perfect, there would not be any room for progress, and it’s the progress that has motivated me to keep going! Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to reaching my goals, but what I forget sometimes is that my goals are ideas. They haven’t happened yet. When I turn my goals into expectations, it can end in disappointment and resentment. I try to remember that the journey may alter my idea of these goals, and that is perfectly OK! So, I’m just trying to enjoy what is happening NOW because that is the only thing under my control. I truly believe that when I do this, I’ll be in for a great ride 🙂
I remember an instructor during a Dailey Method class saying, “If you’re thinking about what you have to do tonight, the groceries you need to buy, or what you’re doing tomorrow, STOP. Think positive thoughts. Think about keeping your hips square and tucking in your pelvis.” That’s exactly what I did, and, not only was I less stressed, I had a better workout. That moment was lived.
What types of projects or tasks have you been putting off because you want them to be perfect?