The greater the task, the greater the benefit. As procrastinators, we're quick to think that the greater the task, the greater the cost. We developed that way of thinking because we felt we had too much at stake to lose. We fear that dealing with tasks means losing our free time, and so, our independence. Am I 100% sure? Months later, I was blown away when I realized that my visit with a psychologist was my first intentional act of not resisting self-care. Had I not followed through with the orthopedic surgeon's recommendation, I may not have experienced the aha moment that prompted me to take a closer look at me--the whole person, mind, body, and spirit. In essence, going to see a psychologist was the affirmation I needed for the clarity of the gamut of emotions that I held deep within my soul. I was ready to take action toward total self-care. This initial act led me to my continuous transformation and healing. Now I look at self-care as the first-line treatment for my mind, body, and spirit. I recognize self-care is a form of self-love. It helps me resist sickness, poverty, depression, guilt, and self-sabotage. Since my first visit, I've learned how to live and thrive in the world we live in, in spite of what's going on around me. I no longer resist. I embrace. I believe we can look at the word resist as a powerful tool that can lead to desiring more knowledge and information. Resisting self-care is an indicator of a lack of clarity and understanding about the importance of it. Learning the reason why you resist self-care is critical for you to experience a more vibrant and healthier existence in every area of your life. The knowledge will provide you with more focus and clarity and motivate you toward greater life improvements.

Frequently, we resist the unknown, not realizing that self-care is accessible to anyone who wants it. Are you ready to do the necessary work toward self-care? And are you aware that self-care does not have an end date? Yes, I did say you have to do the work and there isn't an end date. But know that eventually your mind, body, and spirit will start to crave the benefits of self-care. Self-care will not feel like work when the act of self-care becomes your lifestyle. There is another very important message to my story that I want you to really take to heart: I waited until I did irreparable damage to my body to start practicing self-care. Since then, I have managed the pain and actually reversed some of the problems, but my body did not have to get the point it did before I got help. Don't make the mistake I made. Start practicing self-care now. Don't wait. Of course, the best way to make the rest of the day enjoyable is to be productive, because then you'll have nothing to regret. Plus, you'll feel the warm glow that comes from accomplished tasks. So keep that promise, and enjoy the rest of your day. Today's sacrifice equals tomorrow's success. The concept of sacrifice is one that many habitual procrastinators and non-procrastinators alike tend not to consider. While the concept of sacrifice may have been lost to a great degree in today's me, me, me society, you can use it to your benefit, especially when you face tasks that are challenging, complicated, boring, or unpleasant. Here's how it works: if you can't bring yourself to face the task for your own reasons, then consider doing the task for someone else's benefit. For example, let's say that you hate filing your tax return. What are some valid reasons for making the sacrifice of dealing with this annual ritual?

By challenging your automatic negative thoughts, by loosening your grip on what you are certain of, you free yourself to start thinking and responding in more positive ways. Questions you could ask yourself next are: What is the evidence against the way I'm thinking about this situation/event? What other explanations are there for what happened, is happening or could happen? Is there anything positive and good about the situation? I live with my appointment book and cards in my pocket, and I'm surrounded by lists. Most of my work is done in my office, at my desk. There I keep another list, the working list, on the back of an envelope, right in front of me. I get a lot of mail: bills, of course, ads, even payments sometimes. I save the envelopes that have blank backs for scratch paper. They're in a stack under one corner of my computer monitor, out of the way, but handy. I use envelopes for the working list, but I also use them for other things: Spanish conjugation I'm trying to learn, ideas for this book, new guitar chords to use, random thoughts, whatever. These other envelopes sit in a stack to the right of the working list, so they're handy and I can find what I'm looking for. From left to right: Top - stack of papers I'm working on, envelopes under monitor, to-do list, other envelopes: finances, Spanish, book ideas, etc. Bottom - stack of papers I refer to sometimes, keyboard and mouse. The to-do cards are always in my pocket, but in the office I work more from the working list. This list has the list of five on it, but also all the routine and less important things I need to get to today or perhaps tomorrow or the next day. These might include routine phone calls, or other routine tasks, like typing up my patient notes. If I've gotten behind on a routine or non-urgent task, it might wind up on the In the example of the report that your manager no longer needed, it could be that the positive aspect of the situation was that you got more practice working on this kind of report. And, although your manager doesn't need the information now, it could be useful in future. Recognizing that the way you're thinking doesn't make you feel good, or help you to get what you want, can prompt you to look at things from a different perspective.

Here is another way to think about this change in the brain's pain processing over time. Imagine a field covered in grass. First one person, then more, start to travel across the field following the same route. Over time, as people keep walking there, the grass along that route gets trampled down. A path wears down to the dirt, and grows wider. Now that this clear path has been made, it is faster and easier to cross the field by following the same route. In the same way, the more the brain processes the same pain signals, the faster and easier these signals will travel. Fortunately, this change does not have to be permanent. If people change where they walk, the grass along that path can slowly grow back. In the same way, if the brain gets a chance to send different signals, its pain pathways will get less efficient over time, and the sensitivity will change. Here are certain areas in the brain that change when they get danger messages: The brain's virtual body (sensory and motor areas): The brain has a virtual map of every body part. This virtual map is located in the sensory and motor areas of the brain. On this virtual map, body parts take up more or less space depending on how much you use that part of the body. After an injury to a particular part of the body, the sensory and motor areas of the brain can change the map in an attempt to protect the body. Sometimes these changes to the virtual map increase the sensitivity in the injured body part, or make it harder to move. In spinal cord injury or phantom limb pain, this part of the brain can cause ongoing pain sensations from the missing or paralyzed limb. However, as you grow into a true non-procrastinator, you'll notice that you not only regain your free time, but you'll also restore your perspective, your patience, and your self-esteem; which combined--take the form of an overall feeling of well being. Soon you'll find that the more you do, the more you're capable of, and as we do, we build up our internal reservoir of strength, which makes us even stronger. However, just as nobody's perfect, no one method of anything can be perfect either. As you may have already read, habitual procrastinators aren't just people who have grown accustomed to not do-ing, they're also people who share many behavioral characteristics and traits.

Two traits that come up repeatedly are frustration and impatience. So why do people wait? I have told you my story, but I believe that it may all come down to fear. That's the theme I hear in the thousands of people I talk to each year. Fear related to personal issues such as health, money matters, physical abilities or disabilities, self-confidence, lack of discipline, and the judgment of others. Fear of losing control over your time. Fear of the effort involved in self-care. Maybe self-care means stepping out of your comfort zone. Are you protecting your boundaries? Could it be that you may not want to relinquish your bad habits or your privacy? Do you have a challenge with adjusting to new routines? Or could it be that you are hiding a chronic illness or condition? Have you accepted as a core belief the idea that self-care is too hard? Or that self-care is just for athletes? Or that self-care is only for rich and famous people who can afford it? Or that self-care is just for the educated? Or that putting yourself first makes you a selfish person? I have found that caregivers, in particular, think that putting yourself first makes you a selfish person. Often, for example, young mothers who were previously into self-care and were passionate about their health during pregnancy will not take care of themselves once their children are born. They will feel selfish about leaving their children with a babysitter so they can go to the gym.