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Be honest here...
How many people would like the following:
• A fit, healthy, trim body?
• Excellent coordination, balance, mobility and agility?
• Suppleness and flexibility?
• On-going strength without the need to tense-up your muscles?
• Poise, alignment, healthy joints?
• Good, robust health?
• A youthful manner of moving?
So, what is stopping you from achieving these things?
Procrastination is an insidious, ugly, convenient catch-all. It enables an individual to postpone important activities, actions, responsibilities and concerns indefinitely.
Rather than address things right now, you discover perfectly rational, reasonable alternatives...
Some people will tell you that they really want to lose weight or commit to taijiquan classes, but somehow they never make it to class and they don't lose weight.
Every one of these
alternatives is plausible and justifiable. And that is why
Why is procrastination a bad thing?
Simple... You may work those necessary extra hours. You may be a great team player in the family. You may struggle to find time to do everything you want to do with your life...
But, you're still overweight. You're still unfit. You're still unhealthy. Your bad knees and back are just getting worse. You've got headaches from shoulder tension.
You are still feeling wiped out. You are still stressed out all the time.
Procrastination = laziness?
Laziness can mean idleness, apathy, not making an effort... etc but this is not the real meaning of the word. Laziness is about maintaining the status quo, staying put, not changing. It is about habit.
Your habits mean that you continue doing what you are already doing. In favour of the things you want to do, but don't do. In this sense, procrastination is a form of laziness.
People are often very busy. But why? And are they really any more busy than everybody else? If they are, why? Are they saving the world? Curing cancer?
Or is it a matter of poor time management skills? Taking on more responsibilities than they can handle? Being greedy? Seeking validation? Identification with a self-projected image?
Beyond my control
A great procrastination excuse is 'learned helplessness' - giving the impression that the Universe has somehow conspired to make it impossible to do the things you really want to do.
Such as losing weight or getting fit. After all, if you have no control over the events in your life, how can you change them?
Everyone makes choices. All the time. A person chooses to watch football rather than exercise. They ride on their motorbike in the countryside rather than cycle. Eat fatty food rather than healthily.
Nobody is forcing us to make these decisions. We do so all by ourselves.
Life is all about exchange. You want to eat some bread? You pay the baker and they give it to you. You have gained bread and lost money. This is an exchange. Life is filled with them. Yin/yang.
Every time you choose to do this instead of that, it is also an exchange.
We live in a culture where people are loathe to commit. They want to leave their options open in case something better comes along or so they can change their mind at the last minute.
If this is how you choose to live, that's fine. It's your choice after all. But it will never enable you to overcome procrastination.
An inch of time is an inch of gold: treasure it.
Appreciate its fleeting nature.
Misplaced gold is easily found,
misspent time is lost forever.
(Loy Ching Yuen)
It is common to hear people make claim that they intend to do all manner of positive things once they retire. But does this really happen? Not very often. Time does not stand still.
There will never be a perfect moment when everything magically aligns. To act, you need to get rid of something in order to make space and then use that space to do something more positive.
Instead of reading the newspaper in the morning, you exercise for half an hour. Rather than slob out watching the news at night or playing videogames, you prepare fresh food for the following day.
The internet is like a massive magazine. It provides a ceaseless stream of information. Snippets of data. Bullet points. Opinions. Advice. But not a lot of depth or integrity.
People can flick down a list of brief statements and earnestly believe that they understand. This is quite dangerous. It runs contrary to education, to learning.
Having the gist of something isn't the same as knowing e.g. watching a YouTube video on how to drive a car won't furnish a teenager with usable skills. In fact, it prevents people from learning.
Reading books is a good way to learn, but again, it has shortcomings. There are many books on procrastination. Do the readers change their lives? Maybe some do... Maybe later, huh?
If you read a book on taijiquan does that mean that you have a grasp of the art? Surely not. Your body has not learned anything.
And your mind interprets what you read relative to your existing memories, ideas, thoughts and opinions.
Many people nowadays are significantly overweight. This is often cited as being the cause of many common health problems. The overweight individuals talk a lot about getting healthy, but do nothing.
Essentially they are hoping to continue their current eating habits and lose weight regardless. Isn't this somewhat deluded and naive?
Usually they speak of losing just a few pounds despite been many stones overweight. This kind of thinking is exactly why procrastination is a bad thing. It conceals the truth. It blinds the individual.
Don't take our word for it, though. Get on the weighing scales. Look in the mirror. Calculate your BMI. Even better, use your hands. If you can hold onto fat, then you have concrete evidence in your hands.
It's simple. If it jiggles,
Getting in shape
Go to the gym, lift weights, run down the street... These activities are great if it's something that you like to do. What if aren't keen on the exertion, the sweating and straining?
Procrastination will provide you will a never ending list of reasons to never get fit. Meanwhile, your quality of life remains the same or (more likely) slowly deteriorates.
If you don't fancy punishing your body on the path to fitness, then don't. Taijiquan has been practiced for centuries. It isn't a fad. The results are tried and tested.
The health benefits have been medically studied and verified. Unlike the gym, taijiquan isn't going to tire you out.
Most of the training can be performed at home. No special equipment is needed. You can even chop it into 10 minute increments in order to fit it into your schedule.
Classes are about learning new insights/material, corrections, refinement and partner work... They serve as a pleasant oasis in the midst of an otherwise busy life.
It is quite easy to commit to weekly taijiquan classes and then procrastinate all over again...
Yes, the hurdle of actually attending class has been climbed. But the student isn't getting anywhere. How come? The student has settled into another habit of inaction.
Instead of training at home every day and working steadily through the syllabus, they have a long list of plausible reasons why they can't commit to this. Does this sound familiar? It's procrastination!
4 April 2005
Last updated 12 July 2021