Stop Shaming Procrastination – Develop your virtues

Setting goals makes us feel hopeful and excited about what is to come. Imagine how we are going to feel when we complete what we set out to accomplish. It may be a physical change we want to make in ourselves, or we want to learn something new. So many times though, goals are not reached as we hoped or expected and we allow obstacles to get in the way of completion.

I believe that one of the biggest things that get in our way of reaching our goals is procrastination. That little matter of putting off getting started or taking the first steps toward achieving what we have hoped to complete. We all know what it feels like, most of us have most likely procrastinated on something and then find yourself disappointed or in a mad rush to get the project done.

Unfortunately, our kids see us deal with this annoyance of procrastination, and soon they are procrastinating themselves and many times it is the parents that deal with many of the consequences of their putting off a major project.

While there are books about procrastination – both the why and what to do about it – we still find that it can be a challenging practice to overcome. I thought maybe there is another approach. Perhaps we can look inside ourselves and see what we can call on or develop more of so that we get the job done promptly without the stress of waiting until the last possible moment.

What virtue would you call on when you know that you are procrastinating? Accountability, Decisiveness, Determination, Diligence, Excellence, Initiative, Orderliness, Purposefulness, Self-Discipline? Maybe there is a different one for you?

All of us have those virtues listed above as a part of who we are, but sometimes we need to call on them to come forward and be developed at this time. Instead of ‘demanding’ that a project gets done and shame the child or yourself with yelling or name calling (lazy, thoughtless, stupid, a failure), be kind and look for the virtue that you need to call on to overcome the obstacle. When you search for the virtue you need at this time, you are practicing the strategy of Recognizing Teachable Moments.

This is parenting and self-talk at its best.

Setting goals or intentions in the new year

The beginning of most years many people tend to use this time to think about what the year ahead will look like and what they would like to accomplish. Instead of goals, I want to think of intentions. What are my intentions for the coming month, three months or six months?  Sometimes a year may seem so far out that we believe that we still have plenty of time to get things done and soon we see the year has passed us by. Writing down your long-term objective and then breaking it down into smaller goals in shorter time frames helps with seeing the progress we are making.

One of the most significant obstacles to the beginning of the year goal setting is having clarity about both what we want and what we do not want.  One way of getting to a clear understanding of clarity for ourselves is to take the time to decide both of these things in each area of our life. Having the right balance in all areas of life is essential. Balance helps us, the family and teaches our children to focus on their whole selves and not just “what they want to do when they grow up.”

The four areas of life that if we contribute to on a regular basis bring us the greatest feelings of success and happiness are:

  • Home and family
  • Career and education
  • Hobbies and recreation
  • Community and service

Take a look at each of these and consider; write down what your intentions are for each of them. What do you want for your family and home? Do you want to spend more time with your partner and children? What would you like to do with them? What would you like to contribute more to in your home and home life? What does each of your children need from you? How can you honor the spirit of your home? What about yourself would you like to grow or develop more? Is it your health or some other part of life?

For each area think about what you are doing now and how you would like to take it to the next level. It is the balancing of improvement in each area that creates the greatest feelings of a successful year and life. Having clarity about what you want is the first step. Do not skip any of the areas thinking that you do not have time for them. Balancing your life in each area makes the other areas easier to achieve and brings joyfulness to life. 

Find a list of virtues here. Which ones are most important to your family?

Life Skill: Goal-Setting – The Definition

Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Goal-Setting. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.

Young students:  “I know what I want to do, be or know  and I have a plan to achieve that goal.”

Older students:  Deciding what you want to do, learn or accomplish and making a plan to achieve it!

We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers, and students to reach that goal.

 Get the list of 52 Gifts of Character / Virtues!


Personal and Family Mission Statement Should Be Inspirational

mission statementHaving a purpose in life, a mission, something bigger than yourself and your personal needs is valuable in several ways. In Ohio there is a Leadership Development Institute who defines the value of writing a mission statement this way:

  1. It forces you to think deeply about your life, clarify the purpose of your life, and identify what is really important to you.
  2. It forces you to clarify and express succinctly your deepest values and aspirations.
  3. It imprints your values and purposes firmly in your mind so they become a part of you rather than something you only think about occasionally.
  4. Integrating your personal mission statement into your weekly planning, gives you a way to keep your vision constantly before you.

Can you see how a mission statement is different than just having some goals for the year? In fact your goals could and should support your life mission, whereas just having goals not tied to a mission, would make it very easy to just throw them away without any deep thought.

Most of all a mission statement should inspire you! Have you created one for yourself or how about a family mission statement? I believe that a mission statement is the beginning of keeping a family operating as a unit, on the same page, one that has a purpose – beyond the narcissistic ways we see so many operating today. Share your statement with us on Facebook.  Like Balanced Life Skills while you are there.  

Want some help?  This is a great resource –

Projection or Blaming Others Leads to Procrastination

1526-031-Stop blaming othersThis is the time of the year to be setting goals and creating our action plans. Those who are successful at reaching their goals do so because they make a plan and share their plan with others, creating an accountability factor. In our last post we talked about how procrastination is the number one reason we do not reach our goals. There are other attitudes and ways of thinking that help push us right into procrastination. One of them is Projection.

Projection is when we blame others for our setbacks and or failures. We see this in young kids when they are quick to blame mom or dad. They have not learned to take responsibility for their failure and so put the blame on others. Someone may forget to bring their uniform or belt to our school and they might say, “Mom forgot it.” In the classroom a child asked not to push another child might say, “But they pushed me first.”

As a parent we want to be able to teach responsibility to our children. But in an age when many parents do not want to see their child have any kind of setback they will do anything to be sure they do not fail. Years ago a mom of a 5 year old was running back to a preschool to get “homework” the child had forgotten. I suggested that this was not the way to make your child responsible for their own work.

If you do not believe that children do not get that message, just this week a student who is about 11 years old told me they did not have an issue with procrastination. “If they forgot to do something, their mom would do it for them.” Unless as a parent you are planning on spending the rest of your life “fixing” the things your son or daughter is responsible for –

Goal Setting – Why We Use Procrastination

NoworLaterWhat gets in the way of goal setting and more important reaching your goals? There can be attitudes or fears that make reaching your goal more difficult. Number one on that list has to be “Procrastination”. Even when we talk to 10 year olds about this subject they recognize that procrastination gets in their way and is the cause of stress in not reaching their goals.

It could be that you procrastinate because you do not know what to do. There are so many things to look at and to try. Many individuals have not looked at what their purpose is, asked themselves what is important to them and what they would like to commit to. When it comes to children, the idea of committing to anything for more than 6 weeks is difficult to imagine. But until we commit to an activity or cause, it is very difficult to become good enough,  that it has the opportunity to become a passion, therefore leading to more procrastination.  Create a vision or mission and stick with it long enough for it to become a passion.

You may have a vision or an idea but you do not know how to accomplish it. In fact you may not know even where to start. If this is your position the most important thing is to do something. Get the ball rolling. Almost 10 years ago Tom Callos, a mentor, challenged all of his students to teach peace. I flailed about on that assignment for years. I could not define peace, let alone teach it. Finally this was a calling that I could not resist any longer. I read and studied. I went to retreats and read some more. I became more and more curious until I started to develop a way of understanding and speaking on this subject.  One of my biggest takeaways was ‘being peace’.   This of course is another subject – but if you do not know how to start or go about what you want to do, find mentors, read, study and talk to others – you will find a way.

What if you have a vision, and know how to do it but cannot get it done. There seems to always be other things that take up your time. There are sports to watch, Facebook to update, coffee to prepare, sometimes we even go to others to get help – so many things to do – except getting on with your work. Steven Pressfield called it “Resistance” in his book The War of Art. Resistance is the act of self sabotage, self deception and self corruption. We can find all kinds of things to do except what we need to do to get things done.

In the next few days we will talk about many others ways that we set up roadblocks to reaching our goals – but many of them lead to procrastination. Now is the time to DO SOMETHING!