Monday, November 19, 2012

Procrastination: The Painful Truth

Here is an older blog post I wrote about procrastination. I figured procrastination will always be around, so this blog post is just as interesting as it was when I first published it Enjoy!

"Are you in alot of pain?"

I was recently asked this question while trying to make an appointment with my dentist. Apparently, I have a tooth that has cracked in half and needs to be extracted. Fun for me...I'm sure I will feel your pity.

Anyway, the tooth hurts when I chew on it, so I have begun to chew on the opposite side of my mouth. When I called the dentist's office to make an appointment, the woman answering the call asked me, "Are you in alot of pain?"

I replied, "well no...not right now as we speak. It only hurts when I chew on that side of my mouth. But I'd like to see the dentist soon to get this looked at."

She responded, "Okay, well the only time we have available in is 3 weeks".

I said, "What?!"

She replied, "...that is the best I can do."

Does it matter if I had lied and stated I was in EXCRUCIATING pain? You bet your balls it does. My honesty bit me in the behind and now I was forced to eat on only one side of my mouth for the next 21 days.

This small experience made me think about how overweight individuals procrastinate doing something about their health before it is too late. Does physical pain or a scare have to drive some to the tipping point of taking action?

How many overweight people do you see everyday in public? How many people do you see eating at fast food restaurants? How many people continue to eat poorly despite the fact that they feel uncomfortable in their clothing? How many cars wait in line at the fast-food drive thru because some people didn't take the time to pack a good, healthy lunch? 

How many people drive motorized scooters around stores or town fairs as they tip the scales over 50 pounds of their ideal weight? When physical activity will improve their quality of life and health,  they decide to compensate with a device that inhibits the very activity that will help them: walking. 

How many people do you hear complain of low back pain, but continue to sit for long periods of time, avoid stretching, and fail to exercise? I see and hear everyday.

So at what point does the overweight person take action and do something to positively impact their health? In my experience, I have seen many clients procrastinate until it "hit" them to take action.Is it pain that they feel that warrants their initiative? Why do they procrastinate? Procrastinators sabotage themselves. They put obstacles in their own path. They actually choose paths that hurt their performance. I did some research on procrastination and this is what I found:

Procrastinators are made not born. Procrastination is learned in the family social setting, but not directly. It is one response to an authoritarian parenting style.

Procrastinators tell lies to themselves. Such as, "I'll feel more like doing this tomorrow." Or "I work best under pressure." But in fact they do not get the urge the next day or work best under pressure.

Procrastinators actively look for distractions, particularly ones that don't take a lot of commitment on their part.

Does this sound like many of your clients or people you generally know?

Many of our potential clients wait to make a drastic change in their lives. Overweight individuals wait until drastic repercussions develop from their sedentary lifestyle and poor healthy behaviors. It is not until "pain" is experienced that action is taken. This pain can be emotional stemming from a childhood episodes related to a food relationship, social acceptance, or embarrassment that is re-hatched in adulthood. Or this pain can bear physical repercussions such as suffering the risk of  diabetes, stroke, cardio-respiratory failure, angina, or other endocrinology disorders that make a person come to the conclusion that they need to take action. 

Back to my original question....when is your client ready to make a change in their life? When there is pain?

My message: stop waiting. Get off the scooter and stop accepting you have a problem. Find a solution to the problem before the real onslaught of pain (family loss, death, or depression) take hold.


  1. AMEN!
    Hope you feel better asap. My philosophy on fairs has always been that if we wanted to wipe out virtually every communicable disease known to man, we'd start with quarantining fairgoers...but you have raised a very good point...fairs and obesity go hand in hand...fried cheese on a stick, anyone? :)

  2. Well drawn up post John and very applicable to every aspect of one's life. It's never too early and its often times too late; get at it.

  3. John, as an overweight person, I completely agree. I am a procrastinator to the fullest extent. It's now beginning to bite me in the behind and taking a toll on my kids. I need to stop looking at workouts as a choice and instead as necessary to my life as sleeping, breathing, and going to school. It won't be easy but then again it didn't take me a couple weeks to gain all this weight.


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