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How to Cure Someday Syndrome
Someday Syndrome: not doing what you want to because you don’t know what it is, probably because you’re procrastinating about it, or because you have too much stuff getting in your way.
Everyone suffers from Someday Syndrome at some point in their lives, often catching it repeatedly. You probably have something similar going on in your life – a project, a task, a goal – that you just haven’t got around to doing yet, right? It would be easy to quote Nike and say "Just Do It" but if it were that simple Someday Syndrome wouldn’t exist. Here are some key ways to cure Someday Syndrome so that you don’t need to suffer through a cure.
Be you.This is the happiness project’s number one happiness commandment. Maybe you’re not doing something because, in reality, it doesn’t fit with who you are. If so, dump the idea and the expectations that likely came along with it, and go find something that suits you better.
Clear out the junk.If you don’t know what would suit you better, it could be because your mind and emotions are all cluttered up. If your mind’s in chaos, how could you possibly make a clear decision on getting rid of your "somedays"? The clutter includes the negative thoughts (like thinking that you would never be able to run more than 30 minutes without dying), or negative attitudes (saying to yourself "I'm too lazy to run").
Know what you want.And why you want it. If you are going to cure Someday Syndrome, you’ll need to know details about that desire and the reasons behind it. And if you don’t know what that is, the blogosphere is full of blogs ready to help you figure out your dreams.
Make a grand plan.“Grand” because this is the big picture plan. Don’t get carried away — we said "grand", not "grandiose". Planning can feel like action, but really it’s no different than talking. Until you actually do something, you’re still procrastinating. Planning is important, but doesn't count as actuallydoingsomething — taking the first step is what counts.
Plan to be surprised.Once your plan is in action, it might not turn out the way you expected, but this isn't always a bad thing, if you plan for it and if you're flexible.
Take one step at a time.The only details you need to choose at this point are the first steps. Don't get overwhelmed by details. Focus on just the next two or three things that you're going to do.
Ignore the rest.That’s right. Ignore everything else in the goal except what you’re working on. We often use comparisons (of where we are now to where we want to be) as a form of procrastination, as it's a sister to the planning stage above. While checking in is always a good thing, we can do it when each small task is completed, and not in the middle of a task. When you're in the middle of your current activity, don’t think about what’s coming up next week. Why would you want to freak yourself out?
- Don’t compare. Be careful when you get help, because the dream-shattering tendency to compare lurks nearby.
Get help.Daniel Gilbert, in his bookStumbling on Happiness, says that the best route to figuring out if our goals will actually make us happy is to talk to others who have done it. Also try to be lazy when you can be, and don't waste time reinventing the wheel.
Be uncomfortable.Judith Sills, in her bookThe Comfort Trap, or What If You’re Riding a Dead Horse?talks about how we might be terribly unhappy, but we’re comfortable so we don’t do anything about the unhappiness. Happiness is a risk, but the current situation, even if it’s painful, is safe. Which would you prefer; comfortably painful or uncomfortably blissful?
Don’t stop at the easy point.Wait a second and ask yourself "what more can I do?". It's important to push yourself just a little bit further than you think you can go. Commit beyond your initial goals. While you’re celebrating and taking it one step at a time, come up with one unexpected action you can take that’ll add energy, excitement and a bit of fear to your goal. That bit of fear will probably be the best motivator you’ve ever found. So don't give up, give in, or give out.
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