Are you putting off doing something that’s been nagging at you for a long time? Here’s the thing, it might keep nagging at you until you take action. And when you finally do, there’s a good chance you’ll feel grateful, if for no other reason than the nagging will have stopped.
We all put things off. We make excuses, or we get too busy with the events of life. Maybe we’re concerned that the outcome might not live up to our expectations. We want perfection on the first try, and we let that stop us from trying in the first place.
But if you feel called to do something or an urge to accomplish a task that’s been on your to-do list for a while, there is no time like the present to get started.
Research shows that procrastination can be harmful. A March 2023 report published by the National Library of Medicine notes that whether it’s an occasional behavior or a chronic tendency, procrastination is a form of self-regulation failure that’s linked to negative outcomes.
The harmful results of procrastination are not limited to those involving productivity, the report says. Research over the past two decades indicates that procrastination can have wide-ranging and negative consequences for health and well-being, particularly when it becomes a chronic behavioral pattern.
There are different levels of procrastination of course. For example, It’s one thing to put off doing a chore like taking out the trash. It’s another to delay taking a step toward realizing a dream or achieving a goal you’ve had for years.
What’s especially unfortunate about putting off achieving our goals or realizing our dreams is that we are robbing ourselves of the gratitude and sense of accomplishment we feel when we do things we’ve been pondering for a long time.
There’s another downside to delaying our actions. What we do can impact someone else in a positive way, or even affect many people through a ripple effect.
I put off starting a blog for years before I finally got around to it earlier this year. And the gratitude I feel from being able to provide some positivity to people who need it is well worth the effort.
What really pushed me to start sharing these stories was the realization that time is finite. Life is short. If not now, when? In my case, the impetus for starting this blog was a serious health issue. But we shouldn’t need a major scare or life change to push us into action.
Sometimes our decision to follow a pursuit can influence others to do the same.
For example, a reader of this blog mentioned that one of the posts encouraged her to finally do something she had been thinking about for a long time: retire and spend more time doing things that are truly important to her. This was especially gratifying to hear, and I hope her decision brings her gratitude and joy.
Sometimes the things we really want to do are not front and center in our minds, because we’re so wrapped up in day-to-day concerns. I’ve put together a few ideas to consider below. Some are relatively mundane, others life changing.
In any case, I hope this list helps trigger something to get you started on an exciting journey, and helps you feel grateful for taking that first step.
- Start a business
- Write a book
- Climb a mountain
- Compose a song
- Make a quilt
- Change careers
- Get married
- Take up a new hobby
- Learn to swim
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Coach a sports team
- Start a YouTube channel
- Make a spiritual pilgrimage
- Learn to play a musical instrument
- Act in a play
- Adopt a pet from an animal shelter
- Build a treehouse
- Earn a new or advanced degree
- Run for public office
- Learn a new language
- Buy and ride a bike
- Start a blog
I had to get that last one in. A new initiative doesn’t have to be a major undertaking. It can be something as simple as calling a relative or an old friend you haven’t contacted in a long time.
If there’s something you really want to do, don’t wait. Don’t give in to procrastination. Take a chance. Start now, because there’s no time like the present. You’ll be grateful you did.
“You may delay, but time will not.”—Benjamin Franklin