by Lila Lazarus
I’ve been talking about writing a book someday for as long as I can remember. I always knew that one day I would get to it. But the moment I sat down to do it, I saw something really interesting on LinkedIn, or got sucked into an article on Huffington Post or just needed another cup of coffee. For me there were always eight days in a week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Someday. Drum roll please. I’m done talking. If you’re reading this now, then something really incredible happened. Someday, One Day is Today. That’s the title of my new book. How do you like it?
Here’s the point. (And it’s so simple I’m almost embarrassed to write it down.) If you want your life to be different than it is, if you want to get on with your life and get stuff done, if you want to really live the life you dream about— then you have to do what Nike has been telling us since 1988: Just do it. Why? Because some day, one day is today. That’s my new mantra.
It’s not just about writing a book. It’s about anything and everything in your life and your work. It means scheduling that next physical or signing up for that dance class or booking the trip to Machu Picchu or cleaning out the junk drawer.
I know. Talk is cheap. Words are easy. Action is not. Sometimes, just getting out of bed is a challenge. Especially in the cold of winter. It’s much easier to hit the snooze button and stay warm under the covers. But the longer we stay in bed, the less productive we are and the more we’re going to hate ourselves for pushing off goals, dreams and daily to-do lists. So today, the moment the alarm went off, I used the 5 words that are now changing my life: Someday, one day is today.
Seriously, I blurted it out like the words to a song in a Broadway musical. I darted out of bed and started my day. I was energized, excited and enthusiastic. Why? Because I made my decision that someday arrived. One thing is crystal clear to me now: This is it. This is our time to shine. This is the moment to get it done or take it off the list. If you want to get really serious about accomplishment, achievement, success no matter how you measure it, there’s no time like today. Stop dreaming and start doing.
It comes down to this: Stop reading useless emails, checking mindless social media and taking too many coffee breaks. Until now, whenever I needed to get a big ticket item off my to-do list I would find thousands of things to distract me. NO MORE. I’m not falling into the procrastination trap. I’m not going to keep choosing the comfortable and enjoyable over the high priority.
Don’t misunderstand. I’ve never been lazy. And no one has ever accused me of being low-energy. No, procrastination has nothing to do with laziness. When we procrastinate we’re still doing something…just not the thing we know we really, really should be doing. When we’re lazy, we’re idle, apathetic and the opposite of energy. Procrastination is actually choosing not to do what you really, really need to do to get what you want. How dumb is that? And all these years of procrastination can lead to a mountain-size portion of guilt and shame which only make me want to run back under the covers. When we finally get up, we’re so embarrassed about all the talking we’ve done for so long about doing something, that we’ve lost the motivation to actually do it. Then we’re depressed. Then we’re back to Instagram and coffee breaks.
So here it is, my surefire way to stop the someday, one days. Here’s how to turn your life around and it’s so easy. Just realize that you are one big procrastinating machine. It’s how we’re wired. The moment you accept it, you can stop. And start believing more in today than someday.
If you’re like me, you justify putting off the big ticket items, the really important and necessary goals that you have by complaining about your long (and far less important) to-do list. Really?! I’m going to miss out on my New York Times best-selling book because I need to pick up paper towels and tooth paste?! Not anymore. No more putting the lower priority in front of my big hairy goals.
Not living into your dreams, means not reaching your potential or achieving your career goals or ever living at your ideal weight. But once you recognize your weakness then it’s time to figure out why you’re sabotaging yourself so you can finally wake up and live the life of your dreams.
What have you been putting on your to-do list day after day after day after day after day after day…but never getting to? Which emails sit in your inbox because they require action that you haven’t taken the time to act on? If someone else calls you with an “urgent” request, do you throw away your goals to help them fulfill theirs? If just those questions are giving you that uncomfortable feeling then this message is for you: Someday, one day is Today.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. And do not go take another coffee break. If you’re waiting for the mood to strike you…consider this your strike. If you’re waiting for all circumstances to be perfect…get over it. Done is better than perfect and now’s the perfect moment to realize there are only 7 days in a week and today’s the best day ever. Don’t be a perfectionist, be a completionist.
Five Tips for Moving Forward
You’re In Control: Don’t tell yourself you “have to” do something. Remind yourself that you “get to” do it. You’re in control. You’re capable. And you are blessed with amazing talents. Use them.
Choose the most unpleasant task first. Once you have the tough one done, then you can focus on the more enjoyable tasks in front of you. And no matter how difficult the task may seem, break it up into small parts. You can take on big difficult jobs with smaller, easy steps.
Don’t save anything for tomorrow. Someday, one day is today. There is no tomorrow. If you don’t attack the item the moment it comes along, you’re going to have more on your plate later and you’ll end up right where you’ve been. Someday, one day is today. Keep saying it. It works.
Call yourself organized. I spent a lifetime calling myself a disorganized person. When all I really need to do was stop avoiding and start doing. You actually have to do what you usually avoid. Start with small accomplishments. Chunk it down into bits that can be achieved so you can feel the glory of a win. Small wins lead to big wins. Procrastination is a habit you can break. Start coming up with systems and lists and then make a schedule and follow through. And if you tell me you can’t get organized because you’re too ADD, believe me I get it. I’m so distracted it’s hard to finish brushing my teeth. But the more I practice creating systems and habits, the more ingrained they become. And the more I check something off my list, the more amazing I feel.
Get started. Fear of failure keeps a lot of people waking up on Someday. Often times we think the work is going to be so unpleasant we won’t even get started. But the bark is almost always worse than the bite. Once you start working on the project and get into a flow, it’s almost always easier than anticipated.
I think I actually fear success. I mean if I actually achieve all the things on my list, people will request more of me and I’ll be really busy and it will be even harder to procrastinate. And I’ll have to be really organized after years of calling myself “disorganized” as an excuse to keep me from success. That’s just plain crazy.
Finally, as a health reporter, I feel compelled to warn you that procrastination is bad for your health. The shame you feel and the pressure you put yourself under when you hold off on things that are important aren’t good for your heart or your soul. It leads to undue stress and anxiety. And if some sort of health condition or mental disorder like OCD or ADHD is keeping you from moving on with your life, even more reason to decide someday is today. Talk to a professional, get a good therapist, find the right medical advice or get a coach and move on. It may mean surrendering on some goals, but it could mean finding out someday has finally arrived.
OK, I’m finishing this blog now…and it feels amazing. Achieving is amazing. Now go finish something. Why? Because someday, one day is today.
Lila’s Health Report:
In order to stay healthy, you need to stay active and engaged. In addition to exercise, good nutrition and sleep, you also need a good dose of adventure. So each month I’ll share ways to boost the excitement and passion in your life with adventurous ways to create more wellness in your body, mind and your spirit.