5 habits holding you back -- and how to change them
* by FITNESS Magazine, on Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:21am PDT
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By: Norine Dworkin-McDaniel
I was meeting my friend Linda at our favorite Brooklyn cafe to discuss a project. "Six, sharp. I'll see you then," I promised. And by 6:15 p.m., there sat Linda, with a cool margarita in front of her and steam coming out of her ears. I breezed in at 6:30, full of apologies and excuses. But it was no use: I was late -- again -- and she was furious. She tartly informed me that if I kept her waiting once more, I'd be kicked ...view middle of the document...
"Procrastinators tend to be very concerned about what other people think of them," says Joseph Ferrari, PhD, a professor of psychology at DePaul University in Chicago. "If you worry that you will never perform as well as you have in the past, fear of failure may be halting your progress." Putting off work provides a ready-made excuse: Instead of admitting failure, you can always blame your busy schedule and overbooked calendar. "That way, you can tell yourself the project would have been successful if only you'd had more time," Ferrari explains.
The fix: Play the worst-case-scenario game. The next time your grasp on deadlines starts to slip -- something even the worst procrastinator can recognize -- take a moment to look inward for the source of your foot dragging. Ask yourself what's the absolute worst that could happen. Then spin the consequences out to their most ludicrous degree: Would your family and friends disown you? Would you end up starving and homeless? Would the cat die? Once you've realized things aren't so awful, you can get past the anxiety and focus on the work, says Ferrari.
Related: No More Excuses: 18 Ways to Stick to Your Goals
Fatal Flaw #2: You shop yourself into bankruptcy.
You deserve to have nice things -- but unfortunately treating yourself can lead to lively early-morning chats with bill collectors and a colorful credit report.
The ugly truth: "Impulse shopping is another way to mask negative feelings," explains Dana Lightman, PhD, a behavioral psychologist in Philadelphia. So, like emotional eaters who gorge on ice cream when they're down, chronic spenders try to numb feelings of boredom, depression, or inadequacy by filling up on stuff. With every shiny new purchase, splurge-aholics tell themselves: Well, okay, so I didn't solve that nagging problem today, but at least I cleaned out the shoe department at Nordstrom. Some people find it easier to decorate their lives in an effort to create the appearance, rather than the substance, of success. Mind you, there's nothing wrong with a little retail therapy, but if you're sinking into debt, regularly paying your bills late, and not achieving your financial goals, then it's a problem you literally can't afford.
The fix: Know yourself as well as you know what you own. Carol Leslie, an executive coach in Cleveland, suggests you use a trusty dieters' trick to keep track of the things you normally do without thinking -- like polish off a quart of ice cream. Or, in this case, shop. Attach a small, thin notebook around your wallet with a rubber band so that it can serve as a reminder to write down your feelings whenever you're tempted to mindlessly reach for plastic. Pretty soon you'll begin to recognize what sets you off before you click "Buy Now!" -- and learn to find healthy distractions instead. "Go for a run, talk to a friend, see a movie, do anything that will get you out of a shopping mode," says Leslie.
Related: 20 Ways to Shop Smarter, Cook Faster, and Eat...