We call it procrastination, a nasty habit often ending in defeat.
Did you ever notice how a day becomes a week? Then the week turns into months. Before long, several months pass and those things you meant to do never get finished. I’m guilty.But maybe—just maybe—this thing of procrastination goes much deeper than putting things off. After a while, our self-imposed delay causes a mindset shift where that thing, whatever that thing looks like, no longer matters as much. We grow complacent.
“I always meant to do…” or “I intended to finish…” How long does it take before putting something off changes from procrastinating to full blown complacency? I don’t mean to ignore the world around me. But life distracts me. Doing the most important things fade until what I planned that might impact the world, or at least my little piece of the world, drops into the background. So far removed from my conscious thoughts, it appears a speck wavering in the distance—a mirage I barely see any longer. My good intentions mean little when I don’t finish.
I’m already more than a month into 2014. At the beginning of each year, I assess the previous one and try to figure out how to finish what I didn’t complete last year. I quit resolving a long time ago—New Year’s resolutions belong in the trash before they find their way to written lists.
Goals, on the other hand, can be useful little tools if I make them very specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound. I can set a goal to lose weight—a worthy target. But if I lose two pounds, I’ve achieved my goal even if I gain it back the following week. A better goal is to set a realistic total weight loss within a specific timeframe. I want to lose 40 pounds by June with half of it gone by April. Now, the hard part is tracking my weight. Perhaps I need a secondary goal of exercising a certain number of times or hours each week.
Will goals take away my propensity toward procrastination? Not necessarily, but if I share them with someone who will hold me accountable, I make progress. Without the goal and accountability, I subconsciously accept the way things are and forget about what I determined to do.
Complacency takes up residence in my world.
Complacency breeds slavery and death—not necessarily to the physical body, but always in the soul. As we grow satisfied with status quo, accepting even bad circumstances, we lose passion for life. Things tend to spiral downward, but in our state of mind, we don’t really notice.
A frog placed in boiling water jumps to safety almost immediately. That same frog put in cold water with the heat gradually increasing sits still and does nothing until he becomes dinner. I believe complacency plays a huge part in physical homelessness. It also leads our hearts into a spirit of homelessness.
When Moses led Israel out of Egypt, they witnessed miraculous events before their departure and after. Three days after watching Pharaoh and his army drowned in the sea, they whined because they had no water. God provided for them. Less than two weeks later, they grumbled about their hunger, lamenting over leaving their slavery.
What? You’d rather be a slave having food provided than be free with the ability to obtain food for yourself? Yet complacency does exactly that to us mentally and emotionally.
To think, it can all start with procrastination. I put off changes or tasks until I simply don’t care anymore. Why do I the feel so utterly bound by circumstances? The choice always lies within my grasp. I choose to discipline myself—to accomplish tasks and goals even on cold winter nights when I’d rather crawl under a blanket and do nothing.
I’m rising up out of complacency and procrastination, less the progress I made toward a heart at home digresses.
What are your goals for this year? How do you plan to change your slice of the world around you?