Roots of Procrastination

Why do we procrastinate? There are a few different motivating factors involved in procrastination, but today let's look at procrastination that comes out of an assumption of contingent worth. The idea of contingent worth is the belief that one's value as a person is dependent on one's performance or achievement.

When someone's sense of self-worth is dependent on doing a good job on a project, that's a lot of pressure! Such a high-stakes situation can create the urge to turn away, to avoid. Avoidance can save us from feeling uncomfortable feelings for a short period of time, but eventually we end up in an even more stressful situation; the original setup of contingent self-worth is still there, and now with less time available to work on our project, there's more time pressure and less likelihood that the job will be able to be completed to a high standard. 

As you can imagine, this can be a self-perpetuating cycle, as higher anxiety leads to more avoidance and so on. Is there a way to opt out of this cycle? One way to skip this process is to move from a worldview of contingent self-worth to inherent self-worth. Building an understanding of one's own worthiness that is built-in, unable to be threatened by minor mistakes or critical feedback, will reduce the sense of threat that leads to avoidance and procrastination. This can be easier said than done, however! In deconstructing and rebuilding parts and pieces of our belief systems, it can be enormously helpful to have a professional ally. It's a challenging task, and seeking the support of a counselor can aid in your success. Check out our clinicians to find someone who is a good fit for you! 

Stacy Sheridan