If you missed my previous re:MIND blog, check it out: Jenn’s reMIND Blog #1.
If I were to describe my relationship status with Self-Control, I would say “it’s complicated.”.
Some days, Self-Control and I are great friends. We braid each other’s hair and skip through fields of flowers and sunshine surrounded by puppies and kittens. Other days, Self-Control is a terrible friend because I wake up at 5am on the living room floor, wondering why I feel like I partied like a rock star. Only in my case, “party like a rockstar” really means “spent 12 hours on my couch binge watching Murder She Wrote while playing video games, eating an entire package of oreos, crappy take-out, and soda, then passing out before making it to my actual bed.” Most days, though, it’s a constant battle between getting things done that need to get done (like work, clean the house, be a productive member of society, feed the family something healthy) and doing what I really want to do (i.e. play video games and eat cookies). But I jump ahead. First, I must tell you how I got here…
Learning About Non-Cognitive Skills…
So, as I discussed in my previous blog, I’ve been working on a new course called re:MIND. A key component of re:MIND focuses on strengthing 7 non-cognitive skills: Perseverance, Confidence, Resilience, Self-Advocacy, Emotional Intelligence, Growth Mindset, and, my buddy, Self-Control. Part of Chapter 3: Problem Saturated Stories discusses each of the skills and includes questions for each category to ask yourself to help you identify sneaky problems. I asked myself the questions and the Self-Control ones…well…highlighted some issues for me.
When I am battling between future goals and immediate gratification, does immediate gratification most often win? — Um, yes, pretty much 75% of the time I will choose the shiney new object every time…
Does my mood determine whether or not I get things done? — Not so much, so that’s a win.
Is procrastination something I often struggle with? — hahahahahaha…only in the sense that Procrastination is my favorite.
If something fun comes up, do I immediately give up on my plan or schedule? — Wait, there are people who can say NO to FUN??? *sigh*
Ok, so I wasn’t exactly surprised. Deep down I knew that my relationship with Self-Control needed some work. However, I had never really associated my tendency towards Procrastination to be part of self-control. Interesting…
I Am Not a Procrastinator. I Sometimes Let Procrastination Take Control…
Since procrastination is my main issue when it comes to self-control, I started thinking on it. For most of my life I’ve thought that procrastination was a part of me. Like, it was just who I am. I am a person who procrastinates and since in my mind it was part of my DNA sequencing, the best I could do was try to work around it. As I’ve been working on re:MIND, I’m learning that maybe that is not the case. Maybe I’ve just convinced myself that is who I am, and then I just live down to that expectation (or personal narrative) by continuing to procrastinate things.
Sample Conversation between me and Procrastination:
Me: I should do this thing I need to do now so that I am done with it, won’t worry about it and can enjoy my life.
Procrastination: Meh, you love waiting until the last minute and then frantically trying to complete a task. You can sort of enjoy your life while this necessary task looms in the back of your mind, causing you stress, and then just do it at the last minute, hoping that nothing will go wrong…
It’s not like being a procrastinator has brought me fortune and glory. I mean, I don’t suck at life or anything, but it certainly causes me a lot of stress that I probably don’t need. It’s not really serving me in the best manner. I wonder if my stress nightmares would go away if I stopped procrastinating….
So Where Do I Go With This?
It’s time to change the narrative. By identifying procrastination as a problem and understanding that it is a choice and forcing myself to be consciously aware of it, I can start treating it like any other problem. Meaning, I can solve it. Each day, I can decide not to procrastinate something, see how that feels, and keep working on it. It doesn’t have to be part of my DNA (I mean, it’s obviously not because I don’t think DNA works that way). Eventually, I can be a person who only occasionally struggles with procrastination, which will make my relationship with Self-Control stronger and more beneficial to me. Of course, it’s not as easy as just deciding to do it. I wish! But that is the first step, which means I can take the next step and keep moving forward with the growing and stuff.
Coming soon to my re:MIND blog: I learn and apply the rest of the steps in the re:MIND process to improve my self-control skills.
Do you struggle with self-control or procrastination? What are some methods that you use to help avoid procrastination or have better self-control? Let me know in the comments section!
Authors Note: Several months ago, I started working with Kristin Taylor on a new course for college freshmen, reMIND, that focuses on empowering personal narratives, growth mindset, and strengthening a specific set of non-cognitive abilities. The goal of the course is to help prepare students to navigate the college environment, especially when faced with difficult obstacles on their path to graduation. The course is so much more than that short description provides, and as I’ve been working on it, I’ve learned more than I ever expected. And so I thought I would start blogging about my experience working on this course and the things I’m learning.