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The Strength to Start

Hello. My name is Elena, and I am a serial procrastinator.

My whole life, I always thought I put things off because I just wasn’t in the mood to do them. Have a paper to write? Eh, I’m too tired right now. A presentation to prepare for? Nah, I’m just not feeling it right now. But recently, I figured out that procrastination is more than just slacking off when I should be working on school. Do you ever tell yourself you’ll work on something when you have free time, and then when that free time comes, you still don’t do it? If that sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone.

person using laptop computer beside aloe vera
Corrine Kutz/Unsplash

I’ve come to realize that I don’t procrastinate because I’m lazy—I procrastinate because I’m afraid to try. More specifically, I’m afraid to try and fail. After all, you can’t fail at something if you never do anything! To be completely honest, even beginning an article is often difficult for me because I’m worried I won’t have the skill to transfer my thoughts into words.  

We often hear the expression “Finish strong” meant to motivate those who are prone to burning out. However, some of us, like myself, need the courage to begin strong. It can be scary to start something new—be it a paper, a painting or a writing piece. Maybe you’re certain you are going to fail, and procrastinating is a way of delaying what you perceive as inevitable. Maybe you don’t think you have the skill to do what you need to get done.

Regardless of your reason for procrastinating, it is crucial that you recognize that your negative thoughts are just that—thoughts. Even though it might seem like it, you don’t have to believe that voice in your head that’s saying you won’t succeed. You don’t have to be a slave to thoughts of failure. Some of us need a little extra strength to start, but that doesn’t make us any lesser than the next person. Being afraid to start something isn’t a sign you’re going to fail, it’s just negative and anxious thoughts obscuring your potential.

So, start that paper you’ve been putting off for days. Practice that presentation you’ve been afraid to rehearse. Start writing that book. Because, once you begin, you’ve already conquered the hardest part of any task.     

[Images courtesy of Unsplash]

Elena is a friendly senior at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is currently majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Spanish. When she's not in class or napping, you can catch Elena working out at the gym, binge-watching medical dramas, or indulging her caffeine addiction at a local coffee shop.
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