“Mind the Gap” and your Learning English Procrastination

“Sooner or later I’m going to have to learn English”…
“I’ll do it next year,” “I’ll never learn,” ”What if I fail”?

Why do we do some things immediately and leave others on our to do list to wreak havoc with our state of mind creating negative self and social esteem instead of just doing them?

Procrastination from the Latin procrastinatus, literally means “forward tomorrow.”

The purposive delay in starting or completing a task, often to the point of creating an emotional unease that becomes part of ourselves. Procrastination, the decision not to act on something we need to do is a learned habit and has a number of causes and consequences that can luckily be broken says Professor of Psychology at DePaul University and author of the book Still Procrastinating? The No Regrets Guide to Getting it Done.

Chronic procrastination is NOT, as we like to tell ourselves, a question of poor time management, “I don’t have time,” but about self-sabotage that prevents us from reaching our full potential. “We avoid things that people can verify and see and therefore evaluate us on” explains Ferrari “if you never finish a task, you can never be judged or evaluated on how well you did” We are overly concerned about being judged and like to avoid even self-judgement. We don’t want to come across to others or ourselves as incompetent or unskilled and so most of us feel that “projecting an image of lack of effort is better than one of lack of ability” as lack of ability says you tried and failed. Maybe you’re not getting down to learning English because you think you’ll fail, maybe you’re linking your success in learning and speaking English to a representation of your success in general, as a representation of yourself.

So although you may enjoy washing the dishes and do it as soon as you have to, or even redecorate the living room. Signing up for that English course and actually learning English for personal success keep getting put on the back burner- avoidance-for fear of being judged causing self-sabotage.

But, think where you’d be if you would have started learning English 2 years ago when you first thought about it instead of procrastinating. “Stop waiting for that perfect opportunity or time to act (it doesn’t exist)” stop standing still and make the positive changes that will help you meet your needs and achieve your goals and leave self-sabotage to someone else.

You’re not alone, 20% of the population are avoidant procrastinators but the good news is, you can change.

Here are four strategies to consider:

Understand why

There is often a deep-seated reason for not acting, maybe we think we don’t have time, maybe we just don’t think we can ever learn English, that we are incapable, sometimes we’re just afraid of the challenge and the results. Take a deep breath and check with yourself the real reason you are procrastinating maybe the answer will surprise you.

One step at a time

It’s true that learning a language is a long term process and the idea can be quite intimidating, you don’t necessary see immediate results. But you’re making it even more challenging than it really is. So instead of looking at it as an endless torturous road set small steps and set goals and a timeline. Step one: two hours of English course with a trainer a week for 3 months. step two: reward yourself with a 4-day holiday to London. Step 3: Pair an hour per week with a language coach with a free online course 15 minutes a day for a month…Half the battle is getting started.

Just do it

Close the gap between your intention and actually doing it. Nike hit the nail on the head, “just do it” the more you think about them, the more daunting things becomes. Even the small things start to weigh on you. Just schedule a course and do it. Make the commitment, jump in! Who cares who judges you, who cares if it’s not perfect, very few of us can do anything perfectly anyway.

Mind the gap

(Not just on your reward trip to London.) Close the space between wanting to get on that English train and getting on that English train.

maka language consulting

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