Overcoming the 'procrastinator sprite' and finding motivation

As we approach the latest easing of restrictions here in the UK, I have noticed a lot of women on social media talking about wanting to change jobs, or wanting "to do something different...”.


In this instance, the conversation often goes: “I want to change, but I don’t know what I want to change to...” or “I want to change, but I’m too scared...”. Or even “I want to change, I know what I want to do, but can’t motivate myself to do anything about it.

Sympathetic posts come in reply, but none of them holds the writer accountable for not taking action. Nor do any offer to help identify what she really wants to do, or give her the support she needs to overcome her fears.

And so, she does nothing at all. She stays exactly the same. Stuck, despite being unhappy and knowing that something needs to change.

I have a similar problem getting back into running. In the last few weeks, there have been numerous 'memories' on my Facebook page, reminding me of my updates from last year, when I was running regularly. Yet, in the 12 months since, I haven’t been running at all. Initially, this was due to injury. But more recently, I’ve been going through the usual excuses: "It’s too dark, raining, cold..."

Except now the clocks have sprung forward and the evenings are much lighter. The rain is intermittent, and the forecasts have been pretty accurate. I could easily time the run around the rain, and the temperature has finally risen after a cold few months... So, why am I avoiding it? What's holding me back?

The 'procrastinator sprite'

You know, don’t you? It’s the same reason these women I follow on social media aren't taking any action to implement the changes they want - it’s the fault of the 'procrastinator sprite'. And the procrastinator sprite is a powerful and influential little beast.

It stops us from doing so many things, doesn’t it? I imagine it sitting on my shoulder, scoffing chocolate (the evidence is all around its mouth), saying with each mouthful: “You don’t want to do that… You want to find all sorts of other distractions. You don’t want to take action, because if you do, it’ll be scary, and the change will be painful and you won’t like it and you might fail…”. And so he goes on.

But actually, I do want to go out running. I really do. And these women really do want to “do something different” and they do want to “work out what different might look like."

What is the solution?

There’s no one-size-fits-all, certainly.

I personally have to dig very deep, speaking very loudly to myself to stop procrastinating about getting out that door to go running. And you may have to do the same thing to persuade yourself to just start. Just start looking for a new job or understanding what it means to you to “do something different”.

It takes strength, but all of us have it. It's simply getting past that pesky procrastinator sprite and finding your own internal voice. 

3 questions to ask yourself when you're lacking motivation

Ask yourself these 3 important questions to get yourself started. When you know the answers, you'll soon be on your way. Good luck.

  • What is causing you to want to change jobs/careers?
  • What is important to you in a job? (Workshop this. Every idea is valid).
  • How will you feel when you know you have found the right job for you? Visualise this. Write down the feelings. Be specific.

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High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP13
Written by Helen Foster, Career Coach
High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP13

Helen is a Career Transition & Transformational Coach. Her background is in broadcasting so the main people she works with are in the media industry, but she supports executive women who have an established career. These women are have lost their purpose, their mojo and motivation and really want to work out what next?

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