I was sitting at Starbucks having a coaching session with one of my clients. I noticed him looking over my shoulder with a puzzled look on his face. So I turned to see what had caught his attention. A friend that I see at the gym all the time came over to say hello. We spoke for a brief moment and he said, “See ya at the gym tomorrow.” My client said, “I really need to start some kind of a fitness regimen.” To which I replied, “when do you plan to do that?” “I don’t know, that’s a good question.” “How about now,” I said. “Well, now is not really a good time,” he said. I didn’t give him a chance to go into all of the reasons I knew he was organizing in his mind. I quickly said, “When would now be a good time?” He looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights. “What do you mean,” he said. Without going into more detail, the story ended with me taking him to the gym and getting a membership that day. That was almost two months ago and he is still on track and feeling a lot better about himself and his life.
Tony Robbins gets the credit for this phrase. Quite by accident, I heard him say it a while ago, and have adopted it as a personal mantra.
When would now be a good time? I think it’s brilliant. I’ve been asked, “What exactly does that mean?” My interpretation is this. We will ALWAYS be able to come up with reasons why the current moment is not the ideal time to do something. The reasons might be completely understandable, real and valid, and they might be convenient, or bogus, just excuses. Either way, the whole point is to develop the habit of focusing on the goal rather than the obstacles. There will always be obstacles of some sort, internal and/or external, (I call them threshold guardians, but that’s another discussion). There will never be a so-called perfect time. Waiting for some imagined perfect time will pretty much always result in abandoned goals, squandered ideas, slow, or no, growth, and stagnation rather than improvement.
So, if you ever wrestle with procrastination, the Mañana Syndrome, (join the club), I would invite you to start experimenting with this mantra. “When would now be a good time?” And here’s an additional thought/mantra. As silly as it may sound, remind yourself that whatever you get done now, will be done. I know, ridiculously obvious. Yet I find that it works for myself and my clients, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed (who doesn’t), or you’re looking at a big and/or daunting challenge, or project.
And here is an absolute truth that you can use as an additional mantra. You can have reasons or results, not both. So play around with these mantras for a week or so. It’s worth the experiment. And if in the end you blow it off, the small investment in mental effort was more than worth it. So challenge yourself to commit to the experiment for a week. See if you don’t end up being, and feeling, more productive. And whatever you do, start the experiment now – don’t put it off!