Willpower Tips Day 19 of 21. My Procrastination Experiment. (Cognitive Psychology)

While I’ve been writing this series of Willpower tips, I’ve been paying attention to the thoughts that contribute to when I end up doing lower priority tasks when I could be doing higher priority tasks.

I discovered that 2 thoughts distortions seem to account for most the the incidents.

Thought Distortion 1.

“I’ve got so much to do tomorrow/today. I’ve got to do A and B and C and D and E and F.”

This thought distortion occurs fairly regularly for me on a Sunday night. Thanks, Mind!

Consequence of the Thought Distortion.

Feelings of dread about the end of the weekend.

Sample Alternative Balanced Thought

“Once I’ve accounted for my appointments, prepping for my appointments, returning emails and phone calls, and the breaks I need so that I don’t get overaroused, there are only around 2 hours left in the work day. What I can realistically complete in that 2 hours is X.”

Consequence of Balancing Thoughts

Feeling of dread goes away. Poof!

Thought Distortion 2.

“I worked hard on that important task yesterday, I can slack off today.”

Consequence of the Thought Distortion

Slacking off without feeling too guilty.

Sample Alternative Balanced Thought

“I know this cognitive distortion. It’s the one ‘I’ve made some progress with my goal, so it’s ok if I act in a way that’s inconsistent with it.’ I’m going to remind myself of the reasons my goal is important to me.”

Consequence of Balancing the Thought

Slacking off seems less appealing.


The above is an example of how to use a combination of mindful awareness of your thoughts and cognitive psychology. This approach doesn’t completely eliminate goal-inconsistent behavior for me but it does make a significant difference, and helps me feel much better.