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I thought I would break.

I felt overwhelmed. Over my head. I thought the pressure to deliver on my own promises would engulf me.

I don’t even remember what I was working on at the time. All I wanted to do was curl up in bed until everyone forgot about me and what I said I’d do. Which would never work, because the only person who was actually tapping her foot and demanding more results was me.

That night, I attended a party where we were all instructed to write notes of encouragement to our future selves. The party organizer would return our letters in six months time.

Frankly, it all felt a little hokey to me, but I played along.

Here’s what I wrote:

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You’re stuck. Again.

You’ve been trying to make yourself work on that book/your fitness/decluttering the house for what seems like ever, but the harder you try the harder it is to resist the siren call of Facebook or Twitter. Before you know it, you’ve run out of time — and steam.

Funny, isn’t it, how much work it is NOT to do the work we’re resisting? It’s exhausting. If you had just put all that time and energy into your goals, imagine where you would be by now.

But you know that. It’s not as though you don’t beat yourself up about your procrastinating ways every day. How’s that working for you?

Don’t feel bad. We all do it.

Why do we resist? Because there is something we fear about the task at hand.

It could be as simple as a fear of the aches and pains of starting to exercise or the discomfort of doing a chore we dislike. It could be as obvious as a fear of failure. Or it could go deeper than that, like a fear of success.

Well, good news: I have battled procrastination all my life and in the process, I picked up a few tricks.

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What I was trying to do should have been simple.

I was attempting to hold a small stack of books with my left arm, where my hand cupped one edge and my elbow cradled the other. But I couldn’t do it.

I had noticed my wrist getting weaker for a couple of years. And thanks to some back pain issues, it had become clear my office set-up was probably the source of my problem.

But I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t see a doctor. I didn’t look for a new desk. I didn’t even take the simple step of ordering a wrist brace online.

The questions is: why did I wait until I had nearly debilitating pain before I decided to act?

The answer might surprise you.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll share with you the solution I found that almost instantly allowed my wrist to start healing. I can now hold that stack of books with my left arm and write for hours on end without issue. It’s not rocket science, but I’m rather proud of what I came up with (better late than never).

But today, I want to explore this idea of waiting until it hurts. Because it’s not just me that does this. I see how this strange decision-making process trips up my clients and my friends too.

As I recently told people on Facebook, if you want to make a profound change in your life, the fastest way to do it is to become dissatisfied with the way you’re currently thinking. But first, you have to understand your thinking.