What are you trying to change about yourself? What are you trying to accomplish?
Maybe you've "arrived" and think you have a perfect blend of skills and talents. Elon Musk, you can stop reading this. The rest of us usually need a little work.
Real change happens within the inches and hours of life, not when we look out miles and months ahead. They occur in close proximity. Too often, we use long-term goals as a way to avoid changing today (a.k.a., as an excuse not to change). You can only change what is happening right now, not what happens next week.
I've been learning this as I've tried to lose weight. I've been "testing" the service Retrofit for a few months and biking on a Peloton, using myself as a Guinea pig. I'll have a full report soon, but the one major lesson I've learned lately is that you have to think about the here and now. It's easy to set goals, it's harder to live out those goals--to practice consistency in daily behavior as a way to reach a goal.
As part of my diet, I've had to train myself to think in the moment. That piece of chocolate cake has an exact number of calories I will consume right now that will seriously impact my weight tomorrow and the next day. It helps me reach a weight goal or it won't. I want to be the type of person who decides not to have that cake today and not just talk about it as a concept. A long-term goal to lose weight by March (or October or next year) might be fine, but doesn't help me with that cake.
That's why it's so important to have daily goals. It's why I step on the scale every morning, not just a few times in a week. When I see my weight each day, it serves as a reminder about what I'm trying to accomplish overall, but it gives me the data I need to act correctly. It's more than an idea; it's an actual number.
This has been an interesting realization, and one that's hard to put into practice. We tend to want to live within the loose confines of long-term goals. We don't like to live within the strict governance of daily goals. Yet, it's the long-term goals that slip away so easily. The guy on the sales team who thinks too much about meeting monthly goals is also lounging around too much in the break room. The marketing rep who knows she has to arrange a series of social media campaigns next month doesn't bother doing any prep now--hey, it's next month! If we start to view the goals of "next month" as impacted greatly by what we do each day, we will achieve more.
Procrastination is an act of letting our daily goals get obscured by the long-term goals because that's the easier way to live. We'll get to it someday. (There's some research that suggests procrastination might be a good thing, mostly because it forces us to think more creatively, but it still destroys daily productivity and kills any daily progress.) We don't realize the forest and the trees are one in the same. What's sitting right in front of us is harder to deal with than what is off in the distance.
My challenge is to live in the moment of your own productivity. What are you doing right now to achieve greater success and to complete tasks? What should you be doing now? It's too easy to say that Herculean project doesn't need our attention because we have time (and want to avoid the stress). It's better to chip away on a daily basis, because "now" is when you can deal with problems and produce your best work. Now is when you can change a bad habit or address a glaring weakness. Tomorrow, you might not have the chance.
Not to get religious or spiritual on you, but there's a reason the Bible has a verse about worrying--that you should not worry about tomorrow. You can't control what happens in the future. You can only control today.
What change can you make after reading this? Let me know.