Present Bias (Procrastination)
Here is a little taste of the bitter truth-
Present Bias (Procrastination) is very much a part of our lives.
Every year you make the same new years resolution. You buy the vegetables, and you commit to an exercise routine. Then you skip workouts because you are tired, you sleep in a little later, you choose the cheeseburger, you cheat a little more, the rewards become more frequent. You tell yourself “I’ll start again Monday”. Before you know it, it is that time again to make another new years resolution, and it’s the same damn one.
“Your will succumbs to a death by a thousand cuts.”-David McRaney
You throw money at your problems because when you fail you’ve got something to blame. “That (fill in popular diet, exercise equipment, or fad routine) doesn’t work” you tell yourself. Just another lie to spare yourself from the harsh reality of failure. Those who succeed “must have cheated” is just another lie fabricated by the complexities of self preservation. Its not that you lack willpower or drive, but that you suck at the mental chess game.
This is a You vs You scenario, the angel vs the demon, the should vs the want. Unfortunately, the primal, child-like you lives in the moment. You take the pleasures of today because “I’ll do it tomorrow”, but you suck at predicting the future (with all of it’s endless possibilities). Realize that future you is just as susceptible to the comforts of today. Future you is untrustworthy. Instead, you must realize that you live in the now and change requires action. Instead you sit on your couch watching endless amounts of thoughtless television, voyeuristically browse facebook, wasted minutes become hours, days and months. Just like Pink Floyds Time-
“And then the one day you find
Ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run
You missed the starting gun”
The easy way out is to give into your desires, the feel good sensations. It takes an enormous amount of effort to not give in. To choose the tasteless food over the cake, to choose to wake up early instead of sleep in, to shut the tv and phone off and read a damn book. You have the choice right now to take action, future you will likely buckle under the pressure. If you want something, go and get it. And this extends far beyond that of your fitness goals. This is your career, your money, your relationships, your hobbies, this is your life. It all requires work, get off your ass and get going on it. Don’t stop.
Develop strategies to counter the now you and his/her plans to sabotage your progress. It is a constant chess game that requires you to out-maneuver yourself. Put more effort into out-witting yourself than creating false promises, deadlines, and to do lists.
So when you look at the picture above, don’t be quick to blame your failures on some fabricated disadvantage while all of those passing you by have “cheated” or “get to workout all day”. This is not genetics, steroids, or some secret trick, this is hard work, mental tactics and strategy.
From here you have two choices:
1) Take the bull by its horns. Realize that anything that you want is yours for the taking but it just takes commitment, dedication, and patience. Tricking yourself into action requires you to move today, not tomorrow.
2) Continue to give into your impulses, continue to be a victim (poor me), and rely on the hope that you will get around to it tomorrow (here’s a prediction: you wont). Your failure is you being duped by yourself. A continual cycle of human delusion.