Got debt? I could be wrong, but if you’re revolving a big credit card balance I’m guessing at least some of it is holiday-related.
Sadly, holiday debt can hang on long after the gifts are forgotten.
So what’s the problem here? Procrastination. When it comes to Christmas, the longer you wait, the more you’ll spend and the more you spend the more likely you are to look to credit for the funds.
Everyone procrastinates a little, but some of us procrastinate about everything. Why do we do that? Internal conflict.
We feel overwhelmed
We put a lot of holiday pressure on ourselves. But then add to that the expectations of others and it can be overwhelming—even paralyzing. So we do nothing until it’s so late our only choice is to spend whatever it takes to squeak by.
We overestimate our time
From where we sit now, Christmas seems far away. We tell ourselves we have plenty of time—more than enough.
We overestimate our abilities
Procrastinators have an unrealistic sense of time. If we believe we can finish the task in say three hours, we put it off until only three hours remain. That leaves no margin, no room for error—no allowance for the law of life that says things rarely go as planned.
We have to do it perfectly
Experts tell us at the root of procrastination is perfectionism. Because we feel we have to do everything perfectly we do nothing rather than run the risk of failing.
We say we work better under pressure
Waiting until the last minute can provide quite an adrenalin rush. Procrastinators believe they cannot operate without that creative surge and so they sit back and wait for it to kick in.
The secret to overcoming procrastination is figuring out what’s behind the fear. Start by identifying the situations that have left you paralyzed by procrastination in the past.
As it relates to Christmas specifically, ask yourself: What price have I paid in past years for waiting until the last minute? Do I really want to pay that price again next year?
If the answer to the last question is yes, forget that I even brought it up. You don’t need to be thinking about the holidays yet.
If on the other hand, you are not willing to go into debt this year, here are simple steps to stop procrastinating.
Once you are in motion it’s easier to keep going.
Write it down
Reduce your plans to paper. Seeing things in black and white eliminates the unknown, which cause a lot of fear.
Work with the time you have
Make a simple timeline, and then break the project down into small, manageable parts. Even five minutes is enough time to get something done when you have a plan.
Set a series of small deadlines
As an example, give yourself a date one week from today to have your gift list written. Share your deadline with someone who will nudge you toward accountability.
Find the simpler way
Now, while you are still months away from experiencing the powerful emotions of the season, determine ways you can reasonably scale back and simplify.
Whether it’s picking up shells along the shore to adorn a picture frame or finding a bargain collectible at a tag sale during your fall travels, take full advantage of the opportunities.
Set reasonable limits both in time and money, and then stick to them.
For once, time is on your side. Here we are in January with eleven-twelfths of 2019 still ahead. Take a deep breath then determine that you’ll make the most of it!
Feeling hopeless, buried under debt? I can’t promise to fix your situation, but I am available to listen. Write to me. I may be able to point you in the right direction to find the help you need—help that could turn your life around. No cost, no obligation and must of all, no judging.
I’ve been where you are, I know that lost feeling of hopelessness. By the grace of God, I am not where I was and grateful I’m not yet where I yet will be.