Forgiving Yourself… A Cure for Procrastination?

In a great piece of research that will interest writers (and others) throughout the world, a Carlton University psychologist discovered that self-forgiveness plays a key role in reducing procrastination. He followed over 130 undergraduates through an exam cycle and learned that there was a strong correlation between success at beating procrastination with how much a student forgave himself/herself for past transgressions. BPS Research Digest summarizes:

The key finding was that students who’d forgiven themselves for their initial bout of procrastination subsequently showed less negative affect in the intermediate period between exams and were less likely to procrastinate before the second round of exams. Crucially, self-forgiveness wasn’t related to performance in the first set of exams but it did predict better performance in the second set.

‘Forgiveness allows the individual to move past maladaptive behaviour and focus on the upcoming examination without the burden of past acts to hinder studying,’ the researchers said. ‘By realising that procrastination was a transgression against the self and letting go of negative affect associated with the transgression via self-forgiveness, the student is able to constructively approach studying for the next exam.’

Hat tip to Bob Sutton for the link.

A good resource for procrastinators is Rita Emmett’s website which includes her newsletter “The Anticrastination Tip Sheet.”

If you’ve been holding onto regrets and self-blame for self-defeating behavior in your past, there’s no better time to put the recriminations away. Focus on today and being the best person you can here and now through the rest of your life.