Perhaps you can relate to Tim Urban, the master procrastinator.
ABC of procrastination
How would you conceptualize procrastination according to the ABCDE model?
A: Thesis is due in two years
C: Procrastinate until the last minute
Remember, it is not A that causes C, but B. So what might a master procrastinator be telling himself?
I must feel like doing it
It should be easier
I can’t stand the discomfort
I am an incompetent person unless there is pressure
Perhaps it is not so much about the pleasure or ease, but more about the anxiety pertaining to perfection. This person could be saying things like
I must get it perfectly right
Failure is awful
I can’t bear failure
I am an absolute failure so what is the use in trying
Now try replacing the thoughts:
I would really prefer to feel like doing it, but I don’t have to feel like it to actually do it
I would really like this to be easy and pleasant, but it’s okay if it is not
This task is uncomfortable, but I can stand it
I am human and allowed to make mistakes. I am also allowed to change and choose to NOT procrastinate. Just because I don’t feel like it doesn’t mean that I am incompetent.
I would like to get it right, but it doens’t have to be perfect
Making mistakes are bad, but realistically it is not the end of the world
Although it would be hard, I can handle it if I made a mistake
Making a mistake does not make me a complete failure
Should you be reading this article in the midst of one of your procrastination breaks, consider the important-urgent principle to guide your time management:
I dare you to try something new and actually DO something that you don’t FEEL like. Do feel free to contact me and arrange a session if you find it difficult to manage the crazy monkey! Do it now – don’t procrastinate.
Avoidance and unhelpful beliefs are the two primary factors that maintain fear. Thus the effective treatment for anxiety requires that a) you confront those beliefs and b) face those fears. Exposure therapy is a technique which challenges both aspects.
Even if you don’t believe that life is a musical, Maria taught the Von Trapp children a principle that also applies to psychology: ABC, do re mi, CBT!
So what are the ABC’s of therapy (specifically in CBT/REBT)?
A: Activating event
This is the trigger is you like. It can be an internal or external stimulus e.g. something happening, an unwelcome thought, or a bodily sensation.
I would like to call these IRRATIONAL beliefs, because they tend to create all kinds of unhelpful consequences at C.
These consequences refer to the things you do and don’t do in response to the irrational beliefs. It can be behavioural (e.g. withdraw, avoid, fight), relational (e.g. strain on specific relationship), emotional (e.g. anxiety, depression, anger), or physiological (e.g. heart rate, breathing, trembling).
It is important to note that it is not A that causes C, rather it is B that causes C. We cannot always wave a magic wand and make A magically disappear. But what therapy can do is help you to change how you THINK about it.
For more information, do continue reading or book an appointment.
In the meantime, enjoy Maria and the Von Trapp children’s song! Use it as inspiration to practice ABC, do re mi, CBT.
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