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Why We Postpone Personal Development

The risk of delay

If you delay on action, the urgency slips. That is why you take a band-aid off quickly or get somebody to count down from three rather than 50 before you jump. The more space between decision and action, the less likely you’ll do it.

I see this phenomenon with myself and colleagues involved in personal development: a client enthusiastically inquires, you set up a first session to connect, and then an email comes to postpone.

Here is why this happens

Reaching out looking for help starts to soothe what ever it is that is bothering you. It feels like real action and that you have taken steps forward. But if you postpone that call, you’re not any further/farther ahead. In fact, you’re behind because you’ve just unknowingly settled for more time in your rut.

Think of it like wanting to start running. You go out and buy the gear, the shoes and the biggest, latest watch/pedometer.  In the morning after you get all decked out, your shoes tied and the watch set, you then fall asleep on the couch. All of the urgency and momentum  you had buying the equipment is now lost and fading into the cushions.


What you won’t delay on


Personal development might not be as pressing or in your face as a broken down car or a tooth ache, but it is much more essential to a life well lived. When these daily issues pop up, they surprise us, inconvenience us and we act. But the wanting of change or personal development has been a long slow boil, and let’s face it: “you’re used to being unsatisfied.” So another day, week or month is minute in the large scheme of miserable.

But the car and the tooth ache, we take care of instantly.

If you had to personally fix your car every week, chances are the health of the engine would slip and the exterior would be dirtier with a few more dings and nicks. But since all you have to do is pay somebody, you keep it looking and running like new. The same thing applies to your tooth ache. If you had to pull it out yourself, you might live longer with that decaying tooth and it’s associated pain.  Other than money, they require no effort on your part.

The support systems versus the work

The catch with personal development is that not only being vital to your quality of life, it also requires work on your part.

Deciding to do personal development and actually doing it are two very separate things and it is important that you don’t confuse them. Making an appointment and then canceling, buying a new book but never reading it and/or talking a lot of talk about what you want to do but never doing it is nothing but theater.

If you are serious, then the logistics and support systems of making your personal development happen need to be seen as just that; logistics and support. The scheduling, the time, the effort, the money are all setting you up to start.

But starting requires you showing up and doing the work.

A personal call to action


I would like to leave you with a challenge to pick a goal in personal development, create the atmosphere to make it happen and then DO IT. The excuses that will try to get in your way need to be ignored and the time has come to move forward and look that fear directly in the eye. If you start, that is one step closer to where you want to be.

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About Craig Morton

Craig Morton is a Life Coach at Ignite Change. He practices Ashtanga yoga and is in the process of moving to Laos, SE Asia.