Luckily, there are small tricks to finding motivation—and acting on it ASAP.
1. Admit that only you can help. Those who think their romantic partner will help them with a task are more likely to delay tackling it, says a study in Psychological Science. Whether it’s knowing the dishes need to get done or trying to get back to the gym, don’t fool yourself into thinking anyone else is going to do it for you.
2. Forgive yourself and move on. In a study of slow-starting students, those who forgave themselves after procrastinating (and performing poorly) on the first exam were less likely to delay studying for the second one. Just because you put it off till the last moment last time doesn’t mean you have to do that again.
3. Adjust your outlook. We tend to look at tasks in terms of the present and future—categories which also say “do this now” and “do this sometime later” to our brain, according to a study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But putting things into the future bucket allows your brain to neglect tasks because it thinks you have infinite time to complete them. Instead, divide your tasks into do today, do this week, and do this month. A looming deadline of the 31st will keep things from slipping through the cracks and give you a concrete completion date to hold yourself to.