Today’s topic is procrastination.

Recently I came across a quote attributed to Mark Twain and I felt that it was particularly appropriate for creatives doing new year planning.

Eat that frog. You’ll be happy you did.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning.  And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”

There are a lot of things a writer can be doing, other than actually writing.  So if your goal is to write every day, or write a certain number of words per day, that might be your frog.  For me, I have two frogs — go for a run or walk, write for an hour.

So the way I am trying to get myself to eat the frog is to give myself a reward for afterward.  It’s a simple thing mentally.  It works using brain science.  Instead of saying “I have to get my words written” as a cue, instead use a pairing technique and an affirmation.  “I want to write my words AND I want to read the latest Steven King thriller I picked up.”

It works because your brain has cravings.  It wants to check Twitter or your Amazon rankings, or going down a research rabbit trail–anything other than the hard work of butt in chair and writing the words.

So every time you do something on your checklist and then you reward yourself, (I want to write and I want to have a bowl of ice cream), your brain gets a hit of dopamine.

It’s a way to give yourself a chemical reward cycle to do the things that you have been procrastinating about.

Give it a try.  What would YOU pair your frog eating with?