What It Means If You Always Procrastinate

You sure have a lot on your to-do list: You need to exercise, tackle that new project at work, throw in some laundry, call your mom ... and yet, here you sit. Doing ... what are you doing, anyway? Ah, you're doing nothing. Because, why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? Procrastinators everywhere can relate to this feeling. But, have you ever thought about why you procrastinate?

There are psychological reasons behind the habit of leaving that to-do list undone, according to therapist and spiritual expert Audrey Hope. "To others, the procrastinator may look like someone who is unable to commit, unable to be on time, unable to keep their word, and often lazy and perhaps wishy-washy," Hope told The List in an interview. "But with deeper exploration, it is showing what has been left unhealed in one's life." For example, many procrastinators are actually afraid of failure, and their procrastination is based on "a fear that they will never succeed, so it is safer to never have to go to the finish line," Hope explained. "If one can keep the balls up in the air ... then they never need to land. So, one never has to face the truth of whether they can accomplish their goals or dreams."

People procrastinate because they're insecure

Habitual procrastination is a pretty clear indicator to Hope that a person is not secure in their own identity. This can manifest in a few different ways, she added. Procrastination can be "a way to hide — to make up excuses that you can live with, a way to lie to yourself so you never have to know the truth of who you are and what you are capable of," she explained. You can continue to see yourself as a great artist who just never got around to painting, if you don't have a messy canvas staring you in the face.

People also may procrastinate because they have low self-esteem, according to Hope. These individuals "suffer from feelings of not being good enough, and not worthy enough, or deserving of good things to happen," she explained. "Procrastination can keep this truth in the closet, where no one will ever know that you are wounded, and need outside validation." Once again, if you never act, you can't be judged — by yourself or others.

Whatever the cause, Hope said that putting things off is a sign that something is amiss. "Procrastination is like living in an energy of wavy dreamlike Jell-O," she said. "You never get to solid ground. It is a safety net, and it must be called out for what it is –- or time will pass, and there will be great regret of what could have been."