You mean there’s two parts to this? Sorry, yes. While I have been preparing for the Great ShakeOut this year, it seems that I have run across two main reasons why people don’t prepare for what we all KNOW will eventually happen. This is what I found. Part I.
PROCRASTINATION. That’s it. One word, so simple. Yet, it belies something that really keeps many people from doing what they know they need to do. Like cleaning out your garage, or writing your will. It’s not that you can’t, you simply don’t.
According to an article in MedMD (1), it is not our perfectionism that keeps us from doing stuff. We all know that person who claims, “Well, if I can’t do it right, I don’t want to do it at all.” Actually, perfectionists typically will do stuff they don’t like to do because, as perfectionists, they tend to worry more about the things they haven’t done and they don’t like things piling up in their to-do lists. For the rest of us mere imperfect mortals, according to this article, it is possibly a lack of confidence. Do I really know HOW to do this? What if I screw up?
Self control and evaluation of our actions separate us from our animal cousins, says Psychology Today (2). We make decisions, contemplate them, then act accordingly. Or not, if you procrastinate. It’s not even bad time management that slows procrastinators to glacial speed (although with global warming I will soon need a new metaphor…). Brand new planners will stay brand new, untouched in their desk drawers. In fact, they are usually time wasters and actively look for distractions, such as email, the equivalent of repeatedly yelling “Squirrel” to the dogs in the movie “UP.”
Unfortunately, procrastinators often have problems with their health and relationships, which both suffer because they keep avoiding their immediate attention. Then they lie to themselves and blame their situation on others. It’s a vicious cycle.
There is a silver lining for procrastinators. They CAN change. It just takes a willingness on the part of the person to recognize this destructive behavior and correct it. It’s not overnight, however, and may require a trained professional to assist them. So, if you are a procrastinator, evaluate what you are doing. If you know one, gently get them some help.
We all need to be prepared for emergencies, and we simply can’t wait until tomorrow to do it. Please, for everyone’s sake, start now. Buy a gym bag for your car. It’s a start.
For more tips on getting ready for emergencies, use the simple step-by-step method at prepare.fullerton.edu/GSOMsgs.htm.