It’s really easy to put our lives on hold thinking that we’ll do something “as soon as.”
As soon as I lose the weight I’ll buy new clothes.
As soon as I finish this project I’ll quit my job.
As soon as I have my life together I’ll start dating.
As soon as my kid leaves the house I’ll focus on what I really want.
Using the “as soon as” excuse is deceptive. It makes you think that you’re being productive or strategic because you have some sort of plan. But in reality it just allows you to put off something that is freaking you out, either by making it beyond your control (waiting forever for your boss to hire a new team member) or creating a situation where you self-sabotage (regaining those last few pounds right before you hit your goal).
“As soon as” allows you to get away with not achieving your goals while making it seem like you’re working on them. Tricky, indeed.
Looking deeper, both in my personal life and working with clients, I’ve found a few underlying reasons for the as soon as trap. By realizing why we’re doing something, we’re better able to move past what is holding us back.
Fear of being seen.
Fear of rejection.
Fear of making the wrong decision.
Fear of showing the world who you really are – and what you really want.
Often we use “as soon as” because we’re scared – what you want doesn’t yet feel “safe”. Instead of pushing your fear under the rug, embrace it and try to learn from it. What is your fear trying to tell you?
For a primer on fear – and how to use it for personal transformation – be sure to check out my free lecture with Julie Santiago.
A story from my life: I kept pushing back quitting my job “as soon as” they hired someone, we finished a project, got a new grant… it went on for six months. Finally I realized I was putting my future in someone else’s hands – and they had no idea what I wanted.
If your “as soon as” is external like mine was, you’re giving away control over your destiny to someone else. When we’re struggling and not sure what to do, all we want is for someone to make a decision for us. But, really, we can only make decisions for ourselves. By using an external “as soon as”, you’re making the unconscious decision to wait and feel powerless.
Perfectionism as procrastination
I feel like I can’t talk about the as soon as trap without discussing perfectionism: having to “get it right” first; that things must be perfectly arranged before publicly moving forward.
But in reality, no one is perfect. No one is ever “ready”. There is always more that could be done.
Leaving behind “as soon as” means having the courage to be imperfect, and realizing that it is the imperfection itself which allows us to evolve. If we waited until we were perfect to do anything, we’d be waiting… forever.
That internal dialogue that tells you that people will think there’s something wrong with you if you – or what you do – isn’t perfect is wrong. I get the most praise and admiration when I stop saying “as soon as” and just done it. Think: when did you try something without it being “perfect” and it turned out fine?
Not really wanting it
Sometimes, we use “as soon as” because we don’t really want what we’re putting off. If you don’t have the right motivation – if you don’t really WANT it – you will continue ego put off the internal and external work to accomplish it.
Odds are you have to invest in achieving something you’ve been putting off. What do you need to do it now? What monetary, time, knowledge, or skills do you need – and where can you ask for help? What do you have to do yourself versus ask someone else to do for you?
Escaping the “as soon as” trap
Doing something now instead of “as soon as” may alter what it looks like. That’s ok! Be open to the new possibilities. Create a new vision for yourself – one that’s achievable now instead of “as soon as”. You will feel so much better about yourself for taking a small step towards a dream now that waiting forever for “as soon as”.
What if I didn’t wait and did it now?
How does it make you feel? For me, it’s both expansive and freaking scary. It simultaneously opens up possibilities I didn’t see before and puts me face-to-face with my fear.
As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe