In my years of coaching people through various situations, I’ve learned that you generally procrastinate or don’t follow up on something for one of two reasons:

  1. You don’t want to do it (even if you think you do)
  2. You don’t know how to do it

In a career change, I see a lot of “don’t want to’s.” This typically shows up in a statement like, “I know I should apply for this job or this school but I never do it, and I don’t know why.” Typically, if that’s happened to you, there’s something going on under the surface, some clue your mind is giving you as to why this might not be the right step for you.

Mostly, however, I see a lot of “don’t know how’s.” How to make contacts in the new field, how to rewrite your resume, how to find a job you like without having to pay thousands of dollars for education, and how to make a major career change without sacrificing too much of your standard of living.

In order to stop procrastinating, you have to make a list of all of the things that are worrying you, and make a plan to address them. Not sure what you want to do for a career? Take some online tests or see a career advisor for guidance. Afraid of taking a pay cut? Start saving money now, and see a financial planner. Thinking you need to get a new degree? Attend one course or a seminar first to make sure it’s the right decision for you.

Stop stressing about not making progress. Find out which career will suit you best, and continue to take small steps in that direction. In the big picture, it will be better if you create a plan and you take a little longer, than if you push yourself and end up without your basic needs met. Stay committed to the process of career discovery, keep your end goal in sight, and remember to enjoy yourself along the way.

Determine why you’re procrastinating on whatever topic. Is it Don’t Want To? Then work on figuring out what you do want instead. Is it Don’t Know How? Ask for help. Either way, take a minor step forward and you will have stopped procrastinating.