It is that time of the year again, a time for examining our lives, deciding what we want to change, and setting goals.

However, if you are anything like me, it might also be a time for remembering all those idealistic past New Years’ goals that never quite were met.

So, unless I resolve to gain weight, keep a messy house and start smoking, I think I will take a realistic approach this year and not set myself up for failure.

There is, however, one habit of mine that merits some work, and that is the habit of procrastination. For example, for several days I put off the writing of this article because I had not decided on a topic.

Twenty-four hours before my deadline, I finally decided to put some thoughts together on this insidious habit.

Is procrastination a problem for anyone besides me? Sources at Psychology Today report that 20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks and deliberately look for distractions.

Procrastination causes undue stress and anxiety and contributes to insomnia. As my husband will attest, it also causes problems in interpersonal relationships, because the very things we procrastinators put off often end up on someone else’s plate.

So, what is the secret for tackling procrastination?

Experts seem to agree that “chunking” is a good way of managing tasks. Chunking is breaking a big task into small, manageable steps and deciding to work on one small portion of the task at a time.

Setting up rewards for each task completed is also recommended. Rewards can be anything from having a piece of cake to taking a nice walk or whatever provides an incentive to get the job done.

Having to-do lists is another thing experts recommend, as long as we do not maintain perennial items on the list that are just never going to happen in this lifetime.

I also believe that an important strategy would be to eliminate the word “try” from our vocabulary, because as soon as I say, “I will try to do something,” I have already let myself off the hook.

It seems that the old Nike slogan “Just Do It” should be the mantra for all of us procrastinators as we remind ourselves that we do not have to do things perfectly.

Perhaps instead of making New Year’s resolutions this year, we should make a decision to stop procrastinating, and everything else will fall into place.

Mary Bieda, MS, LPC is a licensed professional counselor and pastoral counselor in private practice in Old Town Bluffton.