Cycle of Diappointment
For a while now I have known my procrastination was a problem and have realized it could impact my life in a very negative way. Just recently though I have made the goal to stop procrastinating and so far the motivation of coming on here had helped some. However, I still have a long way to go. I'm in high school and I guess I feel pretty young on this website since many people on here are adults. Sometimes I feel sad that procrastination controls my life so much since I'm a teenager and supposed to be enjoying life (that's what my parents say). I don't have many reaponsibilties, the only major one is my schoolwork. Since I know that at some point in my life I have to learn to handle many things I'd like to greatly reduce my procrastinationg tendencies before I go to college.
I really do have a point. The question I'm always asking myself is, Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do things that will eventually sacrifice my happiness?
Because bad feelings/anxiety I get when I do something at the last possible moment aren't as bad as the consequences... which are disatisfaction with myself and just feeling like I have no willpower.
Like for instance, when I procrastinate my schoolwork, I know inside of me that it will just lead to a poor grade on the test. I think part of me is afraid of failure. Once I do REALLY bad (which is kind of a relative term since I'm a bit of a perfectionist), but whenever I do what I consider really bad on a test or something, I suddenly have the motivation to get my act at least partly together for the rest of the term and bring the grade up. In almost EVERYTHING I'm this way though, it's like I wait for myself to fail before I can take any action. I wait till the night before to write a paper and on occasion have even had to skip the first couple of hours of school and come in late but on time to turn it in. And once I have reached that point I feel totally awful about myself and the class becomes unsatisfying and annoying until I've brought my grade up. I really care a lot about how I do in school, so I just don't understand why I do this to myself.
So I guess do you guys have anything to add or say about being in cycle of dsiappointing yourselves? Can you relate to what I mean about feeling so frightened and down on yorself that any good intentions are beaten down?
Also, totally unrelates to this topic, but I was wondering if some older procrastinators could tell me some stuff. Did you guys have problems with procrastinating as early as high school too? How well did you do in high school and how much do you think it influenced your behaviors in college, graduate school, and careers? Any advice would be welcome. At this point my procratination can only get better!
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Dear ktgato64, I'm new on
Dear ktgato64, I'm new on this site too. I want to wish you the best luck in overcoming your procrastination. I'm 28 now, and I've been procrastinating very badly in almost every aerea of my life since I was 11. At the beginning I didn't even notice, but as soon as I went to high school, I realized it was affecting my life and well being very badly. It was very hard, feeling like this, and having few if any people who could understand. I know what you mean when you talk about cycle of disappointment. I used to do that at school a lot. I would simply "dive" into bad marks, and teachers looked at me as I was some kind of alien or masochist. And maybe in some ways, I was. I wish I had known I wasn't alone before, I wish I could have gently told myself I had a procrastination problem I had to deal with. I just felt I wasn't able to live. But you know you've got a problem called procrastination and I'm sure that knowing it helps dealing with it. One suggestion: be gentle with yourself. Avoid feeling guilty. Take small steps. Remember: you have to consider where you are starting from, not where you think you SHOULD be.
I'm really happy for you that you already have the tools and support I didn't have at your age and that you won't waste so much time or happiness or opportunities. Take care!
Thanks so much for the thoughtful replies. I look forward to spending more time on here and gaining more ideas to combat my procrastination. I think I will definitel have to attend the meeting this Sunday as well! I must go CI now, I got home from school not long ago and need to get busy.
I've been procrastinating all my life...
...and I'm past 50.
Some times I've managed to be much more effective and organized than others. And I've been functional enough to get a college degree on time, graduate from an Ivy League grad program in my field, hold a series of increasingly responsible jobs, and then build my own writing business for more than a decade.
I'm on my second marriage, but while my own day to day procrastination may have played a small role in how my first one ended, I really don't blame that directly. (Although you could say I put off ending a relationship that should have never begun in the first place. But that's another story.)
Yet I live in a constant, debilitating adrenaline-soaked state of anxiety as I go about my work. I'm late on deadlines, set externally or internally. I compromise on quality (although I don't cheat). I've read lots of advice books and put off reading others :-)
This place has been a Godsend to me. I can see myself improving incrementally, and I have found a fellowship of others who know what it's like to live this life and who offer both empathy and accountability.
The Hero's Code:
Show up. Pay Attention. Speak the Truth. Let Go of the Outcome.
Like others on this site, I
Like others on this site, I can remember procrastinating at a very early age...probably 7th grade was when I really became aware of it. Like others, I also did really well in school, and was a national merit scholar semi-finalist in high school, went to a top university, and now am in graduate school....BUT, even though I've always managed to get by, I realize now that I'm an adult that I've given up a lot of opportunities by not doing the things I should do when I should do them.
If I were your age and could do it all over again, I would find someone who could help me write down very concrete goals for myself and who would encourage me in them over a long period of time to actively work on those goals (maybe an aunt/uncle, a teacher, a counselor, an older friend in college). Because I think that when I was young, I procrastinated because I wasn't working TOWARD something that I wanted, I was just AVOIDING what I didn't want (e.g. to do a poor job on an assignment, not know what to write, not be as good as my friends, etc.) Now, even though I have a much better idea of what I want for myself, I just procrastinate because I've gotten used to being late, being disappointed, etc.
But youu're asking alll the right questions and trying to do the right things...so don't give up!
Try not to be so hard on yourself
Welcome ktgato64 and keep coming back. You are not alone and the 12 step programs do work.
I have had some high school teaching jobs and trust me, the public school systems today are not very student friendly. There are so many issues to deal with, state. federal, local, etc. etc. plan for college, careers, etc. the children are constantly getting tested for school standard ratings, it is no wonder the children feel overwhelmed.
I know for me, I need to help my 2 sons, and if I didn't they would probably flunk out, be kicked out or both. I helped many of the "so called bad kids" at schoolon my own time (they even came to get help during lunch because they did not feel judged by me) because I knew how they felt and every one of them got through with a little bit of support and you will too.
re: try not to be so hard on yourself
Only one thing to add to Vic's excellent comment:
Beating yourself up about past failures and shortcomings doesn't do anyone any good. Try to do the best you can TODAY and don't spend any more time worrying about what happened yesterday.
Welcome, and good luck!
There is a proper balance between not asking enough of oneself and asking or expecting too much. - May Sarton
Good to have you :)
I just finished college, so I'm not much older than you! (And we've had high school students around before, though I think you're the only one around now)
I definitely had *big* procrastination problems in high school--for instance, when I had a paper due I'd usually just play minesweeper until the day before the due date, then frantically write the evening before. And college applications were so hard to get in on time...But I was good enough at classes, and assignments were short enough, that by procrastination didn't become a big obstacle to success until the end of college (when I was working on my senior thesis and grad school applications). That's when I found this site, and it's been a huge help to me.
I know what you mean about fear being an obstacle to success...I think I often have trouble starting an assignment because I'm afraid of doing a bad job. This site is helpful because, rather than just saying these fears are silly, it's given me some tools to work through them.
Hope to see you (in chatbox, meetings, and/or checkin board).
The feelings that you are sharing are so incredibly familiar to me. My low self esteem started early on in grade school, because my family moved around many times and it was so hard to fit in. The low esteem led to procrastination...'why even try?' led to bad grades, no self confidence, no social skills, drugs and alcohol, isolation.... I ended up dropping out of high school, barely holding minimum pay jobs. I did go back to an adult school, one really does need a diploma to do anything. I also tried college, but that proved too much for me also.
That question, "Where do you see yourself in five, ten, 20, 50 years?". I never could answer that. I just knew "not here, not now". No motivation, no vision, massive depression and lots of drugs. Bad combination. I really, really envy your inner strength that has led you here. Today, I am in a healthy relationship, have children and a good life. I do find each day a struggle, but my motivation is being a good example for those around me, and found the benefit to be happiness. I ask for help when I need it, and I am constant alert for the negative voice in my head. After all these years I recognize the pain and hurt following its direction has caused me.
And so! Keep coming back and posting your thoughts and ideas. There is ALOT of books and links on this site to read, to learn about why our minds think the way they do, and how to overcome ourselves.
Looking forward to reading more from you :)
Nothing is worth more than this day - Goethe
I count my procrastination
I count my procrastination from a very early age, and I am past the college age now. I have even been in grad school before. It certainly does continue, if unchecked and unmotivated to make things right for myself. In any case, I don't pretend to have the answers, but I can tell you it's been a problem for me at least in grammar school. Before that time I cannot say. The thing is, I count lateness as a form of procrastination. Always running late to class in grammar school or choir practice. Always having an excuse. I now remember how i used to always bring these notes from my mother as excuses for why I often came late to choir practice, even though I was a good student. The problem is that the guilt trip over the lateness/procrastination added up for me. I became so guilty about the results of my compulsive avoidance that it contributed into more cascading effects in my entire life. THank you for being present, and for sharing, you've helped me remember some of my patterns from the past.
I have come to 12 step programs early on in life (comparatively speaking), insofar as my other 12 step programs were concerned. For me, I needed to really act out in my addiction and take me to a new low before I could see the light. There were no quick fixes to be had, until I understood. It would've definitely been better, if I had gotten my low, felt utterly powerless, or that such a 12 step program existed, when I were your age. So I welcome you, and hope that you succeed in the sobriety that you may hope to attain.
You are in the right place
Welcome to the group. I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. I relate to everything you said.
My first experience with procrastination (that I can remember) dates back to the fourth grade when I stayed up all night trying to finish a project. I remember frantically tracing, coloring, cutting and pasting my notes and illustrations into a booklet all through the night. My dad stayed up a while with me watching the Olympics and then, at a certain point, he too turned in and I still wasn't done. I was totally panicked. I never felt so alone in my life.
That sense of panic and feeling of aloneness has followed me through high school, college and beyond.
I was an honors student in high school and was accepted into very good schools. Whereas I could "scrape by" with my procrastination habits and still turn out good grades in high school, I was less successful in college. My grades plummeted and I could barely keep up.
That being said, I don't regret my path. If I had still been able to keep up the good grades with my destructive habits, I doubt I would have searched for help nor gotten any reprieve from my suffering.
I have found relief through 12-step programs and through sharing with others. Acknowledgement and acceptance is the first step. Writing about it, reading and listening to others recovering in the program has been very helpful.
For me, it is an ongoing process. Some days are better than others. However, if I compare myself to where I was in my college days versus now, there is definite improvement.
Wishing you much pro recovery,