Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

Fear of failure fear of sucess fear of dissapointment

It is often imformative to think of self discovery as like peeling back layers on an onion.

When I started to look at my procrastination it went somthing like this.

Procrastination -> ill feeling about completing urgent tasks -> Avoidance -> facing fears

At this point I started to face many fears in my life and started investigating my childhood and shooting down fears I had had like ducks in a row.

Did this stop my procrastination, hell no, but it was the most useful procrastination activity I had ever had.

So what was left fear of failure and fear of sucess. 

When I started to think about it I realised that fear of sucess is really the same thing as fear of failure we self sabotage ourselves so we won't suceed in order to avoid getting into a position where we are expected to suceed and where we feel the consequences of failure will be worse. In reality the consequences of failure are no worse, they only look worse when seen in a relative way.

I now realise that the real problem in my case is fear of disappointment. I am literally guided by not wanting to dissapoint others. This is where the rebelious aspect of my procrastination comes in, part of me is crying out why should I do what other people want me to do it is my life after all.

After a long time of trying to run away from my responsability for my actions I now realise that people tell me what to do because I have let them, somebody has to make the decisions after all.

Why do I let them?

Because I have never really known what I wanted from life because ironically as a young child I was never allowed to make my own decisions or may be simply because I was weak in not standing up for what I wanted to the point where I lost touch with my own needs.

Whatever the reason I now have to go through a very painful process but I now clearly understand that I must do the following:


1.) Get in touch with my own wants needs and feelings. 

2.) Stop looking for the approval of others.

3.) Believe in myself and my abilities and stop procrastinating as a result of lack of faith in myself to do tasks and make decisions.

4.) Change the direction of my life so that I am in control, own my tasks and throw out tha ones which are not applicable to me and stop procrastinating as a way of rebelling against others.  

5.) Push myself to achieve my goals and try to give 100% but be very forgiving of myself where I fail.

Each day I am becomming more spiritual and this is the font of my new understanding of myself. This is the only way that I have found that I can start to break free of the box of limited thinking that I had constructed around myself.

I am saying all this to get it off my chest but also because I hope to strike a chord with fellow travellers on this journey.

Some of you will be further along the path than I, others will be behind me but by making the decision to gather together with fellow sufferers we all have made the step of recognising the importance of freeing ourselves from chronic procrastination.

I am proud to say I am a work in progress, because the key word here is PROGRESS.  


procrastination as a phobia

This is a really interesting concept, thinking of procrastination as a phobia. I've come across Atychiphobia,  a fear of failure; and Atelophobia, a fear of not being good enough or imperfection.

Some more links on this idea here:, atelophobia.htm;  

and some interesting famous quotes on the fear of failure (though do feel free to ignore the sales pitch also on here!):


It'd be interesting to hear about any evidence based techniques on treating procrastination as a phobia or any other thoughts around this.


yes...yes...and yes.

thank you for this very transparent message.  i feel like i could have written many of the paragraphs myself. in reading it, i thought "yes...and yes...and yes! i know exactly what he means!"

i am curious about the part of 'becoming more spiritual'...until a few years ago, i was both a very spiritual and religious person. now i am neither. and i think it has not made a difference one way or the other, in so far as my procrastination goes...

but if you are willing to share a bit, i would be interested in knowing what 'spritual practices' you feel help you with regards to your procrastination. thanks.


Re: yes...yes...and yes.

I will try to put into words what I mean about spiritual although it is not easy.

When we see another living thing we are drawn towards that life, even if it is a plant. Whilst weeding my garden I am facinated for example of the pure simplicity that I see in something so complex.

We somehow feel drawn to all life and the higher up the evolutionary scale the greater this feeling becomes. For example people develop strong connections with dogs and cats and even stronger conections can be developed with apes or dolphins.

We feel a stronger connection yet with our fellow human beings.

The concept of a higher conciousness that resides in us all becomes a natural way of thinking when we begine to really start to empathise with those around us.

If you like me grew up with no strong sense of direction but now want to form your new true identity yet want it to come from yourself and not from others then you also may start from the premise of trying to define what is right and what is wrong.

You like me may decide that all that is truely wrong is related to the causing of suffering physical or psychological to your fellow human beings and that all that is truely right is realted to trying to make your fellow human beings happier in their lives.



What is true about the way we treat others is also true about how we should treat ourselves with LOVE, FORGIVENESS ACCEPTANCE and COMPASSION

You must of thought at sometime that everything seems to be going against you in some pattern that seems to improbabble to be true, like the world is conspiring against you.

If you like me decide to think that good will overcome then you can decide that these sequences of events partly external and partly internal are there to teach you lessons in life or act as challenges to show you how you can be a stronger person.

In this reply I have only scratched the surface but this is what spirituality now means to me.   

Fear of disappointment

Your thinking is sound to me.

Beware the trap that I'm in - I even procrastinate around the things that I really want to do , probably because I have strong memories of some of those going really badly. I guess all the things I procrastinate about involve other people (what they want or that they will be affected by my under-performance; which is most things short of being a hermit.

Re: Fear of dissapointment


If you are following my theory you might even procrastinate about things you want to do because you are afraid it will go well and you will end up setting expectations that your life could be better that you don't think you can meet.

Or simply it could be that you think that you don't deserve to do the things you really want to.

In my new thinking you deserve to have the best life you can.