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.

Questioning Why

I haven't posted in a long time, but I've been lurking for a while. Over the last few months I've been working at changing the way I live my life.

I am a procrastinator and I'm lazy. I have two big issues that I can't seem to beat.

The first, is that my procrastination is all tangled up with my 'approval seeking' nature. With anything I do, I always find myself asking 'How does this help me?' or 'Will others notice this?' and 'If they don't, why is it worth it?'.

Basically, I get very little satisfaction out of doing things, unless it's reinforced by someone else.

For example, I joined a gym and pushed and forced myself to go 3 or 4 times a week for a few months. I'm in good shape and have more energy than I've had in a long time... But, now I'm beginning to procrastinate and I find myself skipping days at a time. I realize now that my main motivation for going was the idea that someone else would notice and say something. I end up asking myself 'What's the point if no one else notices?'.

My own knowledge that I look and feel better is becoming irrelevant.


I read the daily check-ins, and I see people posting their to-do lists and completed lists, and I can see a beautiful sense of satisfaction and pride coming from the words when you folks post about the things you've done that day.

I just can't find that satisfaction in my own completed tasks...

After having a bad day or week I always find myself at my desk with a pad of paper, writing down to-do lists for that day or things that I could try that week. But I always end up questioning why I'm doing them. What is it adding to my life? Why would being more organized make me happier?, Why would taking that hour ride to the park make my day better? Why do the dishes today when I have a few plates left? I just can't convince myself that I'd be a better person by finishing these tasks so I don't do them and go back to surfing the web.

So I guess this long-winded post boils down to these questions...

1. Does anyone have any experience with approval seeking behaviour? Any advice? I worry so much about what others think.

2. Could you tell me what you're thinking as you complete your tasks and to-do lists? How has your life improved? Do you have more energy or confidence or a better sense of worth? Help me understand...

Anyway, I hope this post isn't a rambling mess. I could really use some advice. I'm having such a tough time.

Thanks all.

Ag on Q why

Ever seen that murky star cluster that astronomers say is actually a sideview of another galaxy?  The weird thing is that when I look straight at that cluster it disappears, but when I look to either side of it, I can see its form and even some of its features.  I'm clueless why; it just is.

Self-worth, approval and happiness are like that for me. If I'm driving straight for them, they disappear. If I'm focusing on living the 12 Steps in order to help others (not to achieve my own nirvana), self-worth, approval and happiness appear in ways I could never have thought or imagined.

I needed to articulate that myself today, to get/keep on track with my deeper purpose in recovering from the dis-ease of compulsive procrastination and other life-threatening behaviors. Thanks to clement for the reminder that abandonment of self-will is the only hope for addicts like me. Keep coming back, DMan77; we're all in this together.

powerful illustration

wow, what a powerful illustration, ag! I have experienced that visual phenomena with things. U can only seem them when u dont look directly at them. Agree with the application, too. I'm enriched! tx!

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb

Wow thank you all for your

Wow thank you all for your responses. It's actually nice to know I'm not the only one fighting these types of feelings.

I guess, it sort of comes down to this:

When we have a task to do, be it a work project, the dishes, going to the gym, etc, we have to decide how much it's completion is going to affect us, and in what ways.

We control our minds, so it's really up to us to decide if we're going to be happy with it or not. If we accomplish a task, we need to be happy about it and not spend the rest of the day convincing ourselves it wasn't a big deal.

I know that's what I do. Just like you guys touched on. I finish something then wonder 'What's the big deal?', 'Who does this impress?', 'How does this help me?'...

So those questions just need to change, and it's up to me to change them. It's a constent fight, but at the end of the day I (we) have the power to convince ourselves of anything. We just need to make sure that we're convincing ourselves of the right things.


finding satisfaction

DMan i know EXACTLY how you feel. I have the exact same pattern. For me, it's not really how others see me, but sort of seeing if i'm up to the challenge. But it's the same thing, once i've proven to myself that i can work out for 3 months, then i have succeed. And the motivation from the challenge evaporates, and i find myself saying the same thing, so what? then i take a few days off, then a few more, and before u know it, i'm not working out anymore.

same with work, and maint/admin tasks around the house.

Also same as Thondiel, when i accomplish something, i think: "I could have done better. Or if I accomplished that, then it couldn't have been very hard to do."

I expect that my take on this issue is different from most people here. Dont know if you'll relate to it or not, but it's at least worth reporting the clement option ;)

I have given up on finding satisfaction with anything physical and material in this life. There, i said it. I know it's a pretty strong statement, but this is just where i'm at.

As a christian, i guess this is probably easier for me, since the bible theaches this idea: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6:19-21

So, rather than drawing reward and motivation from my accomplishments, i simply draw it from the knowledge that i'm doing god's will. it is god's will for me to take care of myself, because god loves me. It's very easy for me to see the value in other people, and feel very good about taking care of them. They're god's children. But so am i. He doesnt care less abt me or love me less, even if i think less of myself. I can almost get into a mode in which i care about myself in the third person, iykwim.

this fits with my personality, because i think, what could possibly be more worthwhile in life than doing god's will?! I need this kind of deep, profound stuff to keep me going. I find the issues of god are infinite pools of depth to spend a life exploring. And that's just what a person like me needs.

the touch of the master's hand:

"fall down seven times, get up eight" - japanese proverb


Hi  and Welcome.

I don't think we give advice here but we share our experience, strength, hope which may/may not be right for you.

1. Does anyone have any experience with approval seeking behaviour? Any advice? I worry so much about what others think.

One thing I learned to be true is something Dr. Phil said so well:"My father used to say, you would worry less about what people think if you knew how little they did". - Dr. Phil McGraw

2. Could you tell me what you're thinking as you complete your tasks and to-do lists? How has your life improved?

My best thinking got me here, so I try to focus on solutions. The CLA phone and action lines have been a great help.


Do you have more energy or confidence or a better sense of worth? Help me understand...

No, but I have more hope and truth and completed tasks and support.  I feel much happier with my life.

Downplaying successes is a

Downplaying successes is a big problem for me. No matter what I accomplish, I honestly feel like it's not such a big deal, because I could have done better. Or I think, if I accomplished that, then it couldn't have been very hard to do. It's a low self esteem thing, and perfectionism, and pessimism, and who knows what else. I think the only way around it is to really focus on everything that's positive and do my best to shut up the voice that tries to point out the negatives. One thing that is helpful is to continually ask myself questions that are designed to make my mind look for positive things. Such as, what have I accomplished that was hard for me? what things in my life are going really well? what am I good at? etc. 

 It isn't easy. I think it just takes lots and lots of practice. I'm not there yet but I will keep working on it. Best wishes to you. 


Yes, me too. What I do with a friend is write at least 3 things of gratitude each day and share them via e=mail and include a prayer.It helps. 

re: questioning

Yep, I think a lot of us have trouble enjoying and appreciating our successes.   Somehow we have forgotten how to do that.  Can you plan a reward for yourself that doesn't involve someone else's approval?   And of course it's way fun to come here and post about your successes! It's also a place to share the less than successful times. 


Every time you get up and get back in the race, one more little piece of you starts to fall into place - (from "Stand" by Rascal Flatts)