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.

Overcoming Faithlessness

I have a new therapist - and my new therapist told me something true that I had not really consciously realized before.  I don't trust myself.  I have been promising myself (as well as other people) that I would get things done.  And I disappoint myself (as well as other people) when I do not.  So I have not just lost the trust of other people - I have also lost my own trust.

I realize now that I am faithless and my faithlessness has been progressively worsening over the years.  I used to believe that I would accomplish anything I put my mind to and that God would back me up as long as I was doing good.  I never really had faith in other people not to screw up whatever I had done, but that didn't seem to matter.  Now, I have no faith in other people, no faith in God, and no faith in myself.  My faith pretty much comes down to, "Bad things will happen and I will get hurt."

Even when I stick to my half-hour plan, I can see myself sabotaging everything I do, so it comes out bad.  My self-fulfilling prophecies have usually been pretty strong, either for success or failure.

Changing my self-talk doesn't seem to work because, in my head, one side of me is always laughing at the positive things the other side is trying to say.  Maybe not just laughing, maybe also AFRAID to believe those things again, lest I get MORE hurt.

How do I restore my faith?

The Hidden Trap of Small Promises

I've been thinking about this some more.....  I know the method which goes - start with small things.  Make small promises to yourself, keep them, and your faith in yourself will slowly heal.

I think there is a problem with this line of thinking that I had not realized before.  Underlying whatever small thing I start with is a big promise - I'm promising myself that I will change.  I can keep the small promises going, but when I slip, it is not just the small promise I have broken - it is the big one - the promise that I will change.  And that is why every time I try to help myself, I end up trusting myself less.

But wow, I don't know how to get out of this one....

Just focus on one day at a time.

I know where you are--been there, done that MANY times, and probably will in the future. The biggest aspect of almost any 12step fellowship is to focus on things on a day-only basis. Also, plan the plan, not the outcome. If you're anything like me, it probably won't be evident till you start trying. Good luck! And, keep posting.

Lark is right -- change starts small

The big change you want to make is composed of lots of small changes, lots of individual actions.  Take things one day at a time, and admit that you are human -- we all screw up sometimes and don't live up to our idealized plans.  Just pick yourself up and start again, and you'll find that each start is a little easier than the one before.

I would also suggest having a real talk with your therapist about ways to regain your faith and trust in yourself.  Your therapist knows you in ways we don't, so you may get some great suggestions.


Can You Explain More?

I have less than two months to find a summer internship.  I am literally at a point where, if I do not begin, and work steadily, I am going to destroy all the work I have done on my career up to this point and waste every sacrifice I have made to get here.  I'm pretty close to flushing my whole life down the drain and I'm scared.  How can I only focus on today?  How can I ignore outcomes?

Life is not so black and white

I felt a special need to respond to this particular comment.  Here's a glimpse of my story:
I graduated at the top of my high school class, and everyone expected that I would go on to Great Things.  Instead, I went off to college and failed out.  Three times.

At that point, I pretty much felt as you fear right now -- I had destroyed any chance to have anything like the life I had lined up for myself.  (I know whereof I speak when I encourage you to talk with your therapist -- I finally dealt with my ruined self image through therapy, many years later.)

Today, I have have a good job doing web development, I'm happily married, my finances are secure, and I have the cutest little boy around.  All of this as a college fail-out.

"Failure" is what you make of it.  Just keep working at it, and things will turn out all right.  If you really do want this career, you should be able to find things that will motivate you and pull you toward the career.  Make sure you're doing it for your own reasons, and then remind yourself of those reasons when your motivation flags or you feel that it's not going to work.

I failed out of college as a computer science major, and I've done programming, web development, and database administration work anyway.  Life is not so black and white, and you can always find a way.  Let go of your fear and anxiety and start -- you can always find or build a safety net.


I'm not trying to promote failure

Coming back to this after a day, I don't want to leave the impression that I am in favor of failure at all.  Instead, what I am trying to say is that the "I must punish myself by working on this big important project right now or else all kinds of bad stuff is going to happen" mentality only aggravates the anxieties that contribute so much to procrastination in the first place.

Pick a small piece of a single project as a place to start, and then start on it -- don't worry about finishing, and don't worry about finishing everything right now.  Just get started, make a little progress, build momentum... and then start again tomorrow.  You can do it!


StarSphere, I have something

StarSphere, I have something to add.  The outcome you are afraid and most concious of  - that of failing and 'flushing your whole life down the drain' is only one of many that can happen and one that may not even be the likely one.  The likelyhood that it will happen however depends on you.  Try visualizing a different, more positive outcome, and then work to make it happen.  You mentioned earlier that your self-fullfilling prophecies are strong and usually come out to be true - then work to create a positive one.
And finally, it's not surprising that you don't trust others if you don't trust yourself.  We often project the same beliefs, demands, expectations of others that we do on ourselves.
My suggestion, don't worry so much about having faith in others, thats just an extension of the real problem, work on having faith in yourself.
And don't put such high expectations on yourself either - we're all fallible which only makes us, all of us, human & special.

Hi StarSphere welcome

Hi StarSphere and welcome.

I've suggestings for restoring faith:

Trust in God rather than yourself.

Be kind to yourself.

Wishing you well


Restoring Trust After "Betrayal"

I'm back again.....  By the grace of God, I suppose, knowledge of an internship that was pretty close to what I wanted crossed my path - and I applied for it and got it.  So now I'm in California for the summer, but all my problems have come along with me.  I am not closely supervised and I have gone many days without accomplishing or even attempting anything.

As I stated in an earlier post, I used to believe that I would accomplish anything I put my mind to and that God would back me up as long as I was doing good.  But that isn't true.  I have wanted to be in a relationship for a long time.  For a while, I was very outgoing, tried many new things, met many new people, but with no results.  Largely, I met no one who was the least bit interesting to me.  When I occasionally met an interesting person, he inevitably ended up being my friend.  I asked, both the people involved and multiple therapists, and couldn't figure that I was doing anything wrong. 

So I felt, if I was doing what I needed to be doing, and what I wanted was not evil, then God must be choosing for me to be alone.  This conclusion leaves me very angry and I've mostly given up.  Even though some pretty remarkable things have happened in my career that I don't think I deserve - like getting a scholarship at school and being hired for this internship - it just confuses me more.  Why is God helping me so much in one area and abandoning me in another?

I don't believe that God will help me - and it's not because I don't believe in God.  It is because I feel I have proof that He is fickle about when He helps me or not - that He has His best interests in mind and His best interests are not my best interests.  I don't feel I can depend on Him.  And I don't know how to heal that condition.

I think we all feel that way at times StarSphere.

Welcome to the human race is what someone tells me. What's helped me is to take a little time every day to meditate, and I guess to listen to what my higher power wants me to understand. I'm pretty lousy at it, but things are better when I try. I hope this helps.