General Question

KRD's avatar

How can I motivate myself?

Asked by KRD (3663points) 1 month ago

A while back I asked a question on how to clean a room. I got a bunch of useful answers. I am good at organizing but I have a hard time with motivating myself to do work except with animals. I keep procrastinating when I try to do things. I can do stuff like dust and vacuum but I can’t get stuff where it belongs. I need to know how to motivate myself but don’t know how to. Any ideas?

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16 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

What helps me is to clean a bit as I notice it. Just a little bit as I pass by. A little each day.

Also while I am waiting for something. Delivery of food. On hold to the bank. Commercial breaks on the television.

longgone's avatar

Sounds like you’re okay at the cleaning part, but you need help with tidying. Do you know why that’s hard? Maybe it feels overwhelming? Or your things don’t have “homes”?

“Struggle Care” is a podcast and a website for people struggling with caring for their home. It’s a really kind approach, and very simple. Maybe give that a try? Here’s a link to their 5-step-cleaning: https://www.strugglecare.com/resources#home-care

Entropy's avatar

Here’s the best advice you can get on motivation in general – stop thinking about how to motivate or what course to take or other nonsense. Just go DO the thing you’re putting off. Sitting around going “I wish I was more motivated to do X or Y” is you distracting yourself from DOING x or y. It’s a trick your brain is using to not do what you don’t want to do. So… just fucking get up, RIGHT NOW, and go clean your room. Don’t read the next sentence. See? Why did you read that? Stop. GET UP AND GO CLEAN THE DAMN ROOM!

NOW!!!

smudges's avatar

Thank you so much, @longgone! I glanced at the site and it looks like it will help me!

longgone's avatar

@Entropy I learned something recently: When people ask for help getting motivated, they tend to already feel motivation. They recognize the need to clean. They don’t like the chaos, or how hard life gets when there’s no clean clothes or plates. They often feel a lot of shame and would love to have a clean house.

This means there’s actually no problem with their motivation. Instead, it’s likely they are struggling with executive functioning, especially task-initiation. That’s a known symptom of ADHD, depression, PTSD, autism, and grief.

Imagine for a second that you get a call from the police. They tell you that a loved one has been killed.

When you hang up the phone, what will you do next? Do you call a friend? Do you cry or wail? Really imagine it.

You’re probably not doing the dishes. It’s unlikely that you’d cook a healthy meal or even remember to eat at all. In the wake of tragic loss, people struggle to feed themselves, or do other basic tasks like shower.

I can’t speak to the entire list up there, but I know how depression feels: it’s like that. There’s a very real sense of something terrible having happened. It’s all you can think about. Sometimes you cry, and sometimes you feel a sliver of hope because a friend is there or the sun is shining…but there’s always that sense of shock and doom. And unfortunately, that feeling doesn’t go away. It lasts for weeks, sometimes months or years. It’s like every morning, you get another call from the police and somebody else has died.

I really hope you never feel like that, and I have no idea if @KRD even does. I just think it’s important to remember that things like cleaning can be very hard, and it’s okay to need help with that. Sometimes, it really is impossible to just get up and do it. You wouldn’t fault a paraplegic for being unable to stand. But their legs are usually perfectly healthy. The problem is only in the brain.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Invite me over to play with your animals and I’ll clean and cook dinner in return?!

Really there’s no one size fits all but I prefer to start with trash vs keeps piles. Then your only dealing with organizing.
Maybe reward yourself? It works for me! Something you really want but can only have of that room is clean.

smudges's avatar

Thank you for that wonderful, compassionate answer, @longgone! I read this after sending you a message, and it brought such relief. I hate living in messiness and wasn’t raised to. But I’ve dealt with depression and PTSD for most of my life and you reminded me that living in chaos is a symptom. I knew that about depression, but not PTSD. I also have problems with perfectionism, which comes from the ADD. My apartment can look like a tornado went through it, but by god that one closet is perfect! I get ultra-focused on one thing and get so into it, even if it’s just cleaning out dresser drawers, that sometimes when I’m halfway through, or even finished with it, I suddenly realize I have an appt to get to. It’s like I forgot everything going on in my life because I was so focused on one thing for hours.

Anyway, you’ve really helped me tonight. You’ve reminded me to be kind to myself because I do have some problems that are no fault of mine, which then cause other problems. I’m looking forward to the site you linked.

longgone's avatar

@smudges Aw. I’m so glad to have reminded you. Take care of yourself tonight. You didn’t choose your brain, and you’re trying hard every day. I hope you have a relaxing evening. And tomorrow, when you feel things getting hard…download the audio book that’s linked on the website; “How to Keep House while Drowning”. I think it will be good for you. Hugs!

smudges's avatar

So @KRD, has any of this helped you? Sometimes just knowing you’re not alone with a problem is comforting. I hope you’re feeling better.

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cheebdragon's avatar

Watch a few episodes of Hoarders.
https://youtu.be/_8QbhouuSWc

kritiper's avatar

First of all, THINK POSITIVE!!

MISPRINT's avatar

There are many different ways to motivate yourself, and what works best for you will depend on your individual goals, values, and circumstances. Some general tips for staying motivated include setting clear and specific goals, breaking larger goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks, rewarding yourself for achieving your goals, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and staying positive and focused. Additionally, it can be helpful to identify any potential obstacles or challenges that you may face and develop strategies for overcoming them. Remember that motivation is not a fixed trait – it can fluctuate from day to day, and it’s normal to experience ups and downs. The key is to keep working towards your goals, even when you’re not feeling particularly motivated.

As I mentioned in my previous response, there are many different ways to motivate yourself, and what works best for you will depend on your individual goals, values, and circumstances. Some general tips for staying motivated include setting clear and specific goals, breaking larger goals down into smaller, more manageable tasks, rewarding yourself for achieving your goals, surrounding yourself with supportive people, and staying positive and focused. Additionally, it can be helpful to identify any potential obstacles or challenges that you may face and develop strategies for overcoming them. One specific strategy that you might find helpful is to create a schedule or plan for completing your tasks, and then stick to it. This can help you stay organized and on track, and can also make it easier to hold yourself accountable for getting things done. Remember to be patient with yourself – it can take time to develop effective motivation strategies, and it’s normal to experience setbacks along the way. Keep trying different approaches, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

KRD's avatar

@smudges It does! I do like what @KNOWITALL said about rewarding yourself. I try a few of the things on here.

smudges's avatar

Yayyyy!! Glad to hear buddy!

Smashley's avatar

Another important bit is to not beat yourself up over things. Achieving your goals doesn’t mean that you will be instantly great at it once you figure out the trick. You need to develop the routines and behaviors that will bring success. Like building muscle, It requires good food, good sleep, persistence and patience. You won’t instantly train yourself to make your bed every morning, but if you work at it, doing it when you remember, your bed will start to look in need of making, and you will get a tiny rush of happy brain chemicals when you do it. Your brain doesn’t love making the bed, but it loves order, and it can learn that you’re giving it that.

If you need a sloth day every now and then, give yourself the permission. Rest is important, too.

Failures are just data points. Did you not leave yourself time? Did you get distracted? What did you tell yourself when you decided to procrastinate? Learn from the failures, and slowly build your executive functioning skills. Believe me, it’s more possible that it feels.

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