Woe Is Me! “I Have Lots of Goals But No Motivation. How Do I Gather the Energy to Try?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“Ever since I became more serious about my aim in life, I find myself procrastinating and getting more and more distant from my goals. Although I have always been a good student all my life, there’s something that is stopping me from executing my own plans, as if something might end up making me guilty. I constantly keep feeling like I have done something irreparably wrong. I’m unable to find a solution to this.”
— Trying (not) too hard
DR: Are you worried you might disappoint yourself in pursuance of these goals you’ve set? That’s the first thing that came to my mind upon reading your woe. You could try re-jigging your goals a bit — in terms of easing the timelines, perhaps, or spacing out your targets — to see if things improve. Also, have you chosen these goals based on what you want to do in life, or have social pressures defined them for you? If it’s the latter, that could be why you’re struggling to motivate yourself to pursue them.
Given that I neither know you nor have the faintest idea about your goals, all I could throw at you are possibilities. What would, perhaps, be more useful for you is to introspect why you might be feeling the way you’re feeling — here, seeking guidance from a therapist might be a good idea. However, given that motivation-related concerns can stem from neurodivergence too — although that might not be the case for you at all — I’d still suggest you look for a neurodivergence-and-trauma-informed therapist just to ensure they’ll, at least, consider the possibility.
QG: One thing that always helps me understand what or how I feel about a situation is to really sit with myself and begin untangling. Ask yourself what you are feeling, how you are feeling, what is making you feel the way that you are and how you want to go about it. Maybe that will help. You can always reach out to people around you for help as well. Try to get to the root of what is making you feel distant from your goal. Could it be that this isn’t what you really want to do? Could it be that now that you know what your aim is, the prospect of it is overwhelming you? Like I said, really sit with yourself. And let me assure you that you haven’t done anything that can be categorized as “irreparably wrong.” Whatever is eating you up, you will figure it out — I promise you this.
AS: I want to tell you that I suffer from the exact same thing! My friends keep suggesting that I go to therapy, and I intend to follow up on their advice as soon as I can. So, I would suggest that, maybe, you try the same thing. It won’t magically solve everything, of course, but it might give you an outlet to navigate and explore this crawling feeling with some expert guidance. While looking for a therapist, do ensure to look beyond their qualifications and ensure that the person you will end up talking to, understands your personal and political equations well. Wishing you all the best on this journey. I know it can be quite intimidating, but it will hopefully get easier with time.
RN: Is it possible that your goal isn’t actually the one you want to pursue? Is there a disconnect between what you want and what you feel like you need? If you’re feeling stuck, try assessing the goal itself. It’s wonderful that you have it all figured out but there’s a chance you could just be telling yourself that to avoid the greater panic of not having figured things out. I want to emphasize that there’s nothing wrong with not knowing what to do — figuring it out as you go along is as rich and rewarding an experience as anything else too. But if you’re certain about the goal, ignore everything I just said — why not break it up into small, achievable parts so you’re less intimidated by it?