My name is Taylor and I’m a 23 year old girl who struggles with depression, anxiety, and PTSD*. I have a full time job, am pursuing a BA in communication and media, support myself and live alone with two cats.
I love to be productive and feel absolutely miserable when I don’t get things done. That isn’t to say, however, that I’m automatically programmed to be a superhero and have the natural instinct to tackle things on my to-do lists.
Quite the opposite, in fact.
I often find myself procrastinating or sitting around doing absolutely nothing instead of the important things I need to get done. I have the motivation: I want to do these things since doing them will only benefit me. Then what’s stopping me from acting on my motivation? Why can’t I just get up and do it?
I’ve been doing some reading, along with talking with my therapist, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a willpower versus motivation debate of sorts. You can have all the motivation in the world but if you don’t have the willpower to follow through, nothing will ever get done.
Have you ever been so exhausted at the end of the day that you just plop down in your bed and can’t be bothered to brush your teeth or wash your face? Your willpower is completely spent and even though you know you should do those things, you don’t because you just can’t do it. That may seem trivial, but when it escalates into not being able to clean where you live, pay bills on time, get to important appointments, or get any sort of work done in general, it becomes very problematic and you find yourself getting deeper and deeper into a rut.
It’s a vicious cycle: you haven’t gotten anything done and you feel terrible about it and feeling terrible makes you feel less willing to do anything, even though you know that doing something, ANYTHING, will make you feel better. Unfortunately, I find myself getting into that cycle often and it drives me crazy. I feel broken and insane — I know what I want and have to do but I do nothing instead. That doesn’t feel normal for me and I freak out…yet still don’t do anything (go figure).
I’ve started a journey in trying to be more in control of my life and be on top of things. I want to be productive, organized, and have it all come almost naturally. This, of course, is easier said than done and completely overwhelmed me when I began making list after list for this and that while outlining my goals. I learned something very valuable from my overwhelming list-making, however: change isn’t going to happen in big chunks and feel natural, it’s much easier and manageable to change incrementally.
A saying that my mother repeated over and over again when I was little comes to mind:
Little bit by little bit, things get done.
That’s how I’m approaching getting better at “things” in general and that’s the idea I’m structuring this blog around. What I post will be a mix of article roundups (articles or blog posts I’ve read that have been interesting or informative/helpful), what I’ve learned helps and doesn’t help in certain situations, and overall ideas to get better at acting on motivation with willpower. I’m hoping this blog might help anyone in a similar position as me or someone who’s working towards similar goals.
*Note: I am actively seeing a therapist and psychiatrist for my depression, anxiety, and PTSD and highly suggest anyone who has or thinks they may have mental health issues to do the same. While therapy might not be for everyone, it’s definitely worth a try. Anything I post on this blog is meant to help people on a day-to-day level and is NOT meant to replace the advice or help of a qualified professional. Not everything that works for me will work for you, but if it does then that’s awesome! If not, just keep swimming until you find your fit.