Awkward question on "Self-improvement"

Before I actually ask anything, I am fully aware this should be the Last place to ask a question like this, and that it’s going to sound like a cheap way to invoke other people’s pity. I’ll delete this afterwards, when I regret this (likely in 24 hours).

I’ve always had this problem given the fact I’ve never studied, or even tried in school projects my entire life, but how does one simply “do”.
How does one “do” when they “don’t have the drive”. It sounds stupid, but it’s the only way I can put it. (I know I’m making it sound more complex than it really is)


My friend, you are not alone. I’ve lately been wanting to draw so badly but I have lacked the inspiration and drive to do so, and the things that are happening in the world are definitely not helping me find that drive, either.

Simply put, I know that feel.

Finding that drive can be either an easy process or a tough one, even the best can literally lose any interest in their passion what they love and stagnate.

Having been a funk like this for a bit all I can say is to try, even if the energy isn’t there. Trying to do projects that were in progress before the funk won’t help too much as the quality will suffer, so my advice is to perhaps commit to a new project. Maybe by doing a project that isn’t taken very seriously like the other work may help reignite the fire and give back your drive, but be moderate (like if you were doing 50 chapters worth of literature, then shrink it down somewhere below 20 then to see how it goes).

May not be the best advice, but it kind of work for me.

Building on what Seeker said:

Most importantly, start small. As odd as it is saying that here.

What I mean is. Progress is not a binary. You know what you’re dealing with. If it was as easy as flipping a switch, you would have already done it by now. Growth in this way only happens through steady, consistent habit forming decisions. So. Start small.

Don’t set out any grand goals. Don’t tell yourself you’re not gonna get over this. You will treat this the same way you treat a diet. Again. Weird given the context, but here we are. Pick one task. Just one that you feel comfortable with getting done. Something so insignificant that you don’t even think it’s worth making a goal. And when that becomes a habit.

Start with the next.

And the next one after that.

While you’re at it, if you need to, reach out to someone you think can hold you accountable. A good friend, a parent or a coworker you’re on good terms with. Doing that will make it real for you.

And as you’re doing this. Don’t make it the entire focus of your life. You start out with any grand ambitions, and you’re gonna burn out, wonder why you even bothered and then come back in a month or a year, and try the same thing. In that same vein:

Pick any one thing you like doing, and make that a consistent thing too. Maybe you have a video game you love coming back to, or a favorite book series you read nestled up in your blankets. Maybe you have a special hiking trail you’ve always wanted to come back to. Treat yourself to something small, and manageable. And then? Just live!

If you find yourself in a weird position, after a couple of months of this - you’ve hit a wall, or you don’t know what to do next, that’s fine! Get on a forum like this one, or find a friend, a coworker, a therapist - hell your fucking pet dog lilyfufu smiithington lady baroness of dogshire. Just someone or some thing that can help you touch base.

Most importantly, look at the factors that got you to this point. Did you maybe not have a job you liked? Were you afraid of failing grades as a kid, so you just - didn’t try, so you’d have the excuse? These aren’t accusations, and you should never look at them that way when you’re asking these questions, but you should - in moments of reflection like this one, find a baseline to begin your work from.

And with all that said. Have a go at it.


And lest I forget.

Remember. Learning how you learn is also a process. Can’t help you there, but you can figure it out. Everyone does once they know to look.

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I am going to say something that Jarender already said but I don’t want to rewrite this so here it goes

from my experience you can’t wait for the drive to come you have to just start without it and when you’ve started then sometimes the drive comes. if you make it a habit of working on a project then the drive comes more often. also having a habit of doing some work everyday is really good for finishing bigger projects. there is a good quote writers have: “write a page a day and you’ll have a complete novel in year”.

building the habit is hard and you probably will skip days or have days where you basically don’t do anything. what is important is to make many small improvements. if you only manage to get something done once every week then that is way better than never and you can work to improve that to twice a week and so on. after doing that for long enough whenever you think something like “I don’t feel like it” you can then just say to yourself “so what if I don’t” everytime and get to work anyway.

here are some things that I think help establishing the habit

start with small projects
a finished project behind you is way more motivating than an unfinished one. also games take way longer than you think when you start out. I thought that my project would be finished in 3-ish months for almost a year and it’s still not finished. you also learn how to pace yourself better and how to actually finish stuff.

make small daily goals
the absolute hardest part is starting. so making the task really small helps with starting because if the task is something like “draw one line on this sprite” you don’t need much energy or discipline to get it done and hopefully you will then do more. it will also be easier to do harder stuff if you got some momentum going. you should also have a low time commitment so you don’t get scared away by say a 3 hour work period.
I personally don’t close a program I’m using for work until after I am done for the day so it will be easier to start again

limit distractions
I would say this is more important when you start because you are basically trying to break an old habit and replace it with a new one. make sure your phone doesn’t make any sounds when something new has happened and preferably get it far away from you when you work so it doesn’t tempt you. a browser extension that can limit certain sites that usually distracts you when you work is also good to have and logging out from steam and/or discord helps as well. having a special place where you work and only work is also good to have (if you have the space for it) because you have to physically move to get
to the things that normally distracts you and it places you in a work mode when you enter that space.

to summarize make a little progress as often as possible and aim low so you can not fail


Mackerel. Given the fact I expected the exact opposite of this, thank you all. This Is very helpful. Given how I have 6 personal projects, I guess it’s time to start from scratch. Hopefully I can take this advice and use it properly.

We all go through spells of laziness or unmotivation. I’ve recently been going through the spell, but there are a few ways to get out of it.

1.) what you eat will have an effect on you. Greasy foods and “heavy” foods will make you feel sluggish, as will turkey meat. I’m not sure if any other meat does this to the human body. Eating right isn’t just healthy for the body, it is also healthy for the mind.

2.) Exercise. Even if it is a simple walk around the park or aerobics or a bike ride. Exercising is excellent for motivating yourself, even if you aren’t working out hard-core

3.) Be outside or do an activity that boosts your happiness

4.) JUST DO IT!!! As stupid of a meme that has become it has some merit: if nothing else is working try just doing it, forcing yourself to do it.

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There’s already been a lot of solid advice and support given in this thread so I don’t know how much else I can add, but I wanted to add my two cents regardless. I just finished working through the biggest, longest and most stressful project I’ve ever had for my job, and it quite nearly broke me on several occasions. Now that it’s done, here are a few things I learned from the experience:

  1. Set realistic goals for yourself. It can be incredibly daunting to face down a huge task - so much so that you can’t even see how to progress, let alone finish the whole thing. I know it may be hard, but try to break down whatever problem you’re facing into manageable steps. Start by making an outline of the project before breaking it into “chunks” to be focused on one at a time. Keep the chunks small enough such that they could could feasibly be completed in one or two sittings. This helps by giving you the satisfaction of accomplishment steadily as you work, which keeps your morale higher.
  1. Keep a log of your work. When it’s time to get to work, then focus on doing just that. Getting distracted happens, but it’s important to minimize our time spent not focusing on our work. Something I do a lot is bargain with myself, like, “Hmm, well maybe if I just do a quick dungeon in Final Fantasy, then that’ll be my break and then I can get back to this. Yeah, I’ll take 20 minutes off and then work for another hour.” However, as you may also be aware, that “20 minutes” turns into two hours and then you’re left way more stressed than before as you realize how much you’ve procrastinated. I found that the best way to combat this was to be accountable. I kept a log throughout each work day where I marked my activities along with timestamps. For instance, I would log when I got up, then if I went to make coffee, how long I spent on certain work tasks, any breaks I took and even time spent procrastinating. At the end of the day, I read through my log and looked at where my biggest distractions were. Honestly though, just the act of keeping the log helped me to stay more focused as I didn’t want to have to log long periods of procrastination that would make me feel bad later. I also shared my log with people in my support network, which helped keep me accountable.

  2. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all want to succeed in our endeavors and falling short of our stated goals can really hurt. However, even though you may be disappointed with a lack of progress, one of the worst things you can do is beat yourself up over it. Focusing on failure only reinforces the idea that you’ll fail if you try, which isn’t the case. Our brains form habits through feedback loops, and punishing yourself after not meeting a goal or missing a deadline just conditions you to try less next time as you’ll expect the same result. Instead, try to focus on your successes, even when you miss your mark. Even something that may seem unrelated like reaching out to a support network is a success because that exemplifies your desire to succeed and your drive to grow and overcome your personal barriers. And yes, that’s exactly what you’re doing right now. It may not feel like it, but even making this post is a win and you should be proud of it.

So, that’s what I’ve got to offer. Apologies for the long-winded reply, but sometimes my thought process can get away from me. I sincerely hope that the replies in this thread help you to find the answers to the questions you’re seeking so that you can overcome whatever’s currently blocking your progress. I’m proud of you, and I know you can do it! <3

I’m going to throw some things out here that may, or may not be, relevant.

If you are trying to do something you don’t want to do, then your not off to a great start. Honestly, you may be better focusing on something you do want to do. I’m going to assume this about hobby stuff, rather than gainful employment - that tends to be something you do have to do to survive (it’s generally not something that you want to do, that’s why you get motivated by being paid to do it).

I’m going to also make the assumption from the OP, that this is a learning-by-doing situation, rather than a book-learning one. There are skills that can only be picked up this way, others that you can supplement with book-learning.

Start simple. Others here have said this, but it stands to be re-iterated. If you do something simple and it works, then you’ve got a success. If you do something simple and it fails then you need to examine why it failed. You may already know why, but you can also ask others, or seek out a book - you may not feel like you can pick things up from books, but if you’ve got the insight from a fail then the stuff in books can make more sense. You’ll learn more from a failure than a success, so don’t be afraid to fail. Feel free to fail in private.

Do the dumbest/simplest thing that might work first (providing it’s not hazardous). “Failure is always an option”, so why not embrace it? Put the least amount of effort in an learn from what you find. The flip side is that it might actually work, and you’ll have saved a lot of effort and brain-ache.

Don’t be afraid to go back and improve things you’ve already done if it feels that you have more insight, and you can now do it in a better way. Similarly if you can see what you are doing isn’t going to work out, then take a moment to understand why, and start again in a different direction.

Be aware when talking to others about the skill that people “compile” knowledge. If they’ve done it often enough they will have forgotten how they learnt how to do it, and why they do it the way they do. In general if someone says something prescriptive about how you should proceed they are explaining something they have “compiled”, and it’s the one approach they take - it might not suit you. Don’t be afraid to ask why they do it that way rather than assume it’s the only way.

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