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Inside a dark cave in Agrabah, I find the golden lamp.
Gently rubbing its side, a stream of dark purple smoke begins to pour from its spout.
Glancing up to an all-powerful genie, ready to grant me any wish of my choosing!
“You get three wishes, what will your first one be?” His loud booming voice echos inside the cave.
“I wish I had the motivation today…”
The genie ponders for a moment then finally speaks: “Sorry, I can’t bring things back from the dead.”
I hang my head…
“If I could just find the motivation, I could get done all the things I want to get done.”
“If I could learn to stay motivated, I might finally reach that goal.”
I’ve heard every variation of the word motivation in a sentence, and it’s likely because at some point in my life I also spoke the same sentence.
But I’m about to give you some truth on that tricky little thing we call motivation. Especially if you have ADHD and lack motivation.
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It’s not real.
It’s real as in when you finally feel all the pressure and are unable to avoid the thing you’ve put off, magically motivation appears to help you get it done.
But in the scheme of meeting your goals, motivation doesn’t exist.
Remember when I said willpower wasn’t real? Add motivation to its family of imaginary friends.
As a Mom, but more importantly, as a mom with mental illness, I am always searching for that push that everyone else seems to possess that I lack. The endless search for the difference between ADHD and laziness.
I call it motivation. Sometimes I say it’s willpower.
What is it really?
It’s not that I lack discipline. It’s that my brain literally has an on/off switch I can’t always control and definitely can’t always find. So somedays I end up completely stuck.
As an ADHD Adult, What do you do?
As an ADHD mother or any human, how do you continue to move forward with any goal, big or small if you lack motivation?
You create momentum.
Creating momentum doesn’t look like getting it all done in one fell swoop. It doesn’t look like turning around and all of a sudden you have the energy to accomplish that giant to-do list. If you are having difficulty getting motivated, that will just be impossible.
It looks like checking one thing off each day and moving onto the next. It seems like baby steps, after baby steps, after baby steps.
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Waiting for motivation to strike, is like searching for that lamp in a cave in Agrabah.
It’s wasteful. And ultimately, a giant heap of motivation can’t always switch my brain onto the on position.
Motivation with ADHD and other mental illness just won’t work that way.
I have many good reasons to write every day. I have plenty of want and need to continue moving forward. To exercise, to choose healthy every option I get. It doesn’t always mean I possess the ability at the time to see it through. That requires discipline.
What does discipline look like on days when my ADHD brain shuts off?
It looks like one load of laundry, not five.
It’s writing 400 words on a white screen instead of 1200.
It’s looking at my bank account balance, even if I can’t fathom budgeting until Friday.
It’s the ability to build momentum in small strides, even on days you don’t feel like it.
I’m sure you’ve heard it told before that “you can’t wait to have time, you must make time.”
Well, you can’t wait for motivation, you must create momentum.
So ask yourself;
What is one thing I can do today to move me in the direction I want to go?Regardless of the stress of my life. Or that I have 10,000 things that need to be done before I will get there…what is just one of them?
Then do it again tomorrow.
And keep going.