20 Reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

By David Joel Miller.

What is getting in the way of reaching your goals?

Finish line

Reaching Goals.

You started out with a lot of goals you wanted to reach, but along the way, something went wrong.

Things are not turning out the way you wanted them to and are taking longer than you expected.

Sometimes you may feel like that hamster stuck in the wheel, running harder and harder but getting nowhere.

What can you do to finally reach your goals?

Here is my top 20 list of reasons you’re not reaching your goals.

1. Chasing someone else’s goal takes you in the wrong direction.

Make sure your goal reflects your passion in life. Pursuing someone else’s dream for you results in you neglecting your own dreams. Examine the goal you are working towards, are you the one who selected this goal and will reaching it satisfy you. If you are pursuing a goal to make someone else approve of you, it’s not your goal. You won’t be able to put your all into building something that’s not meaningful to you.

2. You’re pursuing the wrong goal.

Chasing money will not get you to love or happiness. Don’t make the mistake of pursuing one goal when what you want is something else. Many people make the mistake of pursuing money thinking this will get them the love and respect of others. Everyone needs enough money to meet their basic needs, but beyond that more money will not necessarily make you happier. Don’t tell yourself your pursuit of money is for your family if it takes you farther and farther away from them.

3. Your goals are fuzzy.

Beware of nebulous goals that are hard to define. You need to write goals down and research them. If your goal is success, you need to know how that success will be measured. Do you want to have a lot of friends? Do you want to do important work? Which would more say success to you, spending years alone in a lab in finding a cure for a rare disease or spending night after night on stage with people laughing at your jokes?

4. You’re waiting for “someday.”

Make inertia work for you. A body at rest requires a lot of energy to get it moving, once you start moving it takes a lot less energy to keep the progress going. Most people, when they reached their retirement years, find that their greatest regrets are not the things they did that didn’t turn out well. The biggest regrets with the things they said they would do something but never got around to doing them.

5. You’re not clear on your priorities.

If the goal you are working towards is not your top priority, it’s likely to keep getting pushed back. What you spend your time on each day is how you spend your life. As the time passes, if you’re not working on the thing you say is your goal, you haven’t made it your top priority. If you’re too busy to act on reaching your goal, then what you have in mind is a fantasy, not a goal.

6. You’ve left out some steps.

You tell yourself your goals to become a professional, a doctor, nurse, or lawyer but you have left school. Before you can be a teacher or any other professional you first must learn. If you don’t seem to be making progress toward your goal, re-examine your plan and see if there are any steps you need to take that you’ve left out of your planning.

7. Trying to do too much.

Trying to rise to the top of a profession requires you to start at the bottom. Whatever you want to accomplish, you must put in the time practicing. Working on too many things at once dilutes your effort. Highly successful people weed out the unimportant things and focus on their top priorities.

8. Trying to reach your goals too fast.

When you look closely at overnight successes, what you often find are people who spent years learning and honing their skills. Don’t be disappointed when reaching your goals takes longer than you expected.

9. You’re using the wrong tools.

Looking for a better paying job, when you require more education or training won’t get you where you want to go. Are the skills you have the ones you need to reach your goal? The world keeps changing. If you’re not updating your skills, they are becoming obsolete.

10. Your goals are negative and punitive.

Set positive goals. The evidence doesn’t support the helpfulness of using negative self-talk or punishing yourself in reaching positive outcomes.

11. You failed to develop your team.

Everyone needs a support system. The journey to reaching goals involves many people. If you want to reach goals, look for teachers, mentors, and companions for your journey. Some things you will need to become an expert on, for other tasks you will need to learn to identify the experts who can support you in your quest.

12. The closer you get to your goal the stronger resistance becomes.

Don’t slack off when you get close to your goal. If you go to college for three years and then quit what do you have? You don’t have a degree. In my lifetime, I’ve known several people who always wanted to write a book. Some of them even had a manuscript tucked away in a drawer. What they didn’t do was write that last chapter, send that book off to the publisher, or learn the skills they would need to publish it themselves. In the early stages of your journey towards your goal you can see the progress but the closer you get to your goal, the more effort it takes to break through that resistance and reach the finish line.

13. You aim low and hit the mark.

Your goals should encourage you to stretch. Many people self-handicap. The set their goals so low that they can’t possibly fail to meet them. If you repeatedly set low goals, you are planning a life of low achievement.

14. You’re not reviewing and updating your goals.

The goals you set in middle school won’t mean much when you are middle-aged. Some of the goals no longer fit you. Reevaluate those goals. If you are no closer, revise your plan. If you met them all, you might have set your expectations too low and need to raise the bar.

15. You’re using the wrong “worry process.”

Some people try to protect themselves from failure by considering every possible thing that could go wrong. They worry endlessly that they’ll make a mistake or something bad will happen. The worry-about-everything approach leaves you paralyzed in inaction. People who reach their goals consider the big possibilities. They use a “worry-enough” process. Once they have thought it through enough, they stop worrying and take action.

16. You talk about your goals rather than working towards them.

Psychologists discovered that people who talk about their goals a great deal get their satisfaction out of discussing those goals with others. As a result, they rarely take significant action. People who reach goals discuss them with fewer others. Limit your discussion of your goals to mentors, advisers and those who can support you in the process. Don’t tell everyone, but do have a few accountability partners who will encourage you to keep working towards your goals.

17. You don’t recognize what you accomplish.

Many people who feel they’re not reaching their goals have failed to recognize all the things that they have accomplished. Your big goals need to be broken down into smaller segments, and you need to recognize each of those smaller goals as you accomplish them. You don’t get a college degree by taking all the classes at once. You take a few classes each semester, and at the end, your payoff is the degree. If you’re writing a book, you write it one chapter, maybe even one paragraph at a time. Pay attention to the things you accomplish. Don’t dismiss your achievements as unimportant. Not giving yourself credit where credit is due will leave you too discouraged to continue your journey towards even larger goals.

18. You have not learned from the mistakes of others.

Whatever goal you are pursuing, make it a practice to look at how others have tried to reach similar goals. Learn from their mistakes, so you don’t have to make them all yourself.

19. You can’t picture what reaching your goals would look like.

High performers can picture what their life will be like once they reach their goal. Olympic athletes practice imagining that perfect performance, then standing on the gold medal stand. If you don’t believe you can succeed, you sow seeds of doubt in your mind. Your mind is likely to protect you by creating that failure you imagine. Avoid fantasy images of sudden wealth and fame. Picture the very real results of long, hard, work towards your goals.

20. You haven’t become your own best friend.

If you don’t like yourself, no matter how many goals you reach, it will never be enough. Spend time getting to know who you are and work on accepting that how you are right now is adequate. Self-acceptance doesn’t lead to complacency. Negative self-thoughts become obstacles in your path to reaching your goals.

Take another look at your goals. Re-examine your plans and your attitudes. Change the things you’ve been doing that are not working and head back out there in your pursuit of the life you want to have.

You will find related posts under –

motivation 

success

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Why you shouldn’t have goals.

By David Joel Miller.

Not having goals makes life simpler.

Have you noticed how many books and blog posts there are about goals and

Setting Goals.

Setting Goals.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

motivation? I can’t even read all the materials on how to set goals, the steps you need to take to reach your goals, and why you may be pursuing the wrong goals. Despite all the efforts to reach a lot of goals everybody who is pursuing those goals seems to be unhappy. Then I run into people who have no goals, and they don’t seem to be in the least bit concerned about their lack of goals. Is it possible that we have it all wrong, could this constant emphasis on pursuing goals be the cause of a great deal of insecurity? Maybe the people who have managed to convince themselves they are incapable of reaching goals are onto something. Here’s a short list of reasons why having goals may not be all that desirable.

Goals take effort.

One of the easiest ways to avoid reaching goals is to avoid putting any effort into them. Don’t set goals in the first place. If by accident you discover that you have some life goals, make no effort in that direction. Especially resist anyone in your life who tries to suggest that you need to have some goals. Ignore the advice and encouragement of parents, partners, family, friends, and especially helping professionals. Avoiding all this goal hoopla will save you a whole lot of effort.

Success in reaching goals comes with responsibility.

As long as you have no goals or if you can convince yourself that you could never possibly achieve a goal any way you could avoid all the responsibility for your life. Success comes with responsibilities. The more you have, the more bills you’ll have to pay. If you have a job, they will want you to show up on a regular basis. Being successful in relationships means one more person you must care about. If you want to avoid responsibility in life accomplishes as little as possible, and the easiest way to avoid success is never to try.

Make lots of goals just don’t pursue them; you will accidentally reach some.

Be careful with that process of creating goals. Especially, don’t ever write down a list of goals. We used to think that the process of writing out goals would put the subconscious to work on creating those goals. Some professionals even believed in universal or subconscious goals that all humans might aspire to reach. Absolutely, do not think about goals and especially avoid writing anything down. Keeping any goals for life out of your mind reduces the risk that you might reach some of those goals without effort, purely because of your subconscious creating them.

Don’t waste time on goal planning.

People with goals get sucked into the whole planning their life process. Do your best to avoid thinking. You know that whole trying to figure out who you are and what you want process, is likely to make your head hurt. Save your time for important things like binge-watching television and frantically worrying about why you don’t have enough friends on social media. Planning and implementing goals will interfere with your vegetating time.

Efforts towards goals can be painful.

Effort at anything can be painful. Have you ever watched any of those exercise videos? Don’t you feel sorry for all those fit and trim bodies? Those people doing all that work, they could have saved themselves a lot of effort by just avoiding the work that is required to reach meaningful goals.

You shouldn’t have to choose your goals.

Choosing is hard. Do you want to be a doctor? Maybe you should be a lawyer? Or maybe you were destined to be a successful businessman. Why should you plan your future? Wait for the letter of acceptance from the medical school to arrive in the mail. Maybe the boss who wants to hire you and pay you lots of money will come knocking on your door. If you’re out going to school or hunting for a job, you won’t be home when opportunity knocks on your door and tells you which kind of success you’re supposed to be.

You were born unmotivated, why change?

When you were little, were there always people wanting you to do something. Somebody bugging you, first to crawl, and then to walk? Remember that whole potty training fiasco? You got through your childhood somehow putting things in your face and doing as little as possible. You probably have avoided a whole lot of work by telling yourself you’re lazy. It’s not your fault; you were born that way. Motivating you has always been somebody else’s job. If your parents couldn’t motivate you, your teachers in school didn’t motivate you, why are you going to try to self-motivate? The time for motivation is once you get a job, then it will be up to your boss to motivate you.

Stay unconscious so you won’t recognize when you reach your goal.

If all else fails, you can avoid any strenuous motivational thinking by staying as unconscious as possible. Drink lots of alcohol, do lots of drugs, and try to avoid straining your brain by thinking. But then if you are extra good at avoiding motivation, you probably didn’t read this, did you?

Still not convinced you should avoid goals? You may be one of those people headed for a successful, happy life. More posts on this topic are at motivation and success.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Why you are indecisive.

By David Joel Miller.

Having trouble deciding?

Indecisive

Indecisive.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Some people make sudden impulsive decisions and regret them later. Other people spend a lot of time trying to decide and may let opportunities pass them by without ever deciding. How is someone supposed to know when to make a quick decision and when to spend a lot of time thoroughly thinking things through?

If you’re one of those people who has difficulty making decisions, there may be some very important reasons why you have those deciding difficulties. Here are some reasons you may be chronically indecisive and what to do about it.

You don’t have all the information you would like.

Unfortunately, almost no one, ever, has all the information they would like. Sometimes the facts don’t turn up until after you made your decision. Think about how important this decision is to the rest of your life. Picking a person to marry, that’s a big decision. Once you’re married, there will be consequences if you try to end the relationship. Other decisions, like what clothing to wear today, will have a lot less importance.

You’re afraid of making the wrong decision.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was a book somewhere that listed all the right decisions and the wrong ones for your life? The difficulty with that is that if I made you up that book, they would be my decisions, not yours. During your life, you’ll need to make a lot of decisions. Some of them will be right, and some of them will be wrong. Bear in mind that not deciding is, in fact, a decision. By not deciding you are deciding to do nothing.

You think you must choose between A and B.

Many people debate for a long time between two choices. Sometimes this is a choice between the best bad choice. Other times it’s a choice between the better good. The first thing to ask yourself is, are there only two choices? Have you artificially limited your alternatives?

Do a little brainstorming and see if there might be other choices. This might be a good time to seek advice from an expert in the field. If this is a once-in-a-lifetime choice, it bears a little indecision. If this is choosing what to have for dinner, don’t starve to death waiting to make your choice.

You’ve developed the habit of avoiding decisions.

If you grew up or have lived in poverty, you may have developed a scarcity mindset. If you spend money on the power bill, you may not have money for food. You may have developed the habit of waiting until the last possible second to decide because your resources are so limited. If that’s a cause of your indecision, work on getting yourself out of that scarce resource situation. Spend less, get a better paying job or a second job, find a way to make ends meet.

You gave up your right to decide.

Some people have avoided decisions by allowing others to decide for them. You may have come from a home where one of your parents made all the decisions. You may have grown up and gotten into a relationship with a partner who is controlling and wants to make all the decisions. You may have been one of those people who has avoided the anxiety of making decisions by numbing yourself out with drugs or alcohol. You can either decide to take back control of your life or decide to do nothing. The choice is up to you.

You don’t trust yourself to decide.

Low self-esteem can result in the inability to make decisions. Lots of people believe they need to always think rationally. Rational can be good. But that gut instinct has a place also. Learn to listen to your feelings, your intuition. For everyday decisions, what to eat, what to wear, you can go with your default choice. For major life decisions spend some time examining your feelings.

You don’t know what your values and goals are.

It’s hard to make decisions when you don’t know who you are and what you want out of life. When we are young, it’s common to be confused about our values. Some people adopt the values of their parents, their society, a political party, or religion. Eventually, most people should ask themselves if they believe this only because their parents did, or because the candidate from their political party told him to believe it.

Once you know who you are, what your core values are, it will be easier to set goals. Make your decisions ones that will take you to your life goals. Just make sure the path you take to your goals is consistent with your values.

You haven’t developed the right decision-making habits.

Making decisions needs to become a habit. Become more conscious of what you choose as you go through your day. Did you watch TV just because it was on? Why did you pick a particular place to go? The big box retailers know that if they get you in the door three times in a row coming to their store will be a habit. If you do something repeatedly without thinking about it, these actions become your habit. Re-examine the things you do out of habit and decide to live life more consciously.

Hard to decide when you don’t know who you are.

You are going to spend your whole life with you. Stop avoiding looking at yourself. You will make mistakes just like everyone else. Your life experiences will shape your life. The thoughts you have repeatedly will be what you believe about yourself and the world. When you know who you are, making decisions becomes less of an effort.

Your mental health is getting in the way of your deciding.

People with untreated depression find they can’t make decisions. If you are high in anxiety, your fear may be using so much of your brain; there’s nothing left to make decisions with. Your overthinking may have become a disease. If you have a mental, emotional, behavioral, or substance use problem, it will keep you from making good decisions. Get help for your thinking, feeling, and behaving issues, and making decisions will become far easier.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

David Joel Miller MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Get more done.

By David Joel Miller.

Ways to be more productive.

Garden in a boat.

Get More Done.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Would you like to get more done?

Do you feel like you are having difficulty being productive?

Here are some simple tips to improve your productivity and help you get more done each and every day. Try introducing some of these ideas, one by one and see if your productivity doesn’t increase.

Maintain a healthy blood sugar – energy level.

Your brain burns a lot of calories.  By some estimates up to 25% of all the calories, you will use every day are burned into your brain. Not having enough fuel on board reduces your ability to do work. Lack of blood sugar results in fuzzy-headed thinking.

Kids who skip breakfast do more poorly in school.  Adults who don’t eat something early will find that their will suffer.  Start your day off with a healthy breakfast.  Being productive requires energy for both your brain and your body.

Get enough sleep.

Most people become chronically sleep deprived.  You may be able to get by on reduce sleep for a single night, or even a couple of nights.  But if you continue to work with less than enough sleep, your productivity will decline.  Chronically cutting your sleep short is not a way to improve your productivity.

Eat healthily.

Getting things done requires maintaining your body.  It is not enough to simply take in calories.  Those calories need to include nutrients necessary to maintain health.  Many people’s diets are high in sugar, fat and low nutrient ingredients.

Get exercise. Move around.

Make sure you get plenty of exercise.  Take frequent breaks.  Get up and move around.  Staying in one position too long can wear you out.  Today more and more people work at desks jobs, working with papers, computers, and ideas.  The result of this inactivity is a body that can’t support the brain that is doing so much of your work.

Eliminate what distracts you.

Distractions are the chief enemy of productivity.  Try to eliminate the distractions in your environment.  Close unneeded Internet windows.  If possible, use music or white noise to eliminate the distraction of conversations or other noises in your environment.  Cut down on the need to attend to things other than your main task at hand.

Practice focusing.

Focusing, paying attention, is a skill that needs to be practiced.  Young children rarely have good attention skills.  The way those attention paying skills develop is by practice.  Work on improving your ability to pay attention.  Notice when your mind is wandering and quickly bring it back to the thing you need to attend to.

Pursue your passions. What interests you?

The majority of all learning is emotional, not intellectual.  You learn things that interest you.  Pursue your passions.  Think about the things that interest you and incorporate those into your work. Think about learning a new skill, something that might excite you.

Take breaks. Chunk work.

Productivity declines the longer you stay on a given task.  Break time-consuming projects up into smaller chunks.  Take short breaks between each chunk. Early in the day, you’re likely to be able to do longer periods of work on a particular project.  As the day progresses you may need to take more frequent breaks or switch to other tasks.

Recharge your batteries. What fills you up mentally?

Productive people invest some time in recharging their batteries. Use your time off, your breaks and lunch to do good self-care. Read something for fun, listen to your favorite music, make time to talk to friends and coworkers.

For the big projects, plan, prioritize and break up.

Some projects can be overwhelming.  Starting off not knowing where you’re going can result in poor productivity.  For large projects start by developing a plan.  What will need to be done first, second and so on?  Break large elements down into smaller pieces.  It helps to estimate how much time each part will take.  Pay attention to things you need to complete before you can start the next phase.

Have a clear picture of the desired outcome.

A lot of effort can be wasted when you are not sure what you are trying to accomplish.  Write out some goals for the project you are working on.  It helps to run these goals by your boss or your customer.  You have not accomplished much if you created something that doesn’t meet another’s needs.  You will work a lot more efficiently if you have a clear definition of what you are trying to accomplish.

Get the help you need.

Rather than trying to do everything yourself, identify those things where you could use others expert help.  Few people are skilled at everything.  It is a lot more efficient to get help from people who have expertise in areas where you are less skilled.

Try these tips for improved productivity.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is Amotivational Syndrome?

By David Joel Miller.

Have you lost your drive or your desire to do something?

unmotivated

Low Motivation.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Amotivational Syndrome is often connected with the smoking of marijuana.  This is something quite different from what we see in depression.  In depression, people lose the desire to do things they use to make them happy.  We call that loss of pleasure anhedonia.

In Amotivational Syndrome people seem to spend more time looking inward and contemplating things and less time actively doing them.  This syndrome was originally recognized in younger, marijuana smokers who were heavier daily users.

Does marijuana smoking cause loss of motivation?

Things that are, or were, associated with Amotivational Syndrome include the development of apathy and loss of ambition.  Heavy smokers just seem to become indifferent and stop caring about anything except smoking.  They seem to have fewer goals and decreased effectiveness.  Problems with attention and concentration have also been attributed to heavy marijuana smoking and Amotivational Syndrome.

Many of these characteristics are seen in daily, heavy, marijuana smokers.  What is unclear is whether the marijuana smoking causes this cluster of symptoms or whether those people who are low in motivation like to smoke marijuana.  At one point it was commonly accepted that some marijuana smokers are likely to suffer from Amotivational Syndrome.

Not all marijuana smokers are low in motivation.

Because of the many famous, popular people, who have been reported to be regular marijuana smokers, the connection between smoking marijuana and low motivation has come into question. It is unclear how common this condition is, or even if this is a valid syndrome.  Amotivational Syndrome has not been reported in countries other than the United States.  There’s some question whether Amotivational Syndrome is, in fact, a cultural rather than a mental condition.

Animals on marijuana don’t lose motivation.

Laboratory studies of both humans and animals have not found evidence of the Amotivational Syndrome for those using marijuana.  Amotivational Syndrome or loss of goals and direction has been found in many groups of young people who are not using marijuana on a regular basis.  This has led some writers to conclude that Amotivational Syndrome is a personality characteristic rather than the result of smoking marijuana.  It may be that those people with low motivation are attracted to using marijuana and other intoxicating substances.

One other possibility that has been suggested is that those people who are under the influence of drugs and alcohol or other substances may have low motivations to do anything while under the influence.  What we may be seeing in those people who were described as having Amotivational Syndrome may, in fact, be the effects of intoxication and withdrawal from marijuana or other substances.

As with the other things we are calling a mental illness or symptoms of a mental illness Amotivational Syndrome would need to interfere with your ability to work or go to school, your relationships, your enjoyable activities or cause you personal distress for it to be the focus of clinical attention. Otherwise, while you may have lost some motivation you will not be identified as someone needing clinical assistance.  If the only time you have low motivation is when you are under the influence of marijuana or another drug this would be diagnosed as drug intoxication.

For more on this and related topics see the other posts on counselorssoapbox.com under        Drug Use, Abuse, and Addiction

FYI These “What is” sometimes “What are” posts are my efforts to explain terms commonly used in Mental Health, Clinical Counseling, Substance Use Disorder Counseling, Psychology, Life Coaching and related disciplines in a plain language way. Many are based on the new DSM-5; some of the older posts were based on the DSM-IV-TR, both published by the APA. For the more technical versions please consult the DSM or other appropriate references.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Boost your willpower.

By David Joel Miller.

Simple ways to increase your willpower.

Willpower and Temptation

Boost your willpower
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Willpower, both the making yourself do unpleasant things and the “won’t power” type where you have to pass up things that might not be good for you, are often in short supply. Some people just seem to have plenty of willpower and other people are constantly running out.

Whatever supply of willpower you have, it seems to be at its peak in the early part of the day and then declines as the day moves on. Start your day with a good supply and you will get a lot more go out of your willpower. Here are some ways to recharge that willpower supply of yours.

Get more sleep for more willpower.

Lack of sleep, an adequate amount, can cause all sorts of problems. When you are tired you do not feel like doing things, particularly things that will require a lot of willpower. People who get enough sleep appear to have an extra dose of willpower as a result of that dose of sleep.

Sleep is the “low hanging” fruit of self-care. Add in a healthy diet, some exercise and some emotionally healthy things and your willpower is bound to expand.

Improve your support system and improve your willpower.

Having people on your side helps stretch your willpower. People who support you can encourage you to do the hard things that require more willpower. They can also support you in avoiding those things that are not healthy. People who have lots of friends are less troubled about willpower than those who have few friends.

Make sure these friends are positive. Remember that resisting peer pressure thing? Well, resisting peer pressure uses up tons of willpower. Having good friends that support you in doing the right thing will get you extra miles out of your existing willpower.

Manage your blood sugar to manage willpower.

Low blood sugar makes you feel tired and irritable. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining proper blood sugar can both help you have the energy to do the hard stuff. Not feeling out of sorts can also help you avoid the arguments and conflicts that come more frequently when you are low on brain fuel.

Careful though, over the long-term, high blood sugars, the kind that can lead to or be the result of diabetes, can cause you to just not want to do anything. Not sure? Talk to your doctor about your blood sugar. Do not wait until your body is totally out of go to get that diabetes diagnosis. Knowledge is power, especially in the health area.

Create a schedule – making choices uses up willpower.

People report that they have less difficulty with willpower early in the day. The first few things go well. But as you do more and more your willpower gets used up. Each time you have to make another decision you use some more of that precious willpower.

Start your day with a lot of those willpower-sapping decisions already done. End your day by making a list of the things you are going to need to do tomorrow. Each successive act you take needs less willpower as you just keep working your way down the list.

Establish routines to maximize willpower.

Routines become automatic default settings in your brain. If you do things in a certain order, that takes the pressure off you to decide what to do first, second and so on. Use your daily outline as a tool to propel you through the rest of the day’s activities without having to think each choice through all over again.

Write out your goals and look at this list often.

Out of sight out of mind especially applies to things that are harder to do. Make a written list of goals. Reward yourself as you accomplish each goal on your list. Reminding yourself why you are doing things today that are hard to do because you are working towards a set goal, can make staying on task much easier.

Rearrange your environment to reduce temptations – people, places, and things.

Does it take willpower to stay focused? Reduce the distractions in your environment. Do not go to places where you will be tempted and then blame your fall on your lack of willpower. Bakeries are not places to stay on your diet and bars will not be good places to help you avoid drinking.

Do you get distracted by social media or videos? Close the windows, turn off the set and see how much less willpower it takes when you are in the place to do what needs doing.

If you slip do not stay down – the F&@*it’s.

A single slip in your willpower is not an excuse to say that you just “can’t” do something. Learn from that slip and make the changes you need to make in order to stay on track. Giving up after one set back is a way to shrink your willpower.

Break tasks up into manageable chunks.

Facing one huge task can overwhelm anyone’s store of willpower. Break that task up into small pieces. Need to write a report – make up a list of the steps and check one or two off each day. Over time you will make amazing progress.

Trying to improve your life? You can’t do everything in one day. Make a few small changes and then practice these over and over. Of course, if your life is way far out of control, like addiction or homelessness you may need to do some of the large work first.  Getting off drugs or finding a safe place to stay is the first job. Making more friends and eating healthy can wait till you’re off the drugs.

Those are some of the suggestions I have found that can help expand that most precious resource willpower. Have you found any other things that help you to have an adequate supply of willpower?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Problems staying motivated?

By David Joel Miller

Do you keep running out of motivation?

Running out of motivation

Running out of motivation?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

At the beginning of a new project or a new relationship, we all think we have plenty of motivation. Down the road, the motivation runs out and the forward progress stops. Here are some reasons you may be short on motivation and ways to overcome those obstacles.

What is keeping you from staying motivated and how do you overcome these obstacles?

The task is bigger than you thought.

Ten minutes jobs often take all day. At the start, we think things will be easier than they really are. When launching out on a new endeavor spend some time planning all the parts and how long each one will take. Having a written plan can reveal some of the steps you are not thinking of and can help you get a more realistic idea of how long something will really take.

Doing one large task straight through may be more than your daily ration of motivation will cover. Try breaking the task up into “chunks” bit size portions. Do a small part of this larger task each day and make it a point to notice the progress you are making.

Underestimated the time needed to complete this project reduces motivation.

If you underestimate the number of steps involved in getting this project completed it is likely that your time element is way off. Having taken a closer look at the steps involved you can devise a more realistic plan.

Wearing yourself out reduces motivation.

Failure to do good self-care and reward yourself along the way can take all the joy out of moving towards your goal. Trying to do too much too quickly is a formula to use up all your motivation.

Try to work in bursts with frequent breaks or days off in-between.

Lack an essential skill interferes with your motivation.

Not having the needed skills makes everything you do harder. In life, as in business, we sometimes need to add more skills to our repertoire. Developing a needed skill can result in accomplishing more in less time.

When things are not working, your working harder will wear you out while accomplishing nothing. Do not try to push over a stone wall by pushing harder. Get a bigger bulldozer.

If you are short on motivation you may need to work on yourself.

If you have “anger issues” or suffer from depression, an unhappy relationship, substance abuse, or another personal problem you need to get help for these issues.

Take a good look at yourself and you may see it is those personal issues that you have avoided working on that are interfering with your progress. Remove those obstacles and your motivation can spring back.

Develop the most essential tool for every job – you.

It is hard to stay motivated if you are working now for something later.

It is hard to stay motivated now when all the payoffs are way off in the distance. Set small goals along the way and reward yourself as you reach them. Breaking up the task into its elements makes it more manageable and giving yourself small rewards along the way keeps you motivated.

You won’t stay motivated if your heart is not in the task.

If you are doing something to please another and this not what you want, you will continue to run out of motivation. Just because you “can” do something does not mean you “should” do it. Pick goals in life that are consistent with who you are and what you want. Look for things that you feel passionate about and your motivation will stay high more of the time.

Small rewards will not motivate you.

Low motivation comes from having rewards at the end of projects that are not big enough. Make sure that the goal you are working towards really matters to you. Do not set your sights on getting a particular job if you do not want to work there once they hire you. Avoid getting a degree in something that you will not enjoy doing, no matter how well that field may pay.

Especially avoid going after a partner just because they are popular and other people want to them. For rewards to motivate you then need to be the kind of rewards that are special to you.

Not liking the process interferes with motivation.

You may want to lose some weight but if you hate the gym or find the exercise you are doing painful you will not keep it up. Pick life activities that you enjoy doing and the work will motivate you. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Look for people you love to be around and you will stay motivated much longer.

Using pain to motivate you won’t work.

Pain only works to motivate people to avoid the activity. If you want the result you can put up with the hardships along the way because you use the reward at the end to motivate you.

Trying to beat yourself into motivation is setting yourself up for failure. Our brains are wired to avoid pain and the more you beat yourself up trying to make yourself do something, the harder it will become to stay motivated.

Do not use pain to try to force yourself to be motivated.

Have you experienced difficulty staying motivated? Have you used any of these motivation-enhancing methods? What other ways have you found to keep yourself motivated and moving forward?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.