ADHD On Campus: How I Got Motivated

Where is the "Motivation Fairy" when I need her?


Filed Under: Deadlines and Procrastination, ADHD Time Management
Friendships and ADHD ADDitude Magazine

When I see myself as content and motivated, I become just that. You are how you act.

Christine Brady, college student with ADHD

When I was asked to write about how I’ve balanced school and my social life with my attention deficit disorder (ADD ADHD), my first thought was that I had been mistaken for someone who was actually balancing school and a social life successfully.

The reality is that, without correction, I tend to veer off in the direction of social life and let my schoolwork do itself. Then I wonder why I’m always behind.

Motivation to do otherwise is the key to getting my act together. How, though, do I motivate myself to be motivated? Knowing I have talent, vision, and intellect, I wonder why I am inconsistent in my schoolwork, and the answer is obvious. At times, I just don’t care.

The choices I have in my life either motivate me, or they don’t. I choose to be lazy, but why? Why am I always tired THEN? Why am I suddenly sick AT THAT MOMENT? I know it’s not what I DO during the day that makes me weary; it’s what I neglect to do. What’s important is just to do it.

What works for me is to envision exactly who I want to be and go from there. When I see myself as content and motivated, I become just that. You are how you act. When I smile, the world smiles with me; when I cry, I hate my life; when I’m tired, the world’s boring to me; and when I’m angry, everyone is annoying.

Considering the fact that I know these things, isn’t it reasonable to assume that I also know how to motivate myself? But instead, I have to work on my thought process. The longer the day goes on, the more I find myself pushing away essential tasks and acting on the worthless ones. The result? I finally come to the conclusion that I MUST study and work, and NO MATTER WHAT, I have to do it. But then, I get home and suddenly I don’t. That determination is gone.

The ancient enemy of motivation is procrastination, and its modern name is ‘television.’ I say to myself, ‘I’m soooo tired. I don’t want to work now. I’ll do it later. I’ll watch a movie to rest and gather the energy that I need to work.’ Lack of willpower, that is my problem. I make the choice to watch TV, knowing I’ll pay for it later, but do it anyway. I know, deep inside my inner slug, that resting so that I won’t be ‘soooo tired’ will never accomplish what I want. I end up sitting around waiting for nothing, when I could have taken action.

So how do I replace laziness, denial, and self-defeating behavior with motivation and action? I wish there were a Motivation Fairy, who could drop by and leave a bit of willpower under my pillow. Unfortunately, I have to work for it... darn. I have to strive to wake up ‘on the right side of the bed,’ make goals for positive steps and actions, and... here’s the tough part... actually DO them!

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