How to Find Motivation When You Have None
Are you having trouble figuring out how to get started overcoming your social anxiety?
Recently, I was reading a Reddit thread on another topic, that contained a little snippet of what I would term “Internet gold.”
What’s Internet gold? To me, that’s the little bit of information that seems incredibly simple, but somehow in it’s simplicity, strikes a chord and sticks with you.
For me, it’s usually a piece of advice that someone is sharing from personal experience about something that worked for them.
In this case, that piece of Internet gold was about the magic of doing just 10 things.
The Reddit user was talking about how to break free from a depressive cycle where you can’t seem to get motivated to get anything done. He said that his mother gave him an amazing piece of advice: Just do 10 things and then stop. He was given this advice at a low point in his life when it seemed like everything was going wrong.
He said he argued with his mom: “But how’s that going to work? I’ll stop after 10 things and never do anymore.” But it turned out he was wrong and his mom was right.
He now has a spotlessly clean house and a good job. And, that this piece of advice, from his mother, was what helped her keep a spotlesslessly clean house too.
Now, I read through an entire Reddit thread of probably 60+ comments and that is the one that stuck with me.
And I started to do it in my own home and my own life. I found myself counting… 1… 2…. 3… It’s addictive, and once you get 10 things done, you’ll start looking for another 10.
What I thought is that this bit of advice could work in all areas of your life, not just keeping your house in order. So, I thought I’d try to apply it to social anxiety and mental health.
The magic of the 10 things rule is that it gets you motivated to start, when something feels overwhelming.
Remember, these 10 things can be incredibly small (and probably should be). All that’s important is that you do 10.
- Eat or drink 10 healthy things in a day.
- Write down 10 positive affirmations to improve your confidence.
- Write down 10 things you are grateful for.
- Do 10 tasks you’ve been putting off because they make you anxious.
- Go for a walk every day for 10 days.
- Do a mindfulness meditation every day for 10 days.
- Contact 10 people you’ve lost touch with but that you’d like to see again.
- Introduce yourself to 10 people at a social gathering.
- Give 10 compliments at a party.
- Ask 10 probing questions during a conversation (and be a good listener).
- If you feel yourself becoming anxious, take 10 deep breaths.
- Intentionally smile at 10 people who cross your path in a day.
- Make small talk with 10 random people.
- Choose 10 books that you will use to overcome your social anxiety.
- Listen to 10 podcast episodes about overcoming social anxiety.
- Apply for 10 jobs (if you are looking for work).
- Create a wardrobe that includes 10 items that make you feel confident.
- Make plans to attend 10 social events over the next calendar year.
- Complete 10 journal prompts about your anxiety.
- Help 10 people in some way (e.g., holding a door, baking a neighbor cookies).
- Do 10 things that make you feel more confident in the morning (e.g., style your hair).
Notice 10 bad habits and stop doing them when you notice them (e.g., biting your nails, saying negative things to yourself).
Remember, the key with the rule of 10 things is that you should work hard to get to the number 10, but then you MUST STOP. The idea is to give you a reprieve… but once you’ve started to gain momentum, you might actually FIND IT HARD TO STOP.
Some of these items might take a bit longer than just picking up 10 things around the house, so I suggest keeping a journal where you list the 10 thing items that you are working on. Keeping a simple tally in a small notebook will give you some direction and accountability on your 10-thing journey.
Sound silly? Perhaps, but often it’s the simplest of ideas that can have the biggest impact. What have you got to lose really? Choose an item from this list or create one of your own and then just get started. And, let me know in the comments when you’ve completed your first “10 things.”