Stuck in a rut – ‘perfectionism’, lack of motivation and no passion

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I wouldn’t exactly call myself a ‘perfectionist’, though other people might. Before I do anything, I have to make a plan of how I’m going to do it, where and when. If I don’t follow that plan I will likely give up on doing anything at all. For example, I want to lose weight – I have written down the specific amount of weight I want to lose, which is fine, and I have written down my meal plan, the days I will go to the gym and what I will do. If I miss, say, Tuesday, I will literally wait till the next Monday to start again. I can’t count the times I have said I will “just start tomorrow” and never did. I have loads of recipe and motivational books, but they hardly get used, and the thing is, I know It would be easier to just stick to the basics. I don’t need fancy books but I want them because I think “okay, this will definitely motivate me this time.” I just want to learn how to stick to the basic stuff I need in life and try not to overcomplicate things which I do all the time. I am constantly stressed because I’m always procrastinating what I should be doing because of how long I spend and trying to get one thing perfect. I put myself down a lot, I think I’m dumb and stupid because I make so many mistakes and I know I need to stop this mentality.

I am bad at sticking to stuff mostly because of my depression. I’ve lost the motivation for all aspects of my life (weight loss goals, life goals), I can’t stick to them because I don’t see the point, perfectionism just makes it even worse. Why should I choose to eat healthy right now and go for a walk when I could order food and lie in bed instead? I know people would say it’s because the actions I take now will affect the future, but I have no clue what I want in the future and can’t really see the point in anything at the moment. I don’t have any passion and don’t know how to develop it. I’m always making excuses to not do everything I should be doing and I know I would be less likely to make those excuses if I was really passionate for what I was working for, but I’m just drifting along not really knowing what I’m doing so I may as well do what I WANT instead of doing what I NEED to do.

Any advice would be appreciated 😃

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi Tasha, i have responded to you before. Now then i am as most of us are guilty of doing the wrong thing, when you're meant to do the right thing

    I worry constantly and at times it can make me very ill. Now LIVE your life, who cares how big/small you are. Does it really matter? I sit on a town council, 2 of our councillors died early on when j was first on the Council in their 30's. Ignore the doubters and enjoy what you can in your lovely iife. I can't. I am waiting for a camera for coeliac disease, i am truly scared. I hate hospitals and this is z camera down the throat. A little bit of what you fancy STILL does you good. So why not? If it's gluten have some for me.

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    • Posted

      Hi Sam, thank you for reading my post and replying to me again 😊 these were just some other thoughts that I didn't ask about on my other post.

      Thanks for your advice, if only it was that simple! but I know I can make it simple if I just stopped worrying so much. yesterday my therapist told me to schedule just one walk and I promised I would do it. but when I got home I was too stressed out by my messy room and spent hours cleaning it and never went for my walk! unnecessary complication

      I wish you the best of luck with your hospital appointment and I'm sorry about what you have dealt with/are dealing with, if you want to message me how it went I would be happy to talk to you

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  • Posted

    This is so sad, sorry you're having to go through this.

    Perfectionism really is a burden. it works it's way into every part of our life and sadly can take over to an extent we think we are in control though in fact, we have lost the control to perfectionism.

    Making intricate plans for absolutely everything initially feels euphoric, it gives us a sense of inner wellbeing, we feel we can tackle anything, (of course it will, we made a perfect plan for it). When that perfect plan falters in the slightest way, we lose faith and resort to giving up. Sadly I know how this feels all too well, as I'm one too.

    Perfectionism can turn against us and become a ritual similar to OCD. We have to make the perfect plan we 'have' to have things just right.

    When depression is present, perfectionism is strong as it's a way out for us to feel better, motivated even, though the depression returns quickly when we think we have failed which only makes us feel more depressed. Perfectionism is not our ally, it is in fact our enemy.

    There are many reasons for it, all different and all exclusive to the individual though it is mainly histrionic i.e. probably been in your life for a very long time, or have witnessed this type of behaviour from a caregiver over a long period.

    Some reasons for this that I've come across are systemic, in that it's a learned behaviour, there may have been others in your family that showed similar traits, it can also be from low self esteem, this also relates to interactions with family members.

    We think that doing things in a perfect way is setting ourselves high standards when in fact, it is setting high standards for others approval mainly from fear of rejection and or abandonment. An example would be an overbearing parent or a distant parent, this will manifest into perfectionism in us to seek approval and the inner conflict of letting another down is too much too to handle, sadly this plays out over & over and spills into other relationships.

    Going over the top as I did with things like planning a meal, ( just setting a table could take up to 2 hrs for 4 people), going back to line up cutlery etc), doing paperwork (to the extent of leaving 3hrs later after everyone had gone home), cleaning, selecting presents, all exhausting.

    When you know you're going too far, please take some time to come into your conscious thought with slow breathing and calm thoughts and continuing to tell yourself that there is a reason why you're doing this. It will be difficult at first as this is the way you've been 'acting out' for a long time, however, with practice, the need will lessen.

    Perfectionism is a soothing mechanism to cover past issues. It is not only exhausting but also debilitating and leaves us with a feeling of failure if we don't meet the expectations and the severe pressures we place on ourselves. Perfectionism can never work long term as we haven't properly dealt with the core issues of why we do it which is tucked away in our subconscious. When those barriers have been pulled down, perfectionists is the last thing we want to be.

    In the meantime, take a look at Schema therapy which goes back to those root causes and deals with them head-on.

    I hope you take things a easier on yourself and that this helps even a little.

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    • Posted

      Hello, thank you for replying. Yes it's a difficult situation to be in unfortunately. I have made so many plans - meal plan, skincare routine, cleaning plan, gym routine etc., spent hours writing them down so they look perfect, and if they don't I have had to re write them all again. If I don't follow these plans properly I get angry at myself. I have definitely developed perfectionism from the environment I live in and I have had it for a few years now, but it is even worse now because I am dealing with depression too.

      I can't think of anyone in my family who has these traits, most of them have the opposite traits actually - messy and cluttered etc., which I find very hard to deal with. I know this is why I have developed such a strong desire to make everything perfect, I live with my dad and brother who are a bit sloppy and messy. Some close family members make fun of me for worrying about cleaning and planning so much, but I feel like I can't help it!

      It's weird because I want everything to be perfect, but my bedroom has been messy for a few days and it often gets like this just a few days after I have cleaned it up. I think this is because I get overwhelmed and stressed with everything, so I end up lying in bed and not doing anything and mess just gathers up on the floor and surfaces, and I don't do anything about it until I feel motivated enough which can sometimes take a long time. It is either spotless or a tip - no in between. Once I get into the mindset of wanting to clean my room, I will spend hours tidying it. I don't know if that is a habit/trait of perfectionism? But my dad always makes it a point to tell me my room is a tip, and asks why I am always asking him to help clean the rest of the house when my room is messy. I understand what he means and I don't want to sound hypocritical by asking him to tidy when MY room is messy, but like I said, I feel that the reason for this is because once I fail on a task, I give up on everything else including tidying my room, I just can't explain it to him.

      I will try the slow breathing and calm thoughts. I have heard and read about mindfulness, but I have never tried it and yet it seems to be a highly recommended solution so I don't know why I keep putting it off. I will look into Schema too - I am positive that most of the problems I deal with now are due to past memories, so I really need to deal with that.

      Thank you so much for your advice 😃

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    • Posted

      Right now there are plates piling up in my room but I don't even want to take them to the kitchen because I feel depressed and lost, sat here not knowing why I should do anything, and I'm too stressed with the mess that I don't know where to start! does that make sense?

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    • Posted

      Go out, walk and find a shop, GET chocolate and think sxx it to the dishes, they're stuff, unless you get chocolate you won't want to do anything. Plates are stuff, you need to feel happy! If not chocolate try wine.

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  • Posted

    Hi lack of motivation is very common in depression so to me it makes sense to work on this first. If you start feeling a little better then it would be easy to lose weight.

    I do think you are someone who likes to control every aspect of your life so maybe cut yourself some slack? None of us are perfect and life is what happens to you whilst you are planning it.

    Years ago in an office I worked in so many went on extreme diets substituting 'bird' food and cut out everything that made life worth living. They always failed and within a week or 2 went back to normal and not only put the weight back on but more as well. Why not generally plan healthy eating but allow yourself some treats as well? This would probably work better. After all thin people eat chocolate, cheese, chips etc. x

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    • Posted

      Hi, yes I definitely need to work on the motivation, it never sticks. I will try and stick to a healthy lifestyle. The only thing that is putting me off is not really having a reason why I should look after myself.. I don't know what I'm doing it for so I end up just going back to the bad habits 😦 Thank you for your advice though x

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  • Posted

    Hi Tasha,

    I just read your post and find out that you are worrying about the unnecessary things. I think as your therapist said go for a walk, I also think that you should enjoy some activities you should go out for a walk and meet friends, you should do the ways to entertain yourself. For me, those things matter which I want instead of what I need but to get what I want I have to do what I need. Don't stress yourself too much just go with the flow and do what you enjoy doing. Life is too short to worry about what or what not, just be thankful for what you have and try to accomplish your goals without going into second thoughts.

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    • Posted

      Yeah I am going to try and focus on the things that are enjoyable so I'm not overthinking all the time. I'm meeting up with a friend tomorrow so I'm excited about that. I struggle with accepting the thoughts that to get what I want I have to work, but me not accepting it is not going to change anything I guess. Thank you for your advice Alex

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