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LF Help - Piecing My Life Together, Becoming a Man.

PriestPriest Registered User regular
edited April 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello Penny-Arcade.

It's little surprise to me, or many in this generation of coddlement, that I am a 24 year old Manchild. I live with my parents at the moment. I have had medical issues for about 5 years now that have hindered my ability to function. As a result, I am still 2.5 years from graduating College. I found out rather swiftly that Private and Public Sector Engineering is not what I want to do / a shitty workplace, and am turning my Engineering degree towards a Teaching License to become a Tech Ed teacher.

To that end though, I'm still a Manchild. Willpower and Motivation are hard to come by. For those of you who have experienced this, what helped you get your shit together and start growing up again? I was a 4.0 High School Student who regularly did 12 hour days with extra curriculars, and had a stellar first two years of college. I'm looking for ways to help develop better habits (Sleeping, Eating, Hygiene) that I used to have, but no longer. Along these lines, I'm trying to develop skills to become a better "Renaissance" Man, both to get a better job while finishing college, and to live a more fulfilling life. I have a diverse level of interests, but I find my free time gets easily wasted by computer games and internet browsing. Lately I've taken a shine to doing some CAD work for fun (Designing Houses).

What helped you gentlemen develop better daily habits? I need to turn my life around in the worst way, and I don't want to wait until after I graduate and have more free time to do it. I lead a busy life between working 35 hours a week and going to school full time, and this upcoming summer I think would be a boon.

I often get into the mindset of calling myself lazy, but there is a fundamental difference that I often have trouble coping with. The poor use of free time is often an escape related to the medical issues, rather than laziness, but it snowballs rapidly.

How can I recapture Willpower and Motivation?

Thanks

(Only honest and helpful advice please, if you're here just to say "Man the fuck up," move along, you have no clue what I'm discussing. I'm here to figure things out, and just telling me "do it," is no meaningful answer. Translation: SE++ is ---> that way.)

Priest on

Posts

  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Here's the deal:

    "Man the fuck up" is crappy advice because it's kind of callous and overly dismissive, but that doesn't mean it's wrong. The most difficult thing about transitioning from being a teenager to a college student to an actual, reasonably-self-actualized adult is the steady removal of structures that encourage or force you to excel.

    Like, you want to have better eating habits. Well, why don't you have them? Shit ain't particularly complicated. You have a bunch of interests, but spend all your free time reading websites. There's no deeply zen solution to that "problem."

    The good news is that you're doing well at college while working nearly full time; you must be doing something correctly in terms of motivation/time management, because that's a pretty difficult situation to successfully manage.

    If it's feasible and you can afford it you might consider cutting back on your work hours. Obviously you'll have less money, but it's pretty difficult to do anything other than school and work when you're trying to do both full-time.

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    stand up! It was the smallest on the list but
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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Install software to block your favourite websites. Install linux instead of windows because you can't get so many games, plus you'll learn something.

    As EIYNP says, working nearly full time and also studying hardly qualifies you as a hopeless procrastinator.

    CelestialBadger on
  • UsagiUsagi Feminazgul ~*special snowflake*~Registered User regular
    First of all, don't dig on SE.

    Secondly, the thing you have to remember is that a habit takes time to develop, the number you'll hear spouted most often is 21 days but the length of time is really more dependent on you as a person. Easy things like brushing your teeth or taking a daily shower should happen pretty quickly, getting a new groove on for studying and sleeping might take a while longer, and eating habits even longer still.

    While you're developing the habit it's important to keep doing the the activity at the same time, in the same manner. Consistency is key, so you have to keep doing the things seven days a week, even if you really want to stay up late Friday, sleep in Saturday and skip the shower, you still have to keep your routine if you want it to stick.

    Jormungandr? Damn near killed 'er!
  • MalgarasMalgaras Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Before you dismiss my next post after reading the next sentence, take a minute and hear me out. As much as "do it" seems like a meaningless answer, for me at least, it's been the correct one. I graduated from college about a year ago and in a lot of ways got stuck in the same mindset you're in right now. I had all the plans of things I wanted to do, but found myself throwing time away coasting. Thankfully, I'm slowly clawing my way out at the moment.

    The short version is, there is no way to motivate your self to be more motivated. (There's a good reason that sentence doesn't make any sense) At a certain point, it just sorta "clicked" with me. There's a lot of stuff I wanted to do. I had the time to do it. Why wasn't I? I've still got a long ways to go, but my process has been pretty much:

    When I think of something I'd like to do or try, I take an action (preferably an irreversible one) directly towards it on the spot. I don't try to "talk myself into it" or "convince myself to do it" or "psych myself up for it", I just decide on the spot to do it and take some sort of action towards it before I have a chance to change my mind. Want to learn to do X? Sign up for a class. Right now. And I mean RIGHT NOW. Read the rest of this post when you're done.

    For example, when I left college, I lost touch with almost all of my friends and I've been working on rebuilding my social life from scratch essentially. How'd I get started with that? I hopped online on the spot, found some local groups doing various things I was interested in, and signed myself up.

    Earlier this week, I was busy thinking that I really should start working on getting in shape. Five minutes later, I was signed up for the PAX East 2013 fitness group. But then I was thinking, there's not a whole lot of commitment in that. Fast forward 10 minutes, and I had signed myself up for a Cycling class at a local sporting goods store.

    This morning rolls around and I think "I should probably go get some exercise today". I stop what I'm doing, hop in the car, drive to the park and start a lap around the lake. That's how I got my exercise this morning.

    That's how I get things going now and it's worked pretty well so far. If I think too much, I rationalize myself back into the routine, so I don't give myself the chance. After doing things for a while, it get's easy to stick with it, but for that initial kick out the door, don't think, just "do it".

    Malgaras on
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  • zerg rushzerg rush Registered User regular
    Priest wrote:
    I need to turn my life around in the worst way, and I don't want to wait until after I graduate and have more free time to do it. I lead a busy life between working 35 hours a week and going to school full time, and this upcoming summer I think would be a boon.

    I often get into the mindset of calling myself lazy

    I'm curious about the level of expectation you have set for yourself. Most people hear "practically full time job and full time student, with medical problems" and consider you a very productive individual. If you're disappointed about not learning foreign languages in your offtime, or not eating "as well as you should eat" or sleeping "as well as you should sleep", I wonder what your expectations are. Most people don't eat or sleep or self-actualize as much as they should. There is a reason that a majority of the population is overweight and a super-majority of the population reports sleep deprivation at least once a month. What you're describing is perfectly normal.

    So, what do you consider a realistic for you to achieve? Why do you consider it realistic?
    How can I recapture Willpower and Motivation?

    To directly answer your question, I'll give you my strongest motivational trick.

    Whenever I try to pawn something off onto my future-self ("I'll go work out at the game in another hour"), I assume that I won't ever do it. Basically, I consider my future-self as a completely separate entity that I cannot control and that the bargains my current-self makes are non binding on future-self. This means that if I ever want to get the thing done ("going to the gym, taking a shower, cooking a nice meal, etc") the only time I'm allowed to commit to is right now. I know the phrase is "It's now or never" is a bit cliche, but it's a strong motivator for me.

  • Limp mooseLimp moose Registered User regular
    The things I tell the people who work me about time management are the following.

    Plan, Schedule, Win.

    Without a plan to achieve what you want you will never succeed. Without a time table to stick to you will falter. If you do the first two things you will always win. Even if you fall just short of your goals you will still be better off then where you are now.

    Some practical advice for you that has worked for me in a couple areas.

    Fitness, Diet and exercise will have a dramatic impact on energy levels and self worth. Start here. If you don't know how to cook force yourself to learn and start eating good healthy meals (my personal rule of thumb = If it is plant, animal, or cheese it is probably good to eat. If it comes in a box or I don't know what the ingredients are leave it alone. I eat a sort of paleo diet and love it. Your mileage may vary.) Even if you start out just doing it one day a week. Work up to two days then three ect. Once you are cooking for yourself all week long you will have a sense of accomplishment and chicks dig dudes who aren't fat and can cook delicious treats for them. It also makes the time you do eat out that much more awesome. Kick fast food for a month and watch your energy level soar.

    Work outs. Same thing here. Set a goal and make a plan on how you want to do it. My personal example was I wanted to score a perfect score on the military's physical fitness test. I always sucked at the pushups section so I said I want to be able to do 100 pushups in 2 minutes within 90 days. Every day I would do one more push up than the day before and I would take weekends off. I started with 20 and 90 days later I was doing 100. I also made myself do 10 every time I used a computer. (this added about 200 push ups spread throughout the day most days at work.)

    If you fix your diet and exercise and get that part of your house in order the rest of these things come easier.

    Work/School goals. Get a calendar and plan out when you want to graduate by. Put the classes you are taking on there and plan out your time. You will be amazed at how much peace of mind this brings when you put some thought into how you are going to achieve that goal. You get a syllabus put tests and project due dates on there and then work backwards to plan out when you need to start studying. ( I make all my subordinates do this for their qualifications at work and they all make their quals on time.)

    Improve your mind. To quote game of thrones. “A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.” So read books. Most people cruise the internet before bed. Stop doing this get a book. Whether its on a kindle/ipad/or real book and read for at least 30 minutes before bed. One this gets you ready for sleep and two makes you smarter. All great men through history read a crap load of books. It usually defined their childhoods and adult life. If you need suggestions on books the internet can probably help.

    Improve your relationships. Cultivate friends and a social circle. Instead of refreshing your email for the 20th time today actually take the time to write a letter/email to someone you haven't heard from in awhile or would like to hear from more often. Don't send a 3 sentence text/facebook message send a no shit letter with the intent of sharing information about your life. The more friends you have the less likely you will be to waste your time on frivolous things.

    And finally Sack up. Move out of your damn parents house you're a grown ass man. (living in a shit hole crappy apartment is still better than living with your parents. Unless your parents are millionaires and you have a guest house. Even then...) Having happy thoughts about growing up isn't gonna make any of this happen or yourself feel better. You have a medical issue. That sucks. That will probably make things in life harder. Too bad. You can give up and be miserable and live off your parents or take control of your life and be a man.

  • BethrynBethryn Registered User regular
    zerg rush wrote: »
    To directly answer your question, I'll give you my strongest motivational trick.

    Whenever I try to pawn something off onto my future-self ("I'll go work out at the game in another hour"), I assume that I won't ever do it. Basically, I consider my future-self as a completely separate entity that I cannot control and that the bargains my current-self makes are non binding on future-self. This means that if I ever want to get the thing done ("going to the gym, taking a shower, cooking a nice meal, etc") the only time I'm allowed to commit to is right now. I know the phrase is "It's now or never" is a bit cliche, but it's a strong motivator for me.
    Quotin' dis for emphasis.

    It's also important to focus on continuation. It's very easy to assign a lot of value to starting a project, and then when you take a break on it, not assign much to continuing the project. Continuing something you've had to take a break on - hi weekends - is difficult, and you have to realise that continuing is just as valuable as starting. Starting something implies a change in habits a lot of the time, and that's why we think it's valuable, but continuing something is just habit as normal, and is undervalued.

    bethryn.png
  • FightTestFightTest Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    edit.. nm read the rest of your post. I was going to suggest volunteering but then realized you already have a job and go to school. I don't know how you maintain that and still feel like you're off track.

    FightTest on
    MOBA DOTA.
  • Actinguy1Actinguy1 Registered User regular
    I had this problem...at the age of 20, I had wrecked a long-term relationship, dropped out of college, got fired from a 20-year-old's dream job for not showing up for an entire month, got evicted from my apartment...I was living in my car. I had a job making six bucks an hour. I WANTED more, but I didn't feel any motivation to put forth the effort.

    Then I got a letter saying my car insurance was being cancelled because I couldn't afford it. It was probably only a matter of time until the car I was living in got repossessed.

    And it was like a light went off in my head: hey, dumbass, join the Air Force! I had to lose 30 pounds just to be considered, but once I suddenly saw a way out, that 30 pounds fell off like nobody's business.

    That was eight years ago. I saw the world...living in South Korea, Portugal, California, and, yes, even Iraq. I made a comfortable living. I met the woman of my dreams, and became the kind of man that she would actually marry. After my six year contract was up, I went back to school (the military PAID me a salary to study whatever I wanted!), got my degree, married my girl, and I was just offered a six-figure job last week to do what I love to do.

    I went from homeless to six-figure job in eight years.

    Depending on your medical issues, the military may not be the option for you...but it is NEVER too late to turn your life around and start running full speed towards your goals!

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Here's what worked for me:
    You choose what your life is going to be. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life farting around on the internet, or do you want to spend it living? Every time something scares you (but is otherwise considered to be a safe-ish activity), do it.
    Travel.
    Make friends with strangers.
    Try to do something new every day.
    Understand that you will fail often, and learn from that.
    There is no one way to live your life, and none of us can do it for you. YOU must choose your own adventure. You don't want to live someone elses life. So you live at home? So you're still in college? You're young and capable, and never let anyone tell you differently.
    Also, you do the stuff first, the motivation comes later. Just think of some of the sad people you see muddling around in their 40's/50's - do you want to be them? If no, that's your motivation.
    EDIT: Oh, and being a good person and a MAN is often hard. Don't worry if you have some trouble.

    schuss on
  • EuphoriacEuphoriac Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    As someone currently in the process of improving his life after a truly horrific year and a half, I can echo much of what's been said here as effective.

    However I have one thing to add. It's helped me to use the 'Man the fuck up!' phrase as a sort of mini-boost whenever I start to feel myself getting complacent. I mean I used to be the kind of guy who would make a detailed list and use the ACT of making that list as an excuse to not enact it; 'Oh, well I have the plan now, I can do it any time I want!' so it wouldn't get done.

    At that point now, I simply re-iterate everything said here encompassed in a simple phrase; 'Man the fuck up and do it now!' And it's enough to get me off my computer chair and into the things that need doing. Right now I'm working on my horribly over-grown rear garden, and even though it was hard at first it really gets easier.

    You WILL need to use things like this less as time goes by.

    And holy shit the satisfaction of a job well done is better than any kill-streak or achievement.

    Spoiler:

    Good luck man. And don't let anyone, and I mean anyone bring you down. This includes you! You work hard AND study whilst dealing with a medical problem. You're a damn sight better than alot of people already, so who knows where you can take yourself if you can break through the clouds!

    Euphoriac on
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  • illigillig Registered User regular
    Figure out what drives you to excel. If its not internal, maybe you can find it externally?

    Examples:
    1. An alarm clock that will shred money when you snooze... is that extra 5 min of sleep worth that $20 bill?

    2. A website that donates your money to some cause you hate if you miss your goals. Get lazy? The NRA or the GOP or some other organization you disagree with gets your cash

    3. Expectations of others: you announce your goals and then people will notice if you fail to accomplish them - hopefully embarrasing you into it

    4. Reward/denial: you do something? You buy yourself a gift. You fail to do something? No gift.

    Etc.

  • 3lwap03lwap0 Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Hi @Priest.

    A few years ago I was in the same boat my good sir. I think many of us were in that situation at one point and time in our lives. What helped me grow up was advancing my career. I moved away from my family to a distant location, almost a 1000 miles away, and started a new job. You start paying bills, rent, and making hard decisions about how to live your life responsibly. Suddenly you are away from the safety net of living at home, and the steady schedule of work and school. And while I think everyone's mileage varies, by leaving my comfort zone, I grew up. And that's key I think - when it becomes a 'sink or swim' situation, you either learn to swim...or you don't. I think many of us do, and from the sounds of it, you're capable. You're on the right path. School is important. Jobs are important. You do both, and well it seems. That's a fantastic start.

    But at some point in your life, the opportunity may arise to do something awesome. Maybe travel the world, or take a job somewhere else not local. Human beings are creatures of habit - by deviating gradually from your routines, and pushing your comfort boundaries, you grow up. Just realize it may not be today or tomorrow, but as Steve Jobs once said "Stay hungry, stay foolish."

    3lwap0 on
    I think Pringles original intention was to make tennis balls... but on the day the rubber was supposed to show up a truckload of potatoes came. Pringles is a laid-back company, so they just said, "Fuck it, cut em up!".
  • PriestPriest Registered User regular
    Hey guys, just saw the litany of posts - haven't been on (studying very hard for finals, done with one, second tomorrow.) I haven't had a chance to read any responses since the 28th, but I promise to read them after 2 PM tomorrow. Thanks for the many responses, I'm sure they'll be insightful.

  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    illig wrote: »
    Figure out what drives you to excel. If its not internal, maybe you can find it externally?

    Examples:
    1. An alarm clock that will shred money when you snooze... is that extra 5 min of sleep worth that $20 bill?

    2. A website that donates your money to some cause you hate if you miss your goals. Get lazy? The NRA or the GOP or some other organization you disagree with gets your cash

    3. Expectations of others: you announce your goals and then people will notice if you fail to accomplish them - hopefully embarrasing you into it

    4. Reward/denial: you do something? You buy yourself a gift. You fail to do something? No gift.

    Etc.

    That's too closely tying the carrot/stick to physical rewards. While it can work, it doesn't for some people.

    Here's a question - why do you wake up every morning? What sort of person would you like to be? Visualize that, as I know you have to have some concept of the type of person you are from what your choices are in video games etc. etc.
    Now go be that person. Sounds stupidly simple, but that's what life is - a simple struggle we try to complicate.

  • Jam WarriorJam Warrior Registered User regular
    Imagination.

    Don't just idle away in the now. Force yourself to stop and actually think about the future. The future you want compared to the future you're going to get if nothing changes. And I mean the future you want, not the one you think someone else thinks you should want.

    When that has frightened you enough. Come up with a plan with (achievable) stages and goals and stick the fuck to it. Let people know your plan so a little old fashioned peer pressure and not wanting to people to see you fail to enact your stated goals can help move you along.

    Mainly though, it boils down to the oft repeated, 'Man the fuck up and get out there and do it!' because in the end it's all down to you.

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    WiiU: JamWarrior
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    Maintaining a calendar can be a huge deal. If you have a smart phone, sync your calendar and set your alarms. Do it for important stuff and do it for little stuff. I will make calendar events for commissions, and for personal projects. Staying motivated is the only alternative to horrible, crippling depression for me, so that's my fuel.

    I find that reading webpages and forums is my brain telling me it wants to be stimulated. I started doing this with podcasts and audiobooks because I can listen and work. I try to put a timer on leisure that I cant multitask (video games) but let myself indulge in others as long as Im getting other tasks done.

    Actually, cleaning and hygiene are great places to start building the mental space for routine. In college I cleaned my room every week, top to bottom, and did my laundry. set an alarm, set a day.

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