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Finding Motivation to Complete Goals with Depression

By HERWriter
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Mental Health related image Photo: Getty Images

Making goals in life can seem daunting for the average person, let alone someone with depression. And once those goals are set, the next step is to find the motivation to complete those goals. This is another integral part of coping with depression.

Motivation is what drives the completion of goals, but oftentimes depression can involve a lack of motivation.

Eric Klinger, a professor of psychology at the University of Minnesota Morris, defines motivation in an e-mail as “the internal states of the organism that lead to the instigation, persistence, energy, and direction of behavior towards a goal.”

According to a textbook called “Depression: Causes and Treatment,” people with depression can have changes in motivation. For example, “the loss of motivation may be viewed as the result of the patient’s hopelessness and pessimism.” Because people with depression may focus on an expected negative outcome, this leads to inactivity toward a goal.

When a person fails at achieving a goal, there can be a reactive depression, and this can sometimes be useful, Klinger said.

“I theorize that it is nature's way of helping us to disengage from unattainable goals,” Klinger said. “It does this by undermining commitment to goal pursuits, but it tends to lead to general loss of interest in goals one had once valued and pursued.”

Some people can bounce back after failure, but others can fall into a deep depression.

“Depressed individuals tend toward undervaluing possible goals and underestimating their chances of attaining their goals,” Klinger said. “This and other features of depression (which is, after all, also a biological process) reduce their energy levels and their willingness to put forth effort.”

Depression can also lead to other negative results besides lack of motivation.

“They lose some touch with their own true values and may adopt goals suggested by others that may turn out quite unsatisfying,” Klinger said.

Although lack of motivation can be a tough cycle to break, there are ways to improve the desire and motivation to reach goals while also having depression.

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EmpowHER Guest

When we hear about “depression” we associate this word with mental illness. However, contrary to what the drug peddling psychiatrists say about it, depression is not an illness; it's a human condition. It's the opposite of joy, so it is part of an emotional spectrum with extremes at both ends. Morever, when we look at the buzz words dealing with depression in the realm of popular psychology such as, “self esteem”, “self worth”, “self image”, “self love”, “self Loathing”, etc., we can get that this entire area of study is about ego-centrism. There is no room in this private domain for anyone else. Moreover, the way our society deals with this subject as a whole even encourages narcissism. Therefore, barring any chemical or hormonal imbalances which doctors can correct, the person suffering from chronic bouts of depression needs to focus on the needs of others. The best therapy is a program that encourages people to be more altruistic and less self-centered.

March 12, 2011 - 6:27pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

And you, of course, are an M.D. with an advanced degree in Psychiatry - no, wait - you have your Ph.D. in Psychology, right? What an ignorant, uninformed, and patronizing post. It's not only full of factually INCORRECT information, it's totally judgmental - and arrogant, as well. You talk about "narcissism" - well, madame (or sir, as the case may be), it's people like yourself, who have absolutely no qualifications, experience, education, or real knowledge in the field of mental health/mental illness - yet who feel that they are entitled, in their superiority, to propagate their false and erroneous OPINIONS as fact - who are the direct cause of the societal stigma that people who actually DO suffer from a genuine mental illness must endure on a day-to-day basis. It's difficult enough for them to cope with their daily existence without having to listen to the constant disparaging comments put forth by rude and inconsiderate individuals who have somehow convinced themselves that they alone have all the answers to the ills of society. "Altruistic?" Is that what your condemnation of people suffering from a documented mental illness is called? Depression IS a clinical illness; the brains of people suffering from it are physically different from those of "normal" people such as you so obviously believe yourself to be. Decades of scientific research, including brain scans and chemistry bear this out. Ah, but then, perhaps you don't believe in science? People like you disgust me.

April 15, 2011 - 7:38pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.