I hope you’re all doing well! We’re currently in the midst of the first week of my book being available, and I could not be more thrilled about the support that I’m getting from so many great people. It’s been such a long road to getting this book published — I guess you could say it’s been a lifetime! But I’m so happy that people are enjoying it.
With that in mind, I wanted to write a post this week about a topic that I cover in my book, and a topic that I regularly receive a large number of questions about. That topic is: motivation and self-discipline. Motivation, self-control and self-discipline can be extremely difficult for those of us on the spectrum. Even some things I really enjoy and like to do, I still have difficulty doing on a regular basis.
The lack of positive, emotional memories limits my motivation and accomplishing anything in life ultimately requires successful interaction with others. The stress of foreseeing those interactions, which don’t always go right for me, also limits my motivation.
A big part of motivation for me in almost everything I do is having time to build up to an event, like a mental long jump. You can’t do the long jump with a standing start; you need a run up to it. I need to get a mental run up to almost everything.
The executive function of the brain, which handles time management, motivation and processing the general events of a day, is also affected. When this is functioning poorly, a person may have severe difficulty with motivation even with things they enjoy. They may have difficulty staying aware of what time it is and how long they have to accomplish certain tasks. Routine tasks such as grooming, house cleaning and mowing the lawn may lose their importance in daily living.
Overall, motivation and self-discipline will likely always be tough for me. As I mentioned, I will always need that “build up” time, and I encourage everyone who communicates with people with autism to try to keep the “build up” time in mind. It really helps to limit the stress and that is a hugely important thing for many people on the spectrum — myself included!
I hope you enjoyed this post. And if you want more info on the book, you can check it out here.