Advice from A Lexis

Why can’t I get this done?

Are you plagued by "The Should Monster"?


Dear Lexis,

I have some goals that I would like to accomplish but, lately, I find myself unable to move forward in any given direction.

 Every day I try to motivate myself to put in the work, and sometimes I manage to do it, but most of the time I find myself stuck and frustrated that I’m not moving forward. I don’t understand why I can’t get myself to get to work and I hate that I can’t even get myself to do even the simplest things that would help move me toward my goals. What kind of advice do you have for someone like me?


           ~ Stuck in Lacey

 Dear Stuck,

I understand what you’re going through and, in fact, it’s something that I have struggled with in my own life on various occasions. As an entrepreneur, freelancer, and author, I am solely responsible for getting my work done without any sort of deadline forcing my hand. And while people often wish they could have the kind of freedom that I do, the unspoken aspect of this lifestyle is the lack of escape from work.

I, like you, am plagued by the “should” monster.

There is always something I could be doing, and I feel like I should be doing at any given point in time. When I don’t do what I “should” be doing, I often find myself ashamed and depressed. I add more pressure and decide that I’ll just do twice as much tomorrow, and if I don’t manage to do so, the feelings of shame and depression compound. It is not a pleasant cycle.

It’s not an easy thing to deal with because there will always be more that can be done.

However, it is not necessary or helpful to beat yourself up over this. As a matter of fact, the more you beat yourself up, the more likely you are to wind up stuck in the same trap again. Instead, you need to forgive yourself for work not done and celebrate the work that you do accomplish.

Consider why you have decided that these tasks need to be accomplished and then consider what you need to do to make the task enjoyable and fulfilling for you. Consider your timelines and think about whether your expectations are realistic or not.

Often, motivation comes in waves, so while you may be able to do a lot one day, it’s likely that you won’t be able to do the same amount every day. You’ll likely want some days off, or only have a few hours every month to dedicate to the task. You need to be forgiving and allow for the potential of illness or interruption halting progress temporarily. Keep these things in mind as you set your work schedule.

If you’ve been dealing with this cycle for a long time, start slow. Maybe one minute a day, or 10 minutes a day. It may not seem like much, but every day that you manage those 10 minutes is still ten minutes more than you would have spent on it otherwise. Once the habit is established, then you can start to up the load.

Regular, consistent work beats bouts of inspiration and motivation every time.

Take pride in the consistency and don’t worry so much about the end goal. No matter how many steps you take at a time, you will eventually reach your destination. Every small victory you have will slowly build you back up, ease your sense of shame, and provide you with hope.

One step at a time and with plenty of grace and forgiveness, you will reach your goals. I know that it’s not easy, but keep it simple to start with and build your self-belief. It’s only a matter of time before your motivation skyrockets you toward your goals once more, so give yourself some grace until that feeling returns.

You can do this and I believe in you,

~ Lexis

Lexis is Alexis Rae Baker. She writes from her home in Olympia.   Got a question about life, relationships, spirit?  Visit her at or write to Lexis at 


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