Dear Amy: How do you help a lazy person to become more healthily active, when the lazy person is yourself?
I’ve dealt with depression all my life and think I’ve made a lot of headway, (with the help of therapy) over the years.
I’ve reached the point where there are things I can imagine doing and enjoying that will require some self-discipline and energy to achieve, such as saving money, or keeping my home cleaner and prettier.
But inertia and daydreaming take over, and another day goes by, and another, and another.
At work, by the way, I’m a great employee. I’m diligent and hardworking; I enjoy making my bosses happy with my efforts. I suspect that part of my problem is that I still lack motivation to make myself happy.
Maybe my situation is a bit extreme, but I’m sure many of your readers struggle with finding the energy or the motivation to overcome one’s own laziness. I’d appreciate any suggestions you have!
Trying to be my Own Magic Wand
Dear Trying: I give you major props for figuring out and describing your challenge, and for understanding that you hold the key to positive change.
I’ve dealt with depression and inertia, too. In my new book, I describe my own efforts to recover and change.
Here are some ideas for small things you can determine to do, which will lead you in a positive direction:
Break down your desired efforts into very small and achievable components, such as “open and categorize today’s mail,” “clean the inside of the car” or (on a weekend) “pack up one box for donation.” Make a list and check off each item after completion. (Checking boxes off a list is surprisingly satisfying.
Flylady.net is a favorite starting point for many people seeking transformation through baby steps. Flylady says to start by cleaning and shining your kitchen sink.
Make your bed. Even if your bedroom is a mess, and even if you don’t achieve much else, your bed will be a pristine and clean space each day.
You are very good at working hard to please others. So plan to have company over for coffee or a meal. Knowing that someone will be in your home will inspire (force) you to tidy, clean, and prepare.
Join a group. For me, singing with a local choir once a week helped to shake loose the inertia in the rest of my life.
Use a “buddy” to inspire and hold you accountable. Walking with a friend right after work a few times a week will give you more energy to face the challenge at home.
There’s an app for that: A fitness wristband and/or fitness app will help you to see your progress in real terms.
I’m sure readers will want to help. I’ll run suggestions in future columns.
Dear Amy: While eating a quick lunch in a fast-food restaurant, a prosperous couple in their early 30s arrived with two infants. The mother immediately wiped the tabletop with a baby wipe, then placed a changing pad on the table. She went to get food and instructed the dad to change the babies’ diapers on top of the dining table.
He did, mumbling “sorry,” to me. I basically fled the scene. Amy, this baby’s bottom was literally inches away from my meal.
I don’t have kids, but is this using good manners, or even common sense? The restaurant has a “family” bathroom, complete with a changing table.
Am I out of the loop? In addition to this being obviously unsanitary, it seemed like a violation of the babies’ privacy.
Dear Butt-ing In: You are correct on all fronts: This is unsanitary, unnecessary, disgusting, and, yes, a violation of privacy on the part of these infants. The father obviously knew that this was wrong, thus his mumbled “sorry.” I might have answered him: “Dude. No. Just no.”
Dear Amy: “Not Quite Crossing” described his preference for wearing women’s underwear. Now he was wondering when to disclose this to a potential sexual partner.
I liked your advice to be honest about this before entering the bedroom. As a woman currently meeting and dating men, my initial reaction was to be repelled, but then when I thought about it, I’m not sure I would mind it.
Honesty is Best
Dear Honesty: Exactly. This is a practice many people would be able to accept, given the time to think about it. That’s why disclosing it in conversation is the best idea.
Email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org.