Is it okay to not want to do anything with your life?
Well, that depends.
Do you want to have a good life?
Or do you want to have the kind of life that slowly slides into misery and unhappiness?
Granted, you may already feel miserable, but doing nothing virtually guarantees that your life will stay that way.
By not taking active steps to maintain or build your life, you’ll find that it gradually degrades.
The Big Issue With Doing Nothing
The big issue with not doing anything with your life is entropy.
Entropy is a force of nature that gradually decays things to disorder or nothingness.
Maintaining or attempting to improve things (i.e. doing something) can slow down or stop that process altogether.
Consider rust, for example.
A poorly maintained piece of metal that’s left out in the elements is going to rust. Over time, the rust on that metal is going to degrade it until it becomes useless or disintegrates altogether. However, if you maintain it, you can slow that process down and the metal will last much longer.
Life is the same. It needs to be actively maintained so it doesn’t decay. If you have no aspirations, you’ll find that important facets of your life rust away over time.
Relationships? They waste away and break if you don’t continue to put love and effort into them.
Work? You can’t just show up and half-ass it for your entire career without your skills degrading, the company degrading, or losing your job.
Learning? Use it or lose it. You’ll forget things as time goes on if you don’t take care to keep learning or use your knowledge. (Even then, you’ll still forget some things, but you can at least slow the process.)
Health? Preventative care helps you spot minor problems before they become major ones that have a bigger impact on your well-being.
So…the question to ask yourself is:
Why Don’t I Want To Do Anything With My Life?
It’s valid to feel like you don’t want to do anything with your life.
However, it’s rare that someone doesn’t want to do something with their life because they just don’t want to. There’s usually some other underlying reason that’s responsible for those feelings.
Identifying the reason gives you the ability to address the problem which in turn should help change your feelings about your life.
That’s got to be worth exploring.
After all, as far as we know, you only get one chance at life. You have to make the most of it.
So, what are the common reasons?
1. Mental health problems.
When you think, “Why don’t I want to do anything with my life?”, the first thing that may pop into your head is depression.
Depression saps your energy, replaces optimism with hopelessness, positivity with negativity, and generally makes you feel like you’re not worthwhile.
But these feelings certainly aren’t limited to depression.
Bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and every other mental health condition in the rainbow can evoke these feelings, or directly cause depression.
Even worse, some medications used to treat mental health conditions can have side effects that cause depression.
Sometimes it just feels like you can’t win.
But there is usually a selection of treatments available for mental health conditions and new interventions are being developed regularly.
And talking therapies or counseling can help you find different ways to manage your mental health, which may improve your motivation.
2. Physical health problems.
We often see our mental health as being at the core of many of our feelings.
However, our physical health can disrupt the way we interpret and interact with the world too.
Diabetes and uncontrolled blood sugar can cause dramatic mood swings and depression. As can Thyroid dysfunction.
Dealing with chronic physical illness or pain can wear you down mentally and emotionally and is often coupled with fatigue.
Physical illnesses can also cause worry and anxiety, and fear can certainly stop you from getting on with your life.
The interaction between physical illness and mental well-being shouldn’t be underestimated, and it works both ways. That’s one reason it’s so important to talk to your doctor about these issues and any negative feelings you’re having.
3. Negative self-perception.
Negative self-esteem and self-worth fuel thoughts of inadequacy which may make you feel like you can’t accomplish things.
If you don’t feel good about yourself and you think you’re incapable and unworthy, you’re less likely to try and pursue goals.
After all, if you’re constantly telling yourself that you’re too stupid or lazy, and you truly believe it, you’re not going to bother trying to reach for something bigger.
Even something like body dysmorphia can play a role.
A person who struggles with body dysmorphia may not feel like themselves in the body that they have.
That can trickle down to confusion in other areas. Am I being true to myself? Are my goals and aspirations true to who I envision myself to be? Can the two be separated?
For many, they can’t.
4. Past abuse and trauma.
Past abuse and trauma can create maladaptive coping mechanisms that prevent a person from wanting to do more.
Avoidance and substance abuse are common maladaptive coping mechanisms that people use to deal with their trauma, which often hold them back from setting and achieving goals.
When you’re affected by abuse or trauma, it can be hard to engage in positivity.
Often the negative voice that you hear in your head is not because of your own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes that voice is the result of surviving a negative situation.
For example, if you were in an abusive relationship for years with someone telling you that you were worthless or incompetent, it’s easy to believe those lies. You may still hear these words in your head or be triggered by present-day events making you feel that way again.
It’s easy for the harm you suffered to make you a passive person who gives up on trying to improve your situation or life.
5. Cognitive functioning differences.
Cognitive function refers to various mental processes, including memory, attention, executive function, and information processing.
Some people have differences in their cognitive functioning as a result of being autistic or ADHD or having anxiety, brain damage, brain degeneration diseases, or mental health problems.
Cognitive functioning difficulties can also be caused by certain physical illnesses.
These differences in cognitive function can affect the mental processes listed below, all of which can impact your ability to plan, start, and complete certain tasks or goals.
Executive function is a higher-level cognitive process that governs decision-making, problem-solving, and goal-setting.
If you have difficulties with executive function this can hinder your ability to plan, start, and execute tasks.
Differences in cognitive function can result in slower processing speed, making it harder to take in and understand new information.
Conversely, some people with faster processing speed end up being bombarded with so much new information that it is too overwhelming to interpret it all.
Both these differences can impact decision-making and task initiation.
If you have difficulties with your memory, this can affect your ability to recall important information, like deadlines, appointments, and steps to reach a goal.
Differences in cognitive function can make it difficult to initiate and sustain activities. This can make it harder for you to start new projects and achieve the desired outcome.
If you experience sensory sensitivities, being in an environment that causes sensory overwhelm can make it impossible for you to start or complete a task.
If most or all of your mental capacity is used up trying to cope with sensory stimuli, it leaves little room for processing other information.
In contrast, if you are under-sensitive to some sensory stimuli, you may not be able to start or complete a task if you do not have the required amount of sensory input to stimulate you first.
Decrease in productivity.
The combination of the above factors can cause a person to simply not have the energy or mental capacity to pursue higher goals.
It’s like trying to swim with an anchor around your neck.
6. Overwhelming choices.
Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the number of choices that are presented to us.
We’re told, “You can do anything with your life.”
Anything is a pretty wide scope of things that you could do. So, what do you do? Go to school? Learn a trade? Get a job? Some combination of those things?
Will you be happy with your choice? Will it help you pay your bills? What if you hate it? What if you don’t hate it? What if you don’t know what you want to do with your life?
There are so many options, so many choices that sometimes it seems easier to just not choose anything.
Because if you don’t choose anything, you can’t make the wrong choice.
The problem is that not choosing anything is making a choice. It’s a choice to let other people or fate decide where you end up instead of taking an active role in your life and future.
Surely picking anything and having it go badly is better than picking nothing and winding up in some random place that wasn’t your choice.
So, Is It Okay To Not Want To Do Anything With Your Life?
No, not really, but it’s also not your fault if that’s how you feel.
It’s quite likely some other underlying problem is causing you to feel hopeless and unmotivated about your future.
You may need some additional help to figure out why you feel this way, and how you can break out of it to be a more ambitious person.
Talk with your doctor or a therapist and explore the reasons why you feel this way so you can start working toward the kind of future that you want for yourself.
BetterHelp.com is a website where you can connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome behaviors they don’t really understand in the first place. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.