WILLPOWER & Depression: How to get & stay motivated! | Kati Morton

– Hey everybody, happy Thursday. Now today’s question comes from the comments of an old YouTube video. You know I’m in those comments and if you have a good question I save them, and I answer them. So lets jump into it and the question says “Kati, talking about anger “and depression, I have a quick question. “How can I build my
willpower to do things? “The only thing that makes me do things “is when I have someone “holding me accountable. “It’s the only reason I’ve been able to do “homework and get out of the house. “How do I hold myself
accountable to do stuff? “I just don’t get out of bed “if there’s no one
forcing me to do anything, “then I’m really frustrated with myself. “I know I should be doing
my late assignments, “so why can’t I force myself to do them?” My first thought when I comes to this question is, maybe you’re struggling with depression, and have you seen somebody about it or
considered medication? Whenever I hear my clients telling me that they’re is no way that they can motivate themselves, they have no motivation. Unless someone is forcing them to do something, they just can not muster up any energy to do anything; get out of bed, shower, any of our basic needs. Some of my clients will lay in bed all day and not eat cause they just don’t have the energy or the motivation to do it, and so I would encourage you, if this is you and when I was reading this question you’re nodding along and thinking Yeah what do I do? Please see someone. Talk to a therapist. Talk to a psychiatrist. And I’m only mentioning medication, I know many of you are against it. I totally understand but in my experience, this is when we’re
drowning in the symptoms. We don’t have any motivation. We don’t have any way to get ourselves to do what it is we need to do. That’s when medication can be our life raft. It can get our head above
water enough that we can actually participate in therapy, and use some of the behavioral techniques they’re talking about. Otherwise we just feel like
we’re drowning, we can’t even get out of bed and there’s no therapist that can make us do that and be that motivation for us. We need a little extra help. Another point I want to make is are you actually doing things that you really enjoy? Are there things you enjoy? Obviously these are
questions that pertain to depression, because if
there are things we used to love doing that we
no longer love doing, that’s one of the main
symptoms of depression. But also are the things
that you feel forced to do, things you just don’t enjoy at all? I know school and
assignments are a whole other ballgame and those are
things we have to complete because we’re in school, and we have to complete them. It sucks but its true. But are there other things that you can do for enjoyment purposes? Hobbies, things you like? Fill your time a little
bit more with those, because those can help
elevate our mood maybe enough to get our head above water, so that we can do the things that need to get done everyday. Also, what are your goals? I think it’s important for
all of us to have goals. For each week, maybe even each day. You know I love my lists. Sometimes I’ll make a list
just to check things off. Like, I got up, check,
made breakfast, check. Make sure that you’re setting goals, small achievable goals for yourself each and every day because that can help us
feel more accomplished, more motivated, and just over all better. But also make sure you have long term goals, because things like school can be really,
tough in the moment. And its hard for us to
even get anything done. But sometimes if we have
that thought of like, hey I want to get out of my parents house and move away and go to
school and make new friends. Those can be goals that we can reference. We can put up on a post-it note maybe, on your wall to remind you. Because we all need those
reminders from time to time. We all get stuck in the weeds and get sick of doing the same things. So having goals, putting them up where we can see them, all of those things can
help keep us motivated, maybe when we just don’t want to. And the last tip I want to offer is, having someone who checks in on us. This could be online, this could be through text messaging, this could be anyway that works for you. Have someone that checks in on you, and you check in on them. Keep each other accountable. Sometimes that can be the motivation that we need to get out of bed. Have someone that texts you at like, 10 a.m. every morning like hey, did you get up? Did you eat breakfast? I’m doing it right now. It sucks but I’m doing it how about you? Sometimes we need another person holding us accountable
to those little goals, those daily goals, that sometimes can feel so overwhelming and just impossible to complete. I hope you found this helpful. But as always leave in the comments, what other tips do you have for people who are struggling with motivation? What gets you motivated? Let us know. And if you’re new to my channel
make sure you subscribe, and turn on those notifications. Because I put out videos twice a week and you don’t want to miss them and I will see you next time, bye!


  1. Hi kati I have a question for you. I was wondering if it was possible for someone to feel suicidal and self harm without having depression ? I’m scared that if I ask for help someone will just laugh and tell me I’m being silly, thank you have a good day 💗

  2. I've been on various medications and in therapy for years (love my therapist!) and I STILL struggle with all of these things. I can 100% confidently say that GOALS are my life savor. for example: go outside for at least 20 minutes, stay offline for an hour, and my biggest one is to stay sober for 24 hours if I'm feeling bold that day. what helps me the most is to feel accomplished, like I did something to help myself or someone else, and stuff like cleaning my room or doing housework for my mom can really help me feel like I'm not just a sack of potatoes doing nothing with my life. I'm not in school, can't seem to hold a job, and when it came time for me to achieve my biggest life goal after graduation, after many months of preparation and help/money from family to get me ready (travel the country while living out of my car, which I was extremely excited to do) I got a couple weeks of couch surfing and camping under my belt before I became super suicidal again and had to be hospitalized for the 4th time. My goal was to go to New Mexico and I didn't even leave New England. Now I'm home, and while I still plan on getting back out there in the spring, I feel like I have failed myself, my family, and everyone who knew how excited I was to get out there. this makes me feel like a massive fuck up and let-down. but you know what? I'm working on myself. I'm putting in the effort to get myself to a place where I can honestly say I like myself and my life so I can FINALLY go out and achieve this huge goal I have for myself. no matter what your goal is, we will get there.

  3. I always set my expectations of myself way to high….big mistake, as a result I feel even worse about myself when I dont achieve those goals……small acheivable goals is key!! be proud of what you accomplish each day no matter how insignificant you "think" it may be 🙂 xox

  4. What can I do about an obsessive fear of forgetting things such as memories, ideas, thoughts and things and abilities that I've learned?

  5. Hey Kati I️ have a question! I️ was wondering if you could do a video on the difference between a clinical psychologist vs a clinical social worker? I️ am very interested in going into either child psychology or child social work, but I️ don’t really understand the difference and want to know what would be most fitting for my personality, and my passion for children. Thanks in advance and I️ love your videos!❤️

  6. I’d love to watch a video on hypnotherapy. I’ve just had my first session and it took me by surprise how well it helped me feel emotions, which I struggle with. It was like opening a Pandora’s box of past trauma and allowing me to actually process and feel it rather than disassociate all the time.

  7. Hi Kati , thanks , I don`t have depression , but my self esteem sometimes is so low it feels like I do get depressed. I have a home to run , I must shop to eat , I enjoy doing stuff ,  but I am always looking for a way to earn income , from home without the scams , do you have any thoughts on ways to earn a living working from home ? Not trying to escape , just want to make thing easier because of my age and arthritis.  Thanks G.

  8. I am working on this right now. My counsellor suggested if something is hard for you to do, you should reward yourself when you do it e.g. praising yourself, having a piece of chocolate. I struggle with getting out of bed and basic self care. For context I have PTSD, anxiety, and a history of major depression. I started a positive journal and it's been really helpful. I wrote down the self care activities I wanted to be doing. I wrote down what my life might look like in two years tine if things go really well for me. I set one achievable goal to focus on: brush my teeth once a day for a week straight. I told people close to me and got their support. I gave myself praise and stuck stickers in my journal each time I brushed my teeth. When I reached the goal I put in the date and wrote how proud of myself I was and decorated with stickers. I set another goal, written on the same page, to keep it up and get to two weeks. I'm about to achieve that goal. I've set another goal to maintain a sleep schedule until the end of the work year, getting up at the same time each day. This is because sometimes I'm late to work because I struggle to get up, even if I'm not tired. I set an motivating alarm message to remind me in my half asleep state that it's important "rise and shine! #goals." I made sure my weekend alarm was within an hour of my weekend alarm because it's good sleep hygiene. I wrote a list of things that would make it easier to achieve, like having a glass of water next to the bed because I find it harder to motivate myself when I feel dehydrated. I think when forming better habits, it's important to set yourself up for success and focus on one achievable thing at a time, rather than a whole list.

  9. I have bipolar II depression & I will often tell myself that I only have to do ONE chore for the day, whether it's take out the trash, wash a load of laundry or pay bills. After that I'm done & feel less guilty & lazy while I rest my body (have fibromyalgia & have had back surgery) & distract myself with Hulu or Netflix. If I do more than one thing, I am so proud I spend the rest of the day listing out loud what I got done. Yay me!

  10. Can you do a video on preventing self harm, i don't struggle with doing it yet but i come very very close sometimes. I know if i cave and do it it will be really hard for me to recover from. What can i do to help myself avoid caving?

  11. Mental health services in school are so bad, my school are essentially forcing me into counselling because my mum went into the school saying they where making me "fake panic attack" (even though my panic attacks are usually brought on buy her but y'know) but basically they made me sit in a room alone and fill out a form for 2 hours because she said she would be back but I had to just walk out and go back to lessons because she wasn't showing up, and now I haven't heard back from them for 2 months. Luckily your videos help me understand things more so that's been really helpful!

  12. Hi Kati,
    Could you make a video about how to respond to teachers who make insensitive jokes about self-harm? I’m in a media tech class and we do a lot of filming and editing in there. One day we got off task and the teacher said “ok get back on task and start splitting those clips like emo kids do their wrist” and the whole class went silent. He followed it up with “no one understand my humor, this is the part where you’re suppose to laugh…I can make jokes like that because no one in here self-harms” (multiple people in my class have self-harmed btw) – while lolly gagging he didn’t even notice that a student got up and walked out in tears. I wanted to say something but I didn’t know what to say. He continues to make these jokes, what should my classmates and I say?

  13. Hi Katie. I've been told by my therapist and psychiatrist that I have emotional dysregulation. What exactly is this? There isn't a lot of information out there on this topic, and I would really appreciate it if you could could explain it. Thanks x

  14. My life basically stopped and was nothing but anxiety attacks and constantly fighting against self harm, not wanting to get out of bed or shower or do anything until I reached out and got help. I was put on medicine and when we found the right one, I felt like myself again and began to really live. Some days it's still a fight, but it's not all the time and it's not as bad. Getting the necessary help is the greatest thing anyone can do for themselves.

  15. One thing I do when I'm not motivated to exercise especially is appeal to my logical brain. I remind myself that exercise causes an endorphin release which will in turn combat my depression and overall make me feel better. I had a hard time doing this before medication but now that I have my necessary tools medically and psychologically I'm at the gym at least 5x/week and feeling better than ever 🙂

  16. Kati, you posted this video at such a perfect time. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety over two years ago and now I’m preparing for a standardized test for graduate school but my depression is holding me back so much. I have absolutely no motivation.

    Anyway, thank for this video. ❤️
    P.S. I am not one to comment on YouTube videos EVER, but I just wanted to share that with you.

  17. Could you make a video about purging disorder, how it differs from bulimia, what it is, effects it has, diagnoses etc..

  18. Exageratly stretch and yawn while in bed to make me smile (it gives me some extra energy to get up). Remind myself that the world already exists outside of me, and that I don't have to create it every morning (maybe it makes sense to someone). Talking to myself with compassion and accepting that somedays I just don't feel much good about myself. Trying new stuff, like martial arts. Writing about what's bothering me and taking all my thinking energy. Etc.

  19. Hey Kati!

    A few years ago I had a pretty bad falling out with someone that I considered my best friend. It was a very hurtful experience and I feel like it has impacted my self-confidence and self-esteem to this day. Even though I have met people who put my "insecurities to sleep," raise me up, and make me feel good and important, recently I've found myself wanting to reconnect with this person just to see how they are doing. At the same time though, I am scared to do it because I am scared of who they possibly are today vs. the friend that I remember. I understand the need to move on from this person, but am I crazy for thinking this? Why do some of us feel the need to reconnect with people we stopped talking to or had a falling-out with?

    Thank you Kati!

  20. Hi kati,
    I gave blood the other day. And lately I’ve been feeling depressed and stuff I also feel like since I gave blood that when someone gets it they will get my depression. It’s like with cutting because I hate telling people because I don’t want them to hurt the way I do. Kati help please what do I do?

  21. Reading a couple of passages from different books helps to get my day started and watching your videos. Thanks for this topic.

  22. I just went to a schoool counselor and she requested I'd go to a therapist w/ out my father but he won't let me go w/ out him.

    Last time I went w/ him all he did was tell the therapist how 👎 I was, and never even allowed to talk, as he threatened me if I did.

    What should I do?

  23. hey kati 🙂
    I've got the exact same problem… I've got like two exams, one presentation and a short test in one week. and even tough all these are so mucg important grades, I just can't motivate myself to go and learn. I'm just feeling like having another breakdown because school is just so mucg and then I'm lying around on my couch watching Netflix instead of learning. this makes my selfhate even bigger. through not enough learning my grades are not to best which leads to another breakdown because I panic about my graduation. What can I do to get myself to do all the school stuff?

  24. I need advice…I feel like no one is hearing me… I have had episodes of paranoia, thinking I am seeing someone who isn’t actually there, severe mood swings, talking to people and not making any sense, and zoning out to the point of scaring those around me. What should I do? I have told my therapist, and he didn’t seem concerned. I told my psychiatrist and she upped my meds again. I am tired of feeling like this. I’m not a danger to anyone so I don’t think hospitalization would benefit me.

  25. Is it okay if I drag speaking? Not that I’m lazy but I feel like I don’t have a voice. Or that I don’t deserve to speak. I feel like me speaking, the sound of my voice is sometimes painful to even hear.

  26. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats. They hold me accountable as they can't feed and walk themselves. The cats will not let me sleep in and as soon as I get up the dogs follow and need to be taken outside. Once I am up and taken care of them, I can make coffee and get on with the day, They also help me keep track of my moods, as one of my dogs is really in tune with how I am. "Why is he avoiding me?… Check in with self… I am agitated… or I am sad, and he cuddles in" They help me a lot.

  27. Hey Kati! Could you do a video explaining BPD that's aimed at family/friends who don't know much about mental health?

  28. I have to get up, get dressed, make my bed, make breakfast because I have three kids. It’s still hard for me , I just pretend it’s easy.

  29. Kati, thank you so much for your videos. They help a lot. Watching you make me hopeful because it shows me that there is people out there that can understand me and help me with compassion and sweetness. Really, thank you (sorry for my bad english)

  30. The answer is very obvious. If you can't get motivated you aren't doing what you should be. If you are going to work and hate it you probably have mastered that position and now it's too easy for you. Time to aim higher. Not being motivated is literally your deepest core telling you to do something else. When you are actually trying to hit a goal you don't need motivation. You get up and do the work because the goal is so large, and you know it needs to get done. Once you hit that goal and it becomes easy is when you are no longer excited. The goal is completed and you're just doing the same thing because that's "just what you do". You need to dream bigger. Once you complete the goal dream even bigger. Working towards a massive dream and seeing little pieces of progress being made over time will motivate you to keep going. If there's nothing to shoot for you're just wasting your time.

  31. Hello! Thank you so much for your videos. I have a few questions:
    I often feel like I use depression as an excuse to not do things, for example whenever I start feeling bad I usually do things that I like and ONLY those things, none of my obligations. I try to distract myself by watching movies, sleeping or lately, I've been going out with my friends almost every day. But then I feel guilty because I feel like if I had "REAL" depression I wouldn't go out but when I'm with my friends is the only time I feel happy and even then I need to really focus on that moment because if not my mind automatically goes back to bad thoughts. I guess I'm not explaining myself very well but my question is: How do I stop feeling guilty about doing things I like and how do I stop invalidating my own mental illness?

  32. Hey Kati, Thank you so much for your videos!! I’ve been seeing a therapist for about 3 months now and she just now reccommended I see a phyciatrist for a phycological evaluation. I’m really nervous because I don’t know what’s going to happen. Could you please help me understand the purpose of a phycological evaluation and what’s going to happen? Thanks ❤️

  33. I really needed this! Especially as I have college exams in January and need to study and put in extra work! Finding the motivation to do it is a huge struggle 🙁 so thank you! This helped me a lot :))

  34. What about if you're already on medication? Just started therapy but she doesn't say anything to me, she just listens. I need more feedback

  35. I'm so happy I found this recent vid of yours ! I WISH with all my heart that you get to see this comment – I've listened to everything you said here and truth be told, everything sounds wonderful and helpful. But, when I look into myself I feel like I deeply do not care or at least do not care enough to feel hopeful with myself finding motivation to do anything, mainly school. I have depression and feel suicidal a lot and sadly even though I do go to therapy for it, I feel like my therapist doesn't really care and just nods away and keeps me feeling more and more sad as my sessions go by…like literally, he just adds more existential crises problem in each and every session and it truly depresses me. I don't want to take medication, it's not something I want to put in my body (the same way some ppl don't want to take the pill, not because it doesn't want; only I wouldn't want those synthetic hormones in my body ect). I feel SO incredibly lost and school is taking too long and no matter what I try, I don't feel like there's hope for me essentially. I'm 25 and studying my dream major, Psychology and my big dream was to be a Clinical Psychologist and help ppl…only to end up as a suicidal individual that doesn't know how to get better and is struggling with depression and constant suicidal thoughts. If it helps, I'm 25 and a female and absolutely adore your vids and how caring yet professional they all are. I hope to God that you get to see this comment as what you're doing is my dream and I would be honored to know your thoughts on my situation and what I can do to help myself…please.

  36. #KATIFAQ YES. I think this is my problem. I'm staying with a girlfriend and her husband over Christmas break. We are in school together both getting our Masters in counseling. I think she was concerned about me so asked me to stay with them. I know I should get out of bed and shower or do something but I just can't. Feels like all of my energy is just gone. Going to see a therapist on Fridsy for first time in 10 years. But don't know if that is going to help if I can't do what they tell me to feel better. I KNOW what I should be doing…I'm studying to be a counselor for God sake…I know what I'd tell someone else. But why can't I just do it?!?! I'm frustrated and mad but not mad enough to change. I just hurt.

  37. I'm in the middle of a struggle with an eating disorder and I can feel it spiralling out of control. I set myself impossible goals but every single night i give up and end up eating unhealthily. But every time I eat, I self harm. I go to therapy but I haven't told her about my recent struggles. I end up crying, self harming and panicing every night and it feels awful. I still have the eating disorder thoughts but my actions don't line up with them anymore and it's so hard and I really dont know what to do, I can't cope with this much longer. It's leaving me upset, suicidal and disgusted. Please help me.

  38. This is a great video, I've been struggling with depression (on and off) for 7 years now and I still haven't found a way to deal with this. it's the most frustrating and depressing thing and I have yet to encounter a therapist who actually understands how hard it can be to get up and do things when you are depressed.
    Right now I am not in a depressive episode and it's such a huge difference. Like, if I need to do the dishes, I just do them. Maybe I'll put it off one day but then I'll do it and I get through all the dishes in one go and it's kinda amzing actually.

  39. I stop smoking cigarettes 21 years ago a pack a day. .. been sober 14 years. .. can get away from depression live in a 2k square foot house. .. i live in a closet for real

  40. thx for this ha bisky vid i had severe depression for so long that it just disappeared on its own when i can feel what lingers from it i am just like that is a thing and it passes pretty quickly

    as for doing my work i just figure out why i should do it with homework i knew there wasnt a point to it so i didnt do it until high school college was my motivation

    they dont hold you back for not doing homework in middle school they always let you pass as long as you can pass the standardized tests even then those will just send you to the worst schools that have the least amount of funding it seems

    it depends on what you want and if the homework is to much maybe you can make it so you get less homework now by actually finding out what you should be learning for your grade and if you are in middle school its not physics and hold the school accountable for teaching you college level work when you are in 7th grade

  41. Ive got willpower quit smoking 19 years ago a pack a day … stop drinking 14 years ago. …. cant beat depression. ……

  42. What is the difference between the lack of focus and motivation with depression compared to having ADHD/ADD? If you can sit and enjoy fun stuff all day and not homework or work?

  43. sometimes I have to call my friend and ask her to tell me to do something like make food because I can't do it otherwise, but her simply telling me to (not in a stern way either) really helps when my motivation is 0

  44. This was a great video! Speaking to me, but I have no motivation, I don't set goals, and I am accountable to no one. I also refuse to be responsible for myself. I am on medication and recently started seeing my therapist again. She's great! I'm not in the best place right now. Sorry. Don't know how long I can keep doing this.

  45. Medication just doesn't work me. I've tried way more than 5 and still have no motivation or energy. Even with a job, taking a shower and washing myself, or setting my hair in curlers for the next day I feel too lazy to do.
    Also, many medications are too expensive to even try! Along with any treatment. The price is way too prohibitive to help people in dire need. Then the whole process of trying to apply for disability is way too hard for me to do on my own. I need someone to do tasks for me.

  46. I know you might not see this, but what do you do if you can’t go to a therapist and aren’t allowed to take antidepressants? Besides setting small goals, is there anything you can do to force yourself to get productive and not want to quit?

  47. i cant see someone…i have severe social anxiety and cant get outside my room most of the time. i have no friends. There are nobody in my familiy i can talk to. There is nothing giving me any joy. I have not been happy for for 12 years. I have no interests, hobbies or anything to do. I cant sleep,eat or stop thinking about killing myself.

  48. How do I get my mom to understand/ care about my depression?? Im 14 and i've been severely depressed, among other things, since I was about 7, my mom doesn't even try to comprehend my depression. She just yells and screams at me about things i can't control, like when my room is a disaster, or I can't get out of bed, or when I get a little annoyed everything. She doesn't know anything about it, and I think she just thinks that depression is just sadness. I just want her to understand the constant struggle of getting through every day and not even wanting to be alive, but she won't even try. I've texted her multiple videos everyday, (because i'm too scared to talk to her about it in person), for at least a month but she just wouldn't watch it. You're my best bet at this because there is really no one else I can talk to about this.

  49. sometimes when I don't feel like I can get out of bed I turn music on and take my speakers with me to the bathroom or the kitchen or wherever

  50. I know what's wrong in my life and I know how to turn it around. I'm self aware of the things I say and do but I ultimately just do nothing and eat. I want to lose weight again and wear nice clothing and dance and get a job but I just can't

  51. I just have no desire to do anything apart from staying in bed. I used to love playing violin but I don't as much anymore just because I feel like "what's the point". Talking to people exhausts me. It's not that I'm sad, I just don't have the energy to feel anything except tired

  52. I’m just crying right now because the feeling of hopelessness is so overwhelming. You mentioned having goals. I so do have goals. It just feels like sometimes I’ve been wasting my life away in bed. Because I don’t feel like I’m worthy of achieving those goals and every time i try something always stands in my way and it’s back in the bed. I hope soon I can have a normal life.

  53. I cant even get the motivation when I know that I NEED to do it so for when I cant wash my hair or get out of bed I say im ill and don't leave the house or when I haven't done my hw (barely ever) I say ive lost or forgotten it and it ends up stacking up until ive just got so much work today and I sometimes do it extremely rushed, however most of the time I feel bored and sad and lay in my bed doing nothing when I know there is so much to do. is my depression causing this or am I just lazy and unmotivated? bcz I cant get myself to do anything even though I know how important it is I just wanna lay in bed all day and sleep.

  54. This really helped me recognize that my mother was right, telling me something is wrong with me. I lost all motivation to even do anything at all. If I don't have to, I won't get out of bed. I lost enjoyment from my hobbies. I'm not sure what to do anymore.

  55. You are a really good person, well I don't know you but it's important to know. YouTube should really prioritize this type of video it's things people need

  56. I’m supposed to be leaving for a music festival today, and I’m so depressed and anxious that I’m half considering staying home. This video has been really helpful to boost my mood enough to get up and do my laundry. Thank you for everything you do Kati.

    Side note, I regularly see a therapist and have an appointment with a psychiatrist for medication management once I get back from my trip, so no need to worry. 🙂

  57. Does anyone have any advice on what can be done for somebody without a support network? I am getting in contact with psychologists via my GP but the wait is LONG, I need medicine but I have no means of transport, not much money, and struggle to get out of bed let alone take public transport.

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