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  • Writer's pictureCory Morrison

Autism: How to Fight the Most Stressful Motivation Obstacles

Updated: Sep 15, 2023

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Do you ever struggle with motivation and just don't know how to move forward? How to make big changes in your life? You're not alone. I have, at many points in my life, been unsure what to do because of the fear of being pushed back steps again. My survival guide will hopefully give you perspective.

Motivation Obstacle: Fear of Change

According to National Autistic Society, while unexpected changes can be especially difficult for people on the spectrum, any type of change can be. This can include lifestyle changes.

Personal Story With Fear of Change

Too often in my life, I am afraid to leave my comfort zone not only because of fear of others rejecting me due to my social difficulties, but because I fear how much the change will take a toll on autistic burnout, and then further make it difficult for me to function in society.

One slight example of a fear of change motivation obstacle is in 2014, I briefly go to college for an Environmental Technology program. I drop out after two months not only because the workload was a huge change compared to high school and my first college program from 2011 to 2013, but because I realize that math and some aspects of science are definitely not my strong points. I want to become a meteorologist in the late 2000s and early 2010s, but 2014 is the point where I realize a writing or journalism path would work better for me.

While I have had difficulties adjusting to the industry compared to many of my peers, I have wanted this career path for over eight years now, and I have not changed my mind since.

What Should I Do With Fear of Change?

I suggest you construct a roadmap of all the possibilities that could happen when you try to pursue something. Don't let any possible negative outcomes hold you back completely, but consider your strengths and weaknesses, and then realistically decide what may happen with high chance, slight chance or low chance categories (going back to elementary school probability here).

Example: Person A wants to try out for a football team for the first time, but in past gym classes, has never scored a touchdown or even touched the ball.

High chance: Person A may not be as skilled as many other people who try out for the team, but could make lots of progress especially with practice.

Slight chance: Person A may make an embarrassing mistake.

Low chance: Person A will be one of the most athletic on the team.

Motivation Obstacle: Creative Block

At many points in my life, I want to pursue certain stuff, but often struggle to know the exact steps to take to meet desired outcomes. This is a motivation obstacle I struggle with to meet my goals.

Personal Story With Creative Block

In elementary school, I love to write stories and am quick to come up with ideas. Where I have problems with, however, is being able to find relevant supporting details to support the main idea and to come up with conflicts. This is an example of something where I require a lot of educational assistant support.

In grade six and seven, I write my own series of stories for every creative writing assignment where these four people in their 20s go on various adventures (nothing inappropriate for the grade level). I love writing about them, but often add details that have nothing to do with the main idea. At the time, I don't realize that this is a crucial skill to have if I want to get good grades.

As soon as I realize I have this issue, I feel discouraged, and go through creative block more often than I would like. I want to pitch any story I can, but I also want to make sure it makes sense. As seen by the career path I chose, I push through this obstacle, and although coming up with creative story ideas that make sense can be difficult sometimes like it can be for anyone, it's not a weakness for me.

What Should I Do With Creative Block?

As a journalism graduate who has some experience in the industry, I will say that it's important to do research and reach out to various people in your life for opinions, so you can get a balanced, good story idea or plan. However, you should also trust your instincts and tell a story in a way that is meaningful to you (as long as you meet appropriate standards). In other words, balance is important.

This brings me back to my childhood with the Arthur episode "Arthur Writes A Story". Arthur wants to write about how he got his dog Pal, but struggles to come up with how to present it because of his family and friends' varying opinions. D.W. says having a dog would be too boring and that he should use elephant, Buster suggests it should be a science-fiction story, while The Brain says a science-fiction story would be too scientifically inaccurate. After Arthur takes The Brain's advice to do solid research, Francine says it's too technical. Eventually, Arthur comes up with dancing to loud country music to illustrate how he got Pal, but Mr. Ratburn suggests that he shouldn't worry too much about what others think and use his own ideas. Arthur does so in front of the class. Afterward, Arthur learns some important lessons about motivation obstacles with creativity.

Even with situations that have nothing to do with writing a story, such as deciding on a career path or a hobby, you should follow these three steps:

  1. Research

  2. Ask others for advice

  3. Trust your instincts

Motivation Obstacle: Distractions

An obstacle I've dealt with a lot of my life, partially due to sensory issues or overstimulation, is that I can get distracted easily. This was more of an issue in my earlier years.

Personal Story With Distractions

In elementary school, there are times in gym class where I perform a task incorrectly and classmates give me a hard time for it. Little do I know, that the gymnasium smell, lights, noise, and unimportant details such as gym mats or benches distract me more than I would ever think they do. I don't think I even give these things much thought compared to the average child, but apparently, I do.

Upon eventually realizing that I have this challenge, it can discourage me from doing many things the average person at or near my age can do. If I book a trip to fly a plane by myself, for example, just being in the airport myself can overwhelm me because of the crowd and my struggle to process lots of information. Therefore, I may forget some stuff I'm supposed to do, and I may ask a staff member for help. Plus, one of my biggest fears is that I may lose my suitcase.

What Should I Do With Distractions?

When you do average every day tasks, and you find at some point that you struggle more than you usually would, ask yourself why that is. What is distracting you? Is it an event later tonight, is it a past event, is it something in the room? Ask yourself that and see if you can get rid of the distraction to move forward from the task. Ask yourself if the distraction matters to you more than the task you're doing? Prioritize your thoughts.


Task: Gardening

Distraction: Meeting with a friend you haven't seen in a long time

In this situation, if you still have lots of time to do gardening before you see your friend, I would focus on this and before you know it, you'll see your friend.


If you have trouble understanding what is holding you back, review fear of change, creative block, and distractions to get an idea of how to move forward with your goals. You won't have to wait much longer to satisfy your wants.


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