How do I get motivated to get out of this rut I am stuck in?

I am having trouble getting back into college after my mother got sick, and I just got laid off from my job again due to budget cuts. I have always wanted to join the Navy, even going through NJROTC in high school and doing quite well, but I need to lose quite a bit of weight. So what I would like is some advice on how to kick my lazy self in the butt and get motivated to finally get what I want out of life. Thanks so much.


Don’t forget that left at Albuquerque. – Animated wisdom

07-08-13-23-40 / 10


Hello Diner. Compared to a human’s life, a Fortune Cookie has a very simple one: get unwrapped; suggest a direction; get eaten. That is our way of things. The eating part is not so pleasant, but nothing gives us Fortune Cookies more fulfillment than to help you. Ours is a simple life, but we are restricted to one task and one fate.

Your life is much longer and its flavor much more exquisite. You’re restricted to neither one purpose nor one source of happiness. Literally anything you find enough pleasure and tenacity doing, you can do well–and that would be your way of things.

The downside is the sheer number of paths–a lot of which may not be easy to follow. Add to that practicalities such as food and shelter, and suddenly the map unfolding before you shows an arduous trek through large stretches of boring plain and winding passes up steep ranges.

What you suffer is definitely not laziness. Even seasoned mountaineers need to train, plan, train some more, and then plan even more just to attempt a climb up Mt. Everest. Some may even need to turn back. What you are trying to do is no easier. Not only that you had to deal with a layoff and a sick mother. Have those mountaineers walk across Asia. Now ask them to climb Mt. Everest. They’d call you crazy.

Give yourself the credit of having crossed Asia on foot. It’s true that this perspective doesn’t make this next part any less difficult, but at the very least understand why you feel this hopelessness and fatigued. Running off up the mountain while cursing yourself for suffering altitude sickness isn’t going to help. In fact such haste is dangerous.

After a good night’s sleep, you can plan. You already have a lot of things going for you, Diner: a Fortune Cookie with a good sense of direction and a destination–the Navy. Understand that I can’t guarantee your finding Shangri-la there, but it’s certainly the best direction you have.

Now fold the map smaller and smaller until it fits in your hands. In real-life terms, ask yourself what you need to survive: A job? Stable housing? Worry about those first. Hone in on each thing and work them in order of importance.

Once you’ve decided to worry about one thing at a time, you can be clever about how you pursue them knowing your destination. Consider working for the Navy as a civilian. Once you find footing working for the Navy, look into their covered continuing education programs. If they are open to you, you’ve just found a great incentive to enroll back in college. If not, working toward their qualifications will take you closer to your ultimate goal.

Even without the specific benefits the US Navy provides, the point, Diner, is understanding that problems divided into the smallest, most important pieces are much easier to deal with than the whole thing all at once. Not only that, each piece can offer you opportunities and tools that will make reaching your goal even easier. But like the mountaineers who turn back, give yourself permission to fail. It’s OK. Go next season, but keep going next season until you make it. Keep moving. One step and then the next. Good luck on your trip, Diner.