5 Steps to Overcome Autistic Inertia and Achieve Your Dreams (Even If You’re Not Autistic)

Motivating ourselves to do the things we want is key for a good life

Chelsey Flood
6 min readJun 30, 2021


Phone art by author

In 2020 I bought a tree hammock. Green canvas with a mosquito net covering, I dreamed of lying inside it, swinging between tree trunks, listening to birdsong or reading a book. A year later, I still had never put it up.

Sure, I took it out with me a couple of times, but there were too many steps to manage to hang it. Eventually, last winter, I tidied the tree hammock away in a box under the bed. I felt low-level frustrated with myself — a familiar feeling — because it wasn’t only the tree hammock.

Lacking follow-through has been an issue all my life. Frustration around this passivity was one of the main things that drove me to get sober. I was determined to make my own dreams come true. But five years sober, my inertia still thwarts me this way!

Why is doing things SO hard?

Before I was diagnosed with autism, I thought it was because I was lazy and weak, but recently I discovered that autistic inertia is a real thing that many of us struggle with.

Quincy at Speaking of Autism… explains it well here:

“Autistic inertia is the tendency that autistic people have to want to remain in a constant state. When we’re asleep we want to stay asleep, when awake we want to stay awake, when we’re working on one thing we want to keep working on it, when we’re doing one thing we want to keep doing that one thing, etc. Now, yes, this tendency exists in everybody but you must understand that this is often significantly more pronounced in autistic people. This can also (at least in part) be due to executive functioning struggles.”

I relate to this so much. Whenever I get into a car, I don’t want to get out again. Ever. Even if the destination is the most exciting place in the world. I want to stay in the car for always. This is why I hate leaving my flat, generally, too. Getting me in the car in the first place is difficult. Then once I’m in the car, I don’t want to get out again.

Yep. Inertia sounds about right.