I've posted a few questions regarding research and I'm trying to make my progress on a project more fruitful, and while the answers/comments have been quite helpful, it still doesn't seem like I am really enjoying the process - I have a hard time in following through with the advice and getting myself to work, and it seems like I'm asking questions trying to treat symptoms but not the root cause.
For me, it seems like I want a career in academia or something research-based because I don't really want to end up in industry (more specifically, I don't want to end up as a software engineer). But at the same time, I also don't feel I have enough interest and knowledge in my current project to push myself forward.
I've done a small (software) internship for a startup, did some "research" which was closer to software work where I helped visualize some data into a website, and now have an internship for a larger tech company this summer. I found the tasks I had in my previous experiences to be not very interesting or stimulating, so industry did not seem to appeal to me (though maybe things will change this summer). However, when I speak to professors during office hours, or family members with graduate degrees, and talk to them about their work it resonates more with me. So I've definitely found more interest in academia, or so it seems.
The problem is that it seems like my interest stops there - I like talking about academia/research work but am less motivated to put in the work in my classes and research. In the case of academics, I can warm up to a book about a topic I'm learning about over time provided there isn't much time pressure, but research is a different beast. I find that I keep putting my research on the back burner, and once I got my position, getting started on anything is hard, to say the least.
This conflict is why I'm feeling that I might be gaslighting myself by accident.
At this point, I feel like I'm the stereotypical parent in YouTube skits where they say that the kid needs to grow up to be a "doctor, lawyer, engineer, or failure", except I'm doing this to myself. Is there any way that could help me determine if I am truly wanting a career in academia or if I've just convinced myself that I do?
For context, my previous questions dealt with external factors that do seem to be making it harder. Having to deal with extraneous tasks and other commitments makes being able to find joy in learning hard (and finding time to work on research far harder), and a lack of supervision and deadline in my research project means I can let the inertia keeping me from work fester. I don't have access to a time machine or some way to tweak personal parameters so I wouldn't know how things would be if those roadblocks were removed, but it doesn't seem like those are the root cause - if I had more passion, then I feel like I could find a way around them.
I'm really not sure where I'm going with this question, so if it's against the rules or off-topic in some way, feel free to close this, but if not, advice would be greatly appreciated.