Hands up if at some point in your life, possibly even now, you’ve gone through a period of a complete lack of motivation… CONGRATULATIONS!!! That means you’re perfectly normal. Yes, even the highest-performing people in the world go through periods of nothing but pure lack of motivation.
There are many different reasons why people may experience a lack of motivation, but I’ve found that not setting goals could lead to it. Think about it, for a lot of people, having something that they’re working towards keeps them motivated and excited about life. So, surely the adverse is true.
If you don’t set realistic or the right goals (or if you don’t set any goals at all!!!), you could find yourself in a not-so-nice situation of a lack of motivation. If that’s where you are right now, I’m really glad you landed on this page. You’re in luck. I’m about to share some steps that you could take to cure your lack of motivation.
What causes lack of motivation?
The short and sweet answer is… A LOT of things can cause lack of motivation. One key cause that ties in with goal setting is not having a clear idea of what it is that you want. You’d be surprised by how many people think they know what they want, but if someone had to directly ask them, they’d be stuttering and unable to give a clear answer.
Another cause of a lack of motivation may be procrastination. I’m pretty sure a lot of people can relate to this one. The common lie that some people tell themselves is that they work better under pressure or that “there’s still time.” To be honest, those are age-old procrastination tactics that can lead to a lack of motivation.
If you avoid doing things that you should be doing for long enough, you may just end up not wanting to do them at all and feeling completely unmotivated to leave your bed. That’s a trap you should avoid at all costs!!!
Another damper that could lead to a lack of motivation is comparison. Ever heard it being said that comparison is the thief of joy? Yeah, whichever bright spark came up with that wasn’t lying. If you keep failing at what you’re doing, while your friend or colleague is flourishing, you’ll probably end up comparing yourself to them and feel like giving up.
Feeling overwhelmed could also lead to a lack of motivation. The amount of things we can carry comfortably as people differs; so what might overwhelm your neighbor may not overwhelm you, and vice versa.
Often, feeling overwhelmed results from not being able to manage your time or resources properly, or even just the inability to break things down into smaller and more manageable pieces. This applies to a lot of other things in life.
Not living up to your full potential could also lead you down the path of not feeling motivated and just uninterested in life. You know all those dreams you had when you were younger? The type of life you’ve always envisioned yourself living? For a lot of people, not being able to reach those goals and desires could lead to them feeling unmotivated.
It’s so sad to see a person’s hopes and dreams just fade away… but that’s what happens when you forget that you’re in the driver’s seat of your life. Yes, there are certain things that are way beyond your control, but being committed to realizing your dreams and working towards them every single day isn’t one of those things.
Of course, there are so many other things that could lead to a lack of motivation, but you would be able to determine the reasons for yourself through self-introspection. I’m no guru, but analyzing your surroundings, interactions and relooking your goals is a good way of trying to find the cause in your own life.
What are signs of a lack of motivation?
These differ from person to person. For some, a lack of motivation could even look like a depressive episode. Even something like not wanting to get out of bed is a common sign of a lack of motivation. Whether it’s because you feel like you don’t have anything worth waking up for, or if you’re simply just procrastinating, it’s a sign to watch out for.
In the workplace, signs of a lack of motivation could be things like not participating in meetings or brainstorming sessions. Another common sign is clock watching. Okay, I know a lot of people do that on a Friday because they’re rushing to enjoy sundowners with friends. But it shouldn’t be an everyday thing though, otherwise you probably really hate your job.
In a home setup, when you lack motivation, you may not even want to spend time with your partner or kids. Perhaps just the mere thought of having to interact with anyone makes you tired. Yikes!
Burnout and stress are other very common signs. For some reason, a lot of people romanticize working themselves to the bone and proving how hardworking they are. That’s just a downward spiral that can lead to low productivity and overall fatigue.
Generally, when you no longer find joy in most of the things that you used to, or you simply just want to hide out in the dark, you’re probably experiencing a lack of motivation. The good news, though, is that it can be fixed (YAY!!!).
How does it negatively affect your life?
A lack of motivation has a MAJOR impact on pretty much all aspects of your life. Your family will feel it. Your colleagues will feel it. Your friends will feel it. Everybody around you will just feel your low energy and lack of motivation. Nobody enjoys being around someone like that, at least I know I don’t.
In really bad situations, it could lead to more long-term medical conditions. Remaining in a slump for an extended period of time could result in that becoming your everyday mood, and you don’t want that. Not being able to enjoy anything in life, or feeling like you simply don’t have a good enough reason to get out of bed, are things you need to intentionally avoid.
12 steps to cure your lack of motivation
1 – Have bigger goals
To avoid failing or the embarrassment of not achieving what you set out to, some people dumb their aspirations down, which is absolutely crazy! I think you should have something that’s freaking amazing to wake up for each morning. Too many people set really boring and easy goals, and end up living unmotivated and uninspiring lives.
BUT, that’s not to say that you should set bigger and more extravagant goals that you know very well are unrealistic and unattainable to you. Goal setting is such a personal thing, you can’t copy what the next person is doing because we are extremely different as people.
2 – Prioritize the side things
I am chock-full of motivation, but I have lost it before. The thing that got me back on track were all those things you know you are supposed to do but probably don’t (guilty as charged). Things like eating well, sleeping well, exercising, and relaxing. Now, if I don’t keep a routine of those things, life starts getting worse until I turn it around again.
I like to think of each aspect of life as a different, but equally important piece of the puzzle. Neglect or lose control of one, and the entire thing is ruined. Everything needs to work together.
3 – Get your friends in on it
Okay, so I wrote a whole piece on saving money with friends because let’s admit it, everything is a lot more fun when you do it with friends. I always say that when you do something as a collective, it’s pretty cool because you can cheer each other on and become each other’s accountability partners.
Sometimes all it takes is a quick message or reminder from a friend about what it is you’re working towards that will get you through the day. They say motivation is a bit like bathing, it doesn’t last. That’s why it’s recommended every day. So get your friends in on it.
4 – Say NO to doing more
You need space to grow and be motivated. If you are crushed by life’s needs, cut some off. Become comfortable with simply saying “no” to things and people. We all know just how demanding life can be at times, but if it’s starting to really suck the life out of you, take a break and get some relief.
Believe it or not, nobody is expecting you to be a superhero that saves the world, so relax and let go of some things. Offloading and taking on a lighter load could actually you a world of good!
5 – Gain momentum
You can do this by having your big goal, and then setting smaller goals that you can use as baby steps. That way, you’re pacing yourself and gaining momentum over time, in order to get to the big prize!
6 – Be happy with what you have
As people, I think we’re just built to always want more and to want better for ourselves, which is fine. But in the process of chasing those really cool and big milestones, don’t fall into the comparison trap or feeling discontent. Once you learn to be happy with what you have, you’ll probably have more motivation to pursue even greater things.
7 – Get active
I know what you’re thinking – “Where on earth am I going to get the time to go to the gym?!” The good news is, it doesn’t have to be a gym. Just find a way to keep your body moving. Even if it’s something as simple as a few minutes on the treadmill or a few laps in the pool. Your physiological state plays a big role in how motivated you are – so don’t neglect it.
If you choose to go back into your room and scream and shout while running around like a mad man after dropping the kids off at school, that’s also fine. I guess that counts as movement of some sort…
8 – Be mindful of how you talk to yourself
Unpopular opinion – you’re your biggest bully. Think about all the things you say to yourself on a daily basis (especially the mean things like calling yourself stupid over a simple mistake). Now imagine saying those things to somebody else, I’m sure it wouldn’t sit right with them.
Now, you need to flip this on its head and focus on saying good and positive things to yourself. What you consume and feed your brain definitely has an impact on how you see life, so just try being kind to yourself more often and see how that goes. Decide to stop thinking of yourself as unmotivated or a complete failure, and think the opposite instead.
9 – Stop procrastinating
Easier said than done, I know. I’ve found that when there’s a certain chore that I really don’t want to do – like taking out the trash – I put it off for as long as possible. But the sad truth is, it doesn’t really go away. That black bag just sits there, waiting for me to attend to it
The same can be said for whatever else you may be avoiding in your life. Procrastinating doesn’t solve your problems, it just delays everything. The best way to avoid procrastinating is to tackle your task bit by bit.
I’m going to assume you’re dealing with something bigger and much more important than taking out the trash. My approach to it would be to break it down into smaller parts, and then work on it each day. It makes it more manageable that way, and you may just find some motivation in the process simply from just getting started.
Instead of thinking about everything that needs to be done, and then just getting yourself worked up and overwhelmed, rather focus on what you can do now to get moving.
10 – Develop good habits
Good habits to improve your wellbeing can improve your motivation and help you live a better quality of life. There are thousands of self-help books you could get to help you with getting into certain habits. I know a lot of people have been raving about Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club and how it “added” a few hours to their day and made them more productive.
Others – like me – tend to lean more towards books that encourage good financial habits. People love Robert Kiyosaki. Personally, I take his advice with a pinch of salt – but Cashflow Quadrant is pretty good.
Whatever area of life you are looking to improve in, you need to be intentional about developing habits that will set you on the right path. Although they say it takes 21 days to develop a new habit, remaining consistent over a longer period of time is what will help you see better results and improvement.
On some days, the habits you develop and sense of routine is what will keep you motivated to do whatever it is that you need to do. Habits work hand-in-hand with goals to help you become a better person.
11 – Be intentional
The best way to get from A to B, is to know the steps you need to take to get there. Which means that you should be very intentional about the things you do (and don’t do) to get there. Being intentional allows you to cut out all the fluff and focus only on the things that will serve your purpose.
In the process, you’re likely to feel more motivated because everything that you do is working towards a greater goal. Cut out all the fluff. Tunnel vision is the best vision to get to what you’ve set out to reach or accomplish.
12 – Stand up to fear
Fear – especially the fear of failure – can creep up on you and attack you at the worst of time. But something that a lot of successful people have mastered the art of doing, is standing up to it. Fear is one thing that can cripple you and stand in the way of you accomplishing what you set out to.
So, to cure a lack of motivation caused by fear, you need to affirm yourself continuously, be brave, and continuously remind yourself of the great rewards that lie on the other side of fear. Isn’t it weird how we read all these fairy tales and teach our kids all these life lessons, yet, when we have to implement them in our own lives, it becomes tricky?
Now, I want to encourage you to start becoming childlike in your thinking when faced with fear. Mind you, I said “childlike,” not “childish.”
Have you see how kids have a certain bravery and courage with them because they haven’t been scarred by life? Oh, and of course the fact that they rely on you as the parent to solve all their problems when they shout your name.
But the bottom line is, their minds are wired to be curious and learn, which means that they are constantly exploring and putting themselves in uncertain and potentially scary situations. When you think of a baby that’s still learning how to walk, it’s a fearful experience. They fall and bruise themselves, but they keep getting up and walking again. Despite any fear.
I love how babies view the world – nothing but endless exploration. More often than not, babies are always on the go and need very little to keep them motivated. They’re just naturally motivated to wake up and conquer the world, all while learning new things in the process.
At the end of the day, we need to be motivated to achieve anything in life. Don’t be afraid to take on a childlike approach to keep you motivated.
TL;DR – Lack of motivation and what to do about it
- One thing I know for sure, is that nobody is immune to periods of a lack of motivation, which can be caused by different things depending on your circumstances and environment.
- Some common causes include not setting clear goals, extended periods of procrastination, or even comparing your life to the next person’s.
- A lack of motivation can have a far-reaching impact on your health and overall quality of life, and could leave you constantly feeling overwhelmed, anxious or stressed.
- Try setting really cool and amazing goals that will keep you motivated, and get your friends to cheer you on throughout. Most importantly, be grateful and happy with what you have.