When it comes to completing work, we may not always feel motivated. Personally, there are days or weeks when I lack motivation. However, time does not stop just because we don’t “feel like it.” Therefore, we must make intentional choices to overcome the lack of motivation and complete our tasks. In this blog post, we will explore common causes of a lack of motivation and how to regain it.
What is a lack of motivation?
Motivation can be defined as the driving force behind our actions, the reason why we do the things we do. It involves our overall willingness to participate in activities that lead to goal achievement and fulfilling needs. Conversely, a lack of motivation signifies the absence of this driving force, leading to disinterest or apathy towards necessary tasks.
This can manifest in various ways, such as procrastination, avoidance, or a general feeling of being stuck or unproductive. Experiencing occasional days of low motivation is normal. But as time goes on, it can significantly impact both your personal and professional life. Identifying the signs of a lack of motivation is crucial. Seek solutions to prevent prolonged stagnation and work towards accomplishing your desired goals.
What causes a lack of motivation in adults?
There are a lot of reasons why we can feel unmotivated as adults. One thing that I’ve been learning as I’ve gotten older is that life will continue to get hard. Anticipated and unforeseen factors may discourage us from pursuing greater achievements or fulfilling necessary tasks. Here are some of the reasons I’ve found myself unmotivated:
- Grief: dealing with grief, especially now that I’m a lot older, has been hard. Especially when having to still exists and show up in so many different avenues.
- Burn-Out: there have been numerous times as an entrepreneur as well as a software engineer that I’ve felt so burnout. Juggling tight deadlines, multiple projects, and lacking a supportive network has dampened my motivation to keep working.
- Lack of Patience: One of the signs that you are lacking motivation is procrastination. When I find myself procrastinating things, it’s usually not the tasks that I know will spend 5-10 minutes doing. Oftentimes, I tend to procrastinate on tasks that I’m aware will realistically require 1-2 hours of my time. Upon analysis, this tendency stems from my urge for quick progress, leading to resistance against investing sufficient time. Because of my impatience, I’m unmotivated to spend the time that it takes to do what needs to get done.
- Feeling Stagnant: When I feel like I’m not making any progress in anything specifically, that makes me feel unmotivated.
How to fix & overcome a lack of motivation
Understanding the root cause and recognizing signs of demotivation make overcoming it easier. Here are some of the ways that I’ve found to get me out of my lack of motivation state:
Setting Realistic Goals
After a bout of unmotivation, there’s a temptation to resume work at your previous pace as if nothing happened. I personally don’t recommend this approach. You want your motivation to last a long time, so begin at a pace you can later build on comfortably. This emphasizes the significance of setting achievable goals, which align your expectations with those of your peers. Setting realistic goals requires you to be specific. Make sure that your goals are measurable and achievable as well as relevant to what you aim to accomplish overall.
When I resumed content creation after a break, I committed to 3 posts per platform for 3 months. Now, feeling acclimated, I’m set for growth. Realistic goals allow you to start where you are, avoiding unnecessary delay and procrastination. As I become more comfortable, I’m eager to expand further.
Break Down Large Tasks
If you have a daunting task that you are trying to get started, break it down into smaller tasks. One of the things I always ask myself when starting a new task is “What is the smallest thing that I can get done that will move the needle?” and I keep working from there. Your larger tasks are usually tasks that may span over a couple of hours or even days. Trying to do larger tasks in one sitting will start to make you feel fatigued. This will lead you to never want to take on that task again. Breaking down large tasks allows you to stay focused longer because you’re only focused on one little piece at a time thereby reducing the feeling of being overwhelmed.
When you’re working on a smaller task that is part of a larger task, it is important to manage your time effectively. This ensures that you are able to accomplish your goals efficiently. One recommended method for doing this is the Pomodoro Technique. This technique involves setting a timer for a designated period of time, usually around 25 minutes, and working solely on the task at hand during that time. After the timer goes off, you take a short break, usually around 5 minutes, before starting the next Pomodoro session.
This method allows you to take frequent breaks while still making progress on your larger task. Additionally, during your short breaks, you can use the time to stretch, take a quick walk, or engage in other activities that help you recharge and stay focused on your work. By using the Pomodoro Technique, you can break down a larger task into smaller, more manageable parts, and accomplish more in less time.
Create a Positive Mindset
Having a positive mindset about the work you’re doing can help make the work you need to get done a lot easier to accomplish. Having a positive mindset is important because it really will frame how you approach the work that you’re doing as well as your attitude toward any other things that may come your way. Some of the ways that I try and develop a more positive mindset are:
- Writing 3 things that I’m grateful for
- Meditation & Yoga
- Reframing my language from saying “I have to” to “I get to”
When you reframe your mindset, it makes the work that you’re doing, regardless of whether or not it’s enjoyable, more feasible. When you can overcome negative thoughts and emotions, you can master the art of doing and achieving more.
One of the things that I’m guilty of not doing as often as I should is rewarding and celebrating myself for my accomplishments. It is so important to set celebratory milestones for yourself as you work towards accomplishing your goals to stay motivated. My reasoning for not celebrating myself enough is that sometimes I feel like I always find ways to avoid doing what needs to be done in order to do less, and then feel indifferent about outcomes not meeting my intentions.
One thing that you can try and do is plan for yourself a big reward and create different milestones that will help you reach that goal. For example, maybe your big reward for yourself is planning a trip after you complete a big project. As you accomplish each little milestone towards your bigger milestone, consider finalizing one aspect of the trip like your location, accommodations, flights, etc. As you find little ways to get yourself more and more excited for this trip, this will help you stay more and more motivated as you work towards completing your goals.
Find a Support System
The people you surround yourself with are just as important as the things you do on your own. When it comes to achieving your goals and staying motivated to reach them, you don’t have to do them alone. Managing all that life throws at you can be a pretty isolating and frustrating experience. And going through the ups and downs can be tough especially when you’re trying to do it alone.
Personally, I discovered that leaning on my community of supportive friends and family not only uplifts me but also keeps me accountable. Community is everything and it can be what you need in order to go on to the next level. If you’re struggling with building that community, I encourage you to look at different group coaching programs, masterminds, Facebook groups, or even on social media. When you’re having trouble staying motivated, reach out to your community to help you stay on the course.
How To Get Your Motivation Back
If you’ve gotten to a point where you are able to accomplish the work that needs to get done, the next step is to focus on regaining your motivation. Motivation is key because that is what is going to drive you and propel you forward to achieve newer heights than you ever thought possible. If you’re looking to get your motivation back. Here are some tips that I recommend:
Identify your Why
One thing that helps me stay motivated is reminding myself of my why. While there are a lot of things I really enjoy doing, there are a lot of things that I don’t enjoy doing as much and that can sometimes lead to being unmotivated and not wanting to do the work that I need to do. However, I always try to make sure that what I’m working on aligns with the bigger picture and the goals that I have for myself, my brand, and my business. Creating that alignment, allows me to reinforce in my head that I am working towards something that is bigger than this project or task that I am working on right now.
Take Care of Yourself
Rest is just as important as the hustle. Often times I find myself looking at my never-ending to-do list. And I always think to myself, “Wow, I am never going to finish this” and so I keep trying to hustle and move quickly. However, lately, I’ve been discovering that I really just need more rest. I really need more time to sit and reflect on what it is that I want to do, make time to clear my head, and just relax. When I create time to relax, I find that I am able to work more efficiently with the specific time that I’ve given as opposed to giving myself ample time and working a lot slower.
I also find that I need to make more time for my friends and family. My friends and family are some of the most important people to me and I never want to make them feel that they are not a priority. When I take the time away to spend with my family and friends, I come back feeling refreshed which helps me stay motivated.
Visualize Your Success
This is something that I’ve been doing a lot more lately and I’ve been loving it! Visualizing the person that you are and who you want to become is a great way to build back that motivation. When you start to visualize, ask yourself:
- What do I need to do daily in order to become that person?
- How will I feel once I am able to achieve that?
- What does that person do to maintain that level of success?
When you start to create a visual, it can really start to reframe your mind to think more positively and drive you closer to that end state.
Motivational quotes to help you gain motivation
When those negative thoughts start to cloud back into your mind, having a handful of motivational quotes and affirmations is really helpful when developing that mindset. Here are a few of the affirmations and quotes that I love:
- Practice how you play
- I am capable of living the life that I want
- You become what you believe
- You already have what it takes
- Show me how good it can get
- Done is better than perfect
I encourage you to start your day reading or saying affirmations to yourself and even repeatedly throughout the morning so that you can constantly remind yourself of your worth and your value.
Motivation is something that can ebb and flow, but who you are will always ring true. I’ve found that in the times that I don’t feel motivated to start, having a plan of what needs to get done helps me kickstart things into motion. If you’re looking for a weekly planner that can help you stay focused on your goals, I encourage you to purchase my Weekly Planning Notion template.