When you don't want to finish or even start a task, think about the possible reasons why you're having trouble. The next step is to devise a strategy to spur you on.
Keep in mind that not every strategy is effective for every individual or every circumstance. Conduct some behavioral experiments to find out which tactics work best for you to achieve your objectives.
Change your behavior to pretend you're motivated. You might be able to fool yourself into thinking you're motivated. Your actions may alter your feelings if you act as though you were motivated.
For instance, rather than sitting on the couch all day in your pajamas waiting for inspiration, get dressed and move. It's possible that taking action will boost your motivation, which will make it simpler for you to keep going.
Therefore, ask yourself, "If I were motivated, what would I be doing right now?" Take into consideration what you would be doing, thinking, and wearing. Then, try doing these things and see if you feel more motivated.
Argument the Other Way: Everything You Need to Know About Motivation When you're having trouble finding motivation, you'll probably come up with a long list of reasons why you shouldn't do anything. You might think, "It won't be hard enough" or "I won't finish it anyway." You will remain stuck with these kinds of thoughts.
Try arguing against it. Argument all the reasons you might succeed when you believe you will fail. Or, if you think you won't be able to finish a job, write down all the evidence that shows you will be able to.
Contrary arguments can help you see the spectrum from both sides. It may also serve as a reminder that an excessively pessimistic outcome is not always accurate.
There is a possibility that things will turn out better than you anticipated. Additionally, it's possible that cultivating a more balanced outlook will increase your willingness to try new things.
You might believe that being hard on yourself is the only way to get motivated. However, harsh self-criticism is ineffective.
Self-compassion is actually much more motivating, according to research, especially when facing difficulties.
According to a study that was carried out in 2011 by researchers at the University of California, self-compassion increases the motivation to recover from failure.1 When students spoke to themselves with kindness after failing a test, they spent more time studying. They also said that when they practiced self-acceptance, which is an important part of self-compassion, they were more motivated to change their weaknesses.
Mental health may also benefit from cultivating self-compassion. Self-compassion reduced psychological distress, anxiety and depression symptoms, and the negative effects of stress, according to a 2012 study2 in Clinical Psychology Review.
Therefore, instead of criticizing yourself or berating yourself for your mistakes, engage in kinder internal dialogue. However, this does not necessitate repeating overly optimistic statements such as "I'm the best person in the world."
Healthy self-compassion, on the other hand, finds a balance between self-love and self-acceptance. Honestly acknowledge your shortcomings, errors, and failures. However, do not engage in a pity party.
Treat yourself as if you were a trusted friend. Consider the following: "What would I tell a friend who was having this problem?" You probably would be much nicer to another person than you are to yourself. Therefore, begin treating yourself as a friend.
In addition, provide yourself with constructive guidance. Learn to talk to yourself in a way that motivates you and helps you bounce back from setbacks.
Use the 10-Minute Rule When you don't want to do something, like walking three miles on a treadmill, you won't be motivated to do it. However, you can show yourself that the task isn't as bad as you think it is or that you can handle it better than you think. This will help you feel less anxious.
You can get started with the 10-minute rule. Permit yourself to quit a task after ten minutes. Consider whether you want to continue or stop when you reach the ten-minute mark. You will likely discover that you have sufficient drive to continue.
Use the 10-minute rule to motivate yourself to take action, whether you're struggling to get started on a boring report or can't seem to get off the couch to start a to-do list.
The most difficult part of any task is usually getting started. But once you start, it's much easier to keep going.
Take a Nature Walk Getting some exercise, fresh air, and a change of scenery can help you stay motivated. When compared to a crowded urban street, walking in nature can be especially beneficial.
According to a 2013 study that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, walking a half-mile through a park can help reduce brain fatigue.3 Being in nature has a calming effect that reenergizes the brain, which can encourage you to take on challenging tasks.
Therefore, instead of walking down a crowded street, visit a park or botanical garden. Nature can give you the mental break you need to get back to your project with more energy than before.
Pair a Task You Hate with Something You Like Your feelings have a big impact on how motivated you are. Your motivation to take on a difficult challenge or complete a tedious task will suffer if you are sad, bored, lonely, or anxious.
Add some fun to something you don't want to do to lift your mood. When you regularly pair the task with something fun, you'll be happier and may even enjoy it.
Some examples include:
- While you run, listen to music.
- While you are cleaning the house, call a friend and talk.
- While you are working on your computer, light a scented candle.
- When you travel for business, you can rent a luxury vehicle.
- You can ask a friend to go shopping with you.
- While you're doing your laundry, put on your favorite show.
- Just make sure that having fun doesn't affect how well you perform. For instance, if you're writing a paper and watching TV at the same time, you might get distracted and sluggish. Or it could be so distracting to talk to a friend while you're cleaning the house that you can't focus on what you're doing.
Manage Your To-Do List When your list is too long, it can be hard to stay motivated. You might not attempt anything if you believe there is no way to finish everything.
Keep in mind that the majority of people underestimate the time it will take to complete a task. And if they don't finish it on time, they might think they're lazy or ineffective. This may backfire by demotivating them, making it even more difficult to complete more tasks.
Examine your to-do list to see if it is excessively long. If so, eliminate non-essential tasks.
Examine the possibility of shifting other tasks to a different day. Move the items on the list that are most important to the top of the list.
You might find that making small adjustments to your to-do list or how you look at it will make it easier to manage your tasks. As a result, you might be inspired to go to work more.
Mental Health in the Workplace Webinar On May 19, 2022, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, hosted a virtual Mental Health in the Workplace webinar for Verywell Mind. If you missed it, check out this recap to find out how to create environments at work that are supportive and how to improve your well-being at work.
If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to motivate yourself. A lack of leisure time, poor diet, and lack of sleep are just a few of the things that can make it harder than ever to get through the day.
Plan a healthy self-care routine that includes taking care of your mind and body:
- Regularly exercise.
- Get a lot of rest.
- Maintain a healthy diet and drink water.
- Make time for fun and relaxation.
- Utilize healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors like overindulging in food and alcohol.
- Give Yourself a Small Reward for Hard Work Create a small reward for yourself that you can earn for your efforts. Focusing on the reward might help you stay motivated to achieve your objectives.
For instance, if you have to write a lengthy paper for class, you might approach it in one of the following ways:
After writing 500 words, take a 10-minute break.
After 30 minutes of work, eat one piece of chocolate.
Remind yourself that when you finish writing one page each day, you will have free time to do whatever you want.
After 20 minutes of work, you should spend 5 minutes on social media.
Give yourself permission to go out with friends after you finish the paper.
Consider whether a larger reward for completing a job or smaller, more frequent rewards are more likely to inspire you. You might want to try a few different approaches until you find one that works best for you.
However, ensure that your rewards do not undermine your efforts. It's possible that giving yourself a sugary treat as a reward for your hard work at the gym will be detrimental. In addition, unproductive bad habits will eventually sap your motivation.
Seek Professional Help
Seek professional assistance if your motivation remains low for more than two weeks. If your lack of motivation is affecting your day-to-day activities, you may also want to seek assistance. For instance, if you can't go to work, your work performance suffers, or if you can't get yourself out of bed, this could be a sign of something more serious.
Make an appointment to see your doctor. It's possible that your doctor will want to rule out any physical conditions that might be affecting your mood or energy.
To see if your lack of motivation is caused by a mental illness like depression, your doctor may also refer you to a mental health professional. In that case, therapy, medication, or a combination of the two may be used for treatment.
To deal with your lack of motivation and any underlying issues, you might also want to think about enrolling in an online therapy program.
Causes of Having No Motivation
A lack of motivation can sometimes be the issue. In other instances, it is merely a sign of a larger issue.
If you're a perfectionist, for instance, your lack of motivation may be caused by the anxiety that you won't finish a task perfectly. Your motivation is unlikely to increase until you address this need to be perfect.
At other times, you might put things off because you don't want to. Additionally, you become less motivated the more you put things off. In this instance, boosting your drive to finish your work can make you feel better and improve your performance.
Therefore, it is essential to devote a few moments to contemplating the reasons why you may struggle with self-motivation. Common reasons for feeling unmotivated include:
- Avoidance of discomfort. Sometimes a lack of motivation is caused by a desire to avoid unpleasant emotions, whether you want to avoid feeling bored doing something routine or avoid feeling frustrated by avoiding a difficult challenge.
- Self-doubt. You probably won't be able to get started if you think you can't do something or if you think you can't handle the pain of a task.
- Being over-extended. You will probably feel overwhelmed when you have a lot going on in your life. Additionally, this feeling may sap your drive.
- Lack of commitment to a goal. If you agree to a task out of obligation or out of peer pressure, it may indicate that you are not truly committed. And if you aren't committed to your goal, you probably won't do anything about it.
- Mental health issues. A common sign of depression is a lack of drive. It may also be linked to anxiety and other mental illnesses. Therefore, it is essential to inquire as to whether your mental health may be affecting your level of motivation.
These are just a few of the many common causes of motivation problems. You might discover that other issues, such as a fear of what other people think or a desire to please everyone, are to blame for your lack of motivation. Give careful consideration to the underlying emotions and thoughts that are driving you crazy.