We all suffer from a lack of motivation from time to time. It’s easy to dismiss an unproductive day or two as “just being lazy” but what if it’s more than that? What if you truly have no motivation? We’ve identified some steps you can take to get back into the groove.
1. Identify the source.
You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know why the problem exists. If you’re feeling unmotivated, take some time to reflect on why. Journaling or even just writing a list of possible reasons can be useful here as it forces you to get your thoughts out of your head–where they can feel vague and complex–and onto paper.
Lack of motivation can crop up for a variety of reasons. One of the most common reasons we may lose motivation is simply because we’re overwhelmed. Burnout can affect anybody and is becoming more common as our lives get busier.
Other reasons could include a fear of failure or rejection or a sense of failure from recently being rejected. No one likes feeling like they aren’t good enough, after all.
Finally, if your lack of motivation has persisted for several weeks or is affecting your ability to do anything at all, there may be something more sinister at play, like depression. Consider speaking to a doctor if that’s the case.
2. Take care of your basic needs.
When we’re feeling unmotivated, it can be easy for even our most basic needs to fall by the wayside. We tend to seek out meals and activities that are easy and comforting. That’s how we end up eating ice cream for dinner and mainlining reruns of our favorite TV shows.
While it’s extremely tempting to give into the ease of Ben and Jerry handling your meals, please put the spoon down. It’s when we are at our lowest that we most need to get back to the basics. Make sure you are eating enough and properly. Find easy but healthy snacks to graze on during your bad days. Prep meals ahead of time when you do have motivation.
A lack of sleep can also obliterate our mental health and make us unmotivated. Dehydration can make us sleepy, moody, and sick. Make sure your most basic survival needs are well-handled before you tackle the more complex problems.
3. Minimize the decisions you have to make.
Have you ever heard of decision fatigue? Think of your decision-making abilities like a savings account. For every decision you make, you deplete your decision-making savings little by little until you run out. When you have lots of decision-making savings, it’s not so hard to make decisions all the time. When you run low, however, your brain grows tired and starts looking for shortcuts. Candy and drink displays near check-out counters in shops use this principle to tempt us into buying sugary snacks we wouldn’t otherwise want because we’re too decision fatigued to say no!
The easiest way to combat decision fatigue is to limit the number of decisions you have to make each day. This includes big and small decisions; everything from deciding what to eat and wear to how you’ll get to work and beyond. You’d be amazed how many decisions we have to make every day!
But how do we streamline our days to minimize decisions? Like the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Instead of having to worry about tomorrow’s outfit tomorrow, plan it and lay it out before you go to bed tonight.
4. Just do it (in small steps).
At first glance, this can read like terrible advice. Obviously, if you could “just do it,” you wouldn’t be here reading about how! That’s completely fair, but just hear us out.
When you feel like you can’t “just do” something, try breaking it down into the smallest possible steps you can think of. For example, say you have a mountain of dirty dishes that need to be washed in your kitchen. You can’t even imagine getting through them all! But can you turn the faucet on? Can you fill the sink with soapy water and let some dishes soak? Can you wash just the cups?
Breaking your big tasks into little ones helps ease the pressure in your mind of how much needs to be done. When you feel less intimidated, it’s easier to complete those small tasks, which boosts your confidence and gives you success momentum to keep going. Before you know it, the dishes are done!
How do you overcome a lack of motivation? Tell us on Facebook or Instagram!