When was the last time you just didn’t feel like doing something? It could have been something as simple as cleaning the dishes or a time sensitive work task. Whether you just didn’t feel motivated to clean your house, or start that creative project you’ve been talking about for ages, a lack of motivation can be a formidable obstacle for achieving your goals.
So how can we find motivation when we just don’t feel like doing something?
Consider the Reason Why
Sometimes, our lack of motivation is a symptom of a larger problem. For example, one common reason we can lack motivation begins with feelings of avoidance or discomfort when we are trying to avoid frustration over the difficulty of the task. Another common reason we feel unmotivated can be from self-doubt, or having a lack of commitment to a task or goal. Whatever your reason is, taking the time to reflect on why you feel unmotivated is an important step to correctly identify your underlying thoughts and feelings that affect your drive.
Review and Revise Your To-Do List
When our to-do lists become overwhelming, that can stifle our motivation. If you think that there’s no hope in getting anything done, it’s harder to find the will to do anything. One way to overcome an overwhelming to-do list is to assess it. Is it too long? Are the tasks on the list too overwhelming in size? Try making tweaks to your list, or cross off tasks that aren’t essential. Even a slight change to your to-do list can make your perception of your tasks more manageable.
Argue the Opposite
When you’re feeling unmotivated, it’s easy to come up with countless reasons why you don’t want to do something. One way to break up this cycle is to confront and argue the opposite. Each time you come up with a reason not to do something, counter it with arguing the opposite. For example, say your reason for not completing a task is a fear of failure. Instead of indulging this hypothetical, argue all of the reasons why you’re going to succeed. With a more balanced outlook, it will be easier to find the motivation to try.
Use the 10-Minute Rule
Sometimes the hardest part of finding motivation is getting started. If there are certain tasks that you dread doing, try setting a ten minute timer. This timer will help you get started on the task while also giving you the permission to quit the task after ten minutes. When you reach that ten minute mark, you can ask yourself if you want to stop or keep going. The ten-minute rule can help us turn our lack of motivation to action. Even if your work doesn’t exceed ten minutes, working on something for ten minutes is better than no minutes.
Sometimes, we think that being hard on ourselves is necessary to stay motivated, but self-compassion, especially during times of adversity, is more motivating. Show kindness to yourself and self-compassion when you don’t reach your productivity goals, as it can go a long way for improving our mood and motivation in the long run. Try speaking to yourself like a trusted friend and coach yourself in an encouraging manner. When you start treating yourself like a good friend, the positivity and uplift can do wonders in improving our self-motivation.
Reward Yourself for Working
A tried and true method to motivate ourselves through a difficult task is creating a small reward system. Focusing on a reward may help you stay motivated to complete tasks and work towards a goal. Creating the right reward system that works for you will take practice. You may prefer smaller, more frequent rewards or a bigger reward after a completed job. Experiment with a few different strategies until you discover an approach that works best for you. Just keep in mind that you don’t want your rewards to sabotage your efforts. For example, rewarding your hard work at the gym with a sugary treat might be counterproductive. In the long term, counterproductive bad habits can decrease your motivation.
Take a Break
Sometimes when we’re trying to focus on something for a long time, it reduces our motivation more than helps it. Although it seems counterintuitive, It’s okay to step away and take a break. When we step away, we not only step away from a task we feel unmotivated to do, but we also step away from our negative feelings that impact our motivation. As long as we have the intention and action plan to return to the task, we can come back to it with a fresh perspective and willingness to try again.
Finding Motivation From Within
Finding motivation is a task in itself, but it's a task we occasionally need to work through from time to time. During these moments, be kind to yourself, experiment, and ask for help if you need it. When we find the strategies we need to kick-start our motivation, we are well on our way to achieving our goals.
Written by Eleni Zaptses
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