Can you still remember the last time you listened to a podcast about motivation and reflected on your life changes? Or the time wherein you ingested many books for self-improvement and felt slightly motivated for the first few days, but then your desires were demolished days after? I bet the authors of the podcast or the words in the book made you excited. This is how motivation usually works. It’s a short-term pleasure – a sweet enthusiasm driving you to commit to a certain action. Have you experienced being proud and excited with all the plans and goals you have made or started? But due to something stressful, you found yourself not sleeping well – feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and disappointed. It then leads to fatigue, depression, and apathy.
All these things affect your motivation negatively. Lack of motivation causes you to stop, lie in your bed, and immerse in self-loathing. You’re losing motivation to work out, study, and eat healthily. If this has ever happened to you, no worries, you are not alone here.
In the following article, you are about to unravel the causes of why you lack motivation. So if you’re suffering because you lack motivation, do these 5 steps to enhance your life.
What Causes Lack Of Motivation?
No matter what state you’re in now, there is a reason for that. The same works for what causes you to lack motivation. You just don’t lose it on its own, there could be internal, external, or both that cause it.
Here’s a list of the most common reasons why you feel unmotivated to do things. Not all of the points apply to your situation but you may find the root of your problem:
- You’re a perfectionist. Recall your latest situations when you desired to reach unrealistic goals. For instance, you set a goal to do a 1-hour workout but instead had the power to only commit to 35 minutes. You call yourself out for not completing the exercise at the appointed time. You have no motivation to exercise the next time as you demand too much from yourself and get frustrated when something goes wrong.
- You procrastinate a lot. You voluntarily delay doing certain actions due to your negative attitude or emotions about them. The causes may be different. It could be because the task may seem too challenging for you, or you doubt you will do it right (8).
- You’re overwhelmed with daily tasks. You may need to go to work, do groceries, pick up your kids from school (in case you have them), prepare something, do house chores, go to creative classes, and so on. Although some daily tasks make you content, when you get too many of them, your emotions can shift from calm to anxious. The more anxious you are, the less motivation you have to complete daily actions (5).
- You don’t set specific goals. Sometimes when we want to commit to something beneficial, we usually forget about our goals after the starting process. If you don’t know why you aspire to eat less junk food, reduce screen time, or walk daily for 15 minutes, you may find no sense in doing this.
- You relieve negative stress in your life. A fight with a beloved partner, quitting your job, a catastrophic event in your country, or your last breakup can tightly link to your lack of motivation. Any stressful event loading you with negative emotions leads to fatigue, dissatisfaction, and overall frustration. You see no sense in the beneficial activities and indulge in negativity.
- You’re jealous of other people on social media. Do you often scroll through the posts of your favorite public personalities? If yes, then you get either motivated to keep up with them or discouraged as their life seems perfect compared to yours. Social media scrolling leads to dissatisfaction, lack of motivation, and even depression (7).
The last point is not only common among teens but adolescents as well. Studies show that adults who check out social media daily evoke depressive symptoms. Additionally, online harassment and comparison with “perfect” bodies lead to low self-esteem and self-loathing.
Moreover, people often scroll down on their phones before turning in, which leads to poor quality of your sleep. Sleep deprivation can impair your mental and physical health. As you can see, the causes for the lack of motivation are connected to each other.
Is Laziness A Lack Of Motivation?
Laziness and lack of motivation have one main similarity: you don’t do anything. However, these both states are quite different.
Laziness evokes the intention not to do anything while demotivation means you don’t see any sense in doing certain activities due to negative states.
An example of laziness is when your Monday routine starts with a small yoga class in the morning. But one day, you feel lazy to do yoga and choose to sleep longer. Your laziness will vanish in time and you’re more likely to complete the yoga session the next time.
Whereas, lack of motivation is when you wake up feeling anxious, bummed, or depressed. You doubt the importance of yoga classes; overwhelmed with the internal fight between “I have to do this” and “What’s the point of doing it anyway?”. You give up and no longer do yoga classes as you simply see no sense in this activity.
Thus, motivation and laziness set different behaviors. Laziness is a short-term condition you can cure with discipline. Meanwhile, lack of motivation is a long-term depressing state, leaving you with nothing but dissatisfaction and a lack of self-care.
How Do You Fix Lack Of Motivation?
Lack of motivation and energy might be tough, no matter what life challenges you’re dealing with. You desire to get rid of a nagging feeling of self-destruction, but how on Earth can you do that?
The short answer is that everything can be fixed but only with little effort. So we will introduce to you the five effective and easy ways to fix your lack of motivation and have a fresh start in your career, romantic life, and any other sphere.
And yes, some of them may seem too primitive, but they are truly effective. Remember, every victory begins with small steps. No need to strive for unrealistic results.
You may start by:
- Building self-discipline
- Resting during tough activities and promising yourself a reward for completing the action
- Going for a walk outside
- Pairing an irritating task with something enjoyable
- Seeking out professional help
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Self-discipline is your ability to do certain things even though you don’t really want to do them. Self-control allows you to complete actions and gain impressive results. Plus, it affects your overall well-being and leads to satisfaction (9).
The thing is, with enough discipline, you gain essential atomic habits that positively impact your life.
Thus, your mood and physical state get better, and you automatically feel motivated as you control yourself. Setting up self-discipline may not be easy, but it is attainable. Start with setting your goal.
For example, if you need to lose weight but have a sweet tooth, you can perform these essential steps to demolish the lack of motivation and start eating better:
- Set a specific object. Instead of 3 candy bars, you’ll enjoy only 1. Be as specific as possible.
- Create an environment for improvements. Make sure the healthy food is visible to you, such as putting a plate of fruits beside your bed. Substituting processed sweets with fruits is a good idea for overall health.
- Make a list of junk food you consume and look for alternatives online.
- Learn how to cook nutritious meals on your own and jot down your favorite meals for every day on a piece of paper or your online calendar.
With that being said, create self-discipline by setting specific goals and creating a positive environment around you.
Rest During Tough Activities And Promise Yourself A Reward For Completing The Action
Every workout routine requires rest. You need to rest as it is the time wherein you allow your muscles to gain more power to continue exercising. Without efficient rest, you can end up with injuries or lack the energy to do the training.
The same applies to other activities. Your boss gave you a boring job, such as writing a few reviews on some websites, and you lack the motivation to do it. You either procrastinate or write reviews reluctantly. The more reluctant you are, the more it will negatively affect the quality of your work.
You can change your attitude once you set to rest for 10 minutes after an hour of work and promise yourself a reward (go out with your friends or order your favorite pizza). Knowing something pleasant is waiting for you at the finish line invigorates your mood to complete an action.
Go for A Walk Outside
Studies demonstrate that brisk walking for even just 10 minutes per day may elevate your mood. Being in nature allows you to rejuvenate your brain, which helps you tackle a tedious task. It’s up to you if you’d prefer the walking area, a busty street, a tranquil park, or an isolated lake. As long as this place feels comfortable for you to relax and regain the power to do things.
Pair An Irritating Task With Something Enjoyable
What could be the reason why you don’t want to do certain things? It might be because you either feel bored, agitated, anxious, or lonely doing them. Rarely anyone enjoys tidying up the house or folding the laundry. No worries as you can fix this problem as well.
Overcoming the lack of motivation is easier by combining your boring task with amusing activities.
Check out this list of examples you can incorporate into your dreaded task:
- Listening to music while running
- Calling your relative or friend while you’re cleaning the house
- Lighting a scented candle while you’re working on your laptop
- Inviting a friend to run errands with you and promise them a thank-you dinner at the end
- Turning on your favorite show or movie while you’re folding laundry
Ensure the fun activities don’t impair your performance. Watching something while writing an essay can slow down your process, or talking to a friend while sprucing up the place may distract you from understanding what you’re doing. So make sure to pair up your tasks wisely.
Seek Out Professional Help
If your motivation remains stably low for a few weeks and all the aforementioned ways don’t help you, then you need to contact a physician. The thing is, lack of motivation to do anything may affect your job performance, and even relationships with your family, friends, or loved ones.
You suffer from the irritating feeling of dissatisfaction and even activities that seemed pleasurable in the past no longer make you content. Don’t wait for your state to worsen and schedule an appointment with your physician.
Your doctor may also refer you to a mental health professional to determine if you lost motivation due to mental illnesses. Your treatment may involve therapy, medication, or both. While some doctors may prescribe special vitamins for lack of energy and motivation, and give you essential guidelines on how to promote your overall well-being.
How To Gain Motivation?
There are two award-winning ways to gain motivation: self-care and self-compassion.
Doing self-care may help your body and mind feel better. If you don’t take care of your physical and emotional health properly, it may cause sleep deprivation that can give you a bad mood, hence, your lack of motivation aggravates.
Follow these basic steps on a self-care checklist to promote your well-being:
- Do workouts, or at least stay active. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities and two days of muscle-strengthening activity a week.
- Get plenty of good sleep. With enough sleep, you have the energy to complete things and maintain a healthier weight.
- Drink enough water and eat a healthy diet. By the way, the antioxidant glutathione plays a big role in keeping you motivated. Thus, include raw avocados, asparagus, potatoes, and raw spinach in your diet as they include this antioxidant (1).
- Make time for leisure and your interests. Spend at least one hour on something you find enjoyable during the day. It can be a book reading, painting, or simply going to the movies with friends.
- Use healthy coping skills to deal with stress.
- Avoid unhealthy habits, such as binge eating and drinking too many fizzy beverages and alcohol.
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You may be too hard on yourself, calling yourself out even for minor mistakes. Your harsh self-criticism does not only spoil your mood but leaves you with no motivation to do anything.
A 2012 study published in Clinical Psychology Review discovered that self-compassion decreases psychological distress, reduces the harmful effects of stress, and lowers the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
If you want to feel better and gain motivation, be more gentle to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up for eating that high-calorie candy bar or making too many mistakes in the school paper. Realize that you’re a human being who can’t do everything immaculately. If you fail something today, you may learn from your mistake and do better tomorrow.
How To Deal With Lack Of Motivation?
Your first and foremost task is to understand the roots of your problem. Once you uncover the causes, you can start fixing your lack of motivation by practicing self-care, building self-discipline, pairing boring activities with enjoyable things, rewarding yourself for succeeding in small challenges, and going for a walk. If none of these helps, seek out professional help.
What Causes Fatigue And Lack Of Motivation?
Stressful situations and overwhelming yourself with tons of dreaded tasks can elevate your anxiety and spoil your desire to do anything. All these things may exhaust you, leaving you with fatigue. Thus, you need to find time to rest or enjoy hobbies to maintain good spirits.
What Causes Laziness And Lack Of Motivation?
The main causes of laziness and lack of motivation are different.
But here are some of the possible causes:
- You don’t set specific goals, and therefore, don’t understand why this beneficial action is worth your time.
- You procrastinate a lot as this task evokes negative emotions in you.
- You neglect healthy sleep and diet, which makes you less energetic to even get out of bed.
How Does Lack Of Motivation Affect Mental Health?
Interestingly though, poor mental health can be the main cause of the lack of motivation. However, it’s not always the case. But if we talk about the influence of loss of motivation on mental health we should highlight a few points: you may have memory issues as you lack concentration when you do something reluctantly, have low energy to do things, and may even spoil your relationships with coworkers, friends, and family.
The Bottom Line
In the following article, you’ve discovered the main causes of the lack of motivation, which involve perfectionism, procrastination, jampacked daily activities, negative stressful situations, and social media anxiety.
If you are suffering from a lack of motivation, you can do these 5 steps to enhance your life: build self-discipline, rest and reward yourself for the completed tasks, stroll outside, pair your boring tasks with engaging activities, and search for professional help. Additionally, you should take good care of your body and stay more compassionate to yourself.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Do antioxidants have the power to improve motivation? (2022, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Experimental effects of brief, single bouts of walking and meditation on mood profile in young adults (2018, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Exploring compassion: A meta-analysis of the association between self-compassion and psychopathology (2012, sciencedirect.com)
- How much physical activity do adults need? (2022, cdc.gov)
- Motivation to Achieve Goals May Depend on Anxiety Level (2022, neurosciencenews.com)
- Social Media Use and Adolescent Mental Health: Findings From the UK Millennium Cohort Study (2019, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Teens and social media use: What’s the impact? (2022, mayoclinic.org)
- Why You Procrastinate (It Has Nothing to Do With Self-Control) (2019, nytimes.com)
- Yes, But Are They Happy? Effects of Trait Self-Control on Affective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction (2013, wiley.com)