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6 Ways to Get Motivated When You Feel Like Doing Nothing

6 Ways to Get Motivated When You Feel Like Doing Nothing
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Even the most ambitious, motivated people occasionally have difficulties getting things done. The good news is that we can often discover why we’re in a slump. Even better, there are ways to get out of the slump and get motivated again.

Here’s 6 ways to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing.

1. Figure out why you’re in a slump.

Here are some of the reasons you may be in a slump:

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  • You’re dreading something you know you need to do. You’re procrastinating getting things done because you are totally loathing an upcoming task.
  • You’re tired. You’ve been lacking good nutrition, sleep, exercise, or have been ill and overall don’t feel well.
  • You’re lacking confidence. You are scared to get out of your comfort zone and do something.
  • You’re in the middle of a project. You’ve gotten past the excitement at the beginning, and you’re not yet near the end. You’re in the difficult part – the middle.

2. When you’re dreading something, make it almost impossible to NOT do the task.

For example, if you know you want to workout in the morning, try placing your workout clothes next to your bed so they’re the first thing you see when you wake up. Also, call a friend and make plans to meet them at the gym in the morning. Having an accountability partner will increase your likelihood of success.

3. When you’re tired, take care of your body.

Some days, you might need rest. Other days, your body might need exercise. Some days, you just may need to get away from your desk and get some fresh air. Think about how your habits have been recently. Have you been getting adequate rest? Have you been choosing healthy foods and beverages? Have you had a recent illness that has left you feeling rundown? Think about how you’ve been treating your body. Taking great care of your body may help you get out of your slump.

4. When you’re lacking confidence, think about WHY you’re doubting your capabilities.

Are you struggling with negative thinking? Has there been a recent negative comment or event in your life that has been bothering you? Are you comparing yourself to other people? When you’re struggling with negative thinking, give yourself a compliment, or do something fun to rejuvenate your joy.

5. When you’re in the middle of your journey, persevere.

When you set out to achieve a big goal, it’s usually pretty easy to be very motivated at the beginning. At the beginning, you think about the end result, and you are full of anticipation and enthusiasm. It’s also pretty easy to be motivated at the end of a long journey. Once the end is in sight, the excitement of seeing the finish line can propel you forward.

In my opinion, the middle of the journey is usually the hardest. In the middle, the initial excitement has diminished, but you haven’t gotten close to your goal yet. In the middle, you realize exactly how much time and effort is required to complete your journey. You get frustrated and frequently face the difficulty of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to move forward.

In the middle, keep thinking about your “why.” What are the personal, meaningful, and strong reasons you wanted to achieve your goal in the first place? Oftentimes, remembering our “why” can help give us a boost of motivation when we’re in a slump. Also, remember what Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” Keep moving when you’re in the middle. Commit to taking daily actions that move you closer to your end goal, even if they’re extremely tiny actions. Just keep moving.

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To learn more, check out this article about getting through the middle.

6. Remember that the slump won’t last forever, and take action immediately to start getting out of it.

Start moving forward with tiny little steps. Remember that perseverance can make a huge difference in your success. Remember that success is a wild journey with many bumps and bends in the road, and not typically the straight line that people envision. Remember that moving forward when you’re not feeling motivated helps you push through your fears, get out of your comfort zone, and win the mental battles you have with yourself. Each step you take during the difficult times helps you feel more confident and capable, and gives you the momentum to continue to move out of your slump.

Any time you set out to achieve something in your life, you will face resistance. That resistance can leave you feeling unmotivated and cause you to sink into a slump. However, pushing through the resistance and taking action to get out of your slump will help set you up for long-term success. When you realize you really can get yourself motivated on your bad days, you will know in the future how to get yourself through additional rough times.

Everyone has the occasional slump. Recognizing the cause of your lack of motivation, and taking action to quickly get out of your slump will help minimize your down time and maximize your success.

Featured photo credit: Looking Back/Dextroannie via flickr.com

More by this author

Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)
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It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

  1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
  2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
  3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
  4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
  5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
  6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
  7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
  8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
  9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
  10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
  11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
  12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
  13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
  14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
  15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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