Advertising
Advertising

Published on January 16, 2020

7 Things That Cause Your Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them)

7 Things That Cause Your Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them)

If you’re suffering from a lack of motivation, you’re in luck, because you’re about to learn the 7 major reasons why you’re short on the motivational energy you need to successfully accomplish your goals… And exactly how to fix each of them.

By the time you’re done reading this, you’ll have the knowledge you need to unleash the motivational powerhouse within you.

1. You Don’t Know What You Want

Of all the reasons responsible for why you might be lacking in the motivation department, this first one is by far the most common: Either you don’t know what you want, or there’s a lack of clarity about what you want.

Whenever I do goal-setting workshops with people or with organizations, one of the first questions I ask is, “What do you want?”

You’d be surprised by how many people are unable to give me a compelling response to that question.

In other words: What’s the outcome you’re after? What would it look like if everything were to go exactly as planned or better?

It’s tough to get motivated to do anything at all when we’re unsure about what we’re after in the first place. Conversely, once we take those fuzzy dreams we have and bring them into focus by writing them out as goals, then the motivation will flow naturally.

If you ask a typical sports fanatic about their favorite team, they can give you so many statistics it would make your head spin. They can give you all the details you need to know about a team and its players–from speed to points per game and on and on…

But when someone asks them about the details of their own life–they can barely remember what they had for dinner last night.

And it’s not a matter of intelligence, either.

I believe that most people are about as intelligent as they make up their minds to be. If it were a matter of intelligence, they wouldn’t have such an in-depth understanding of their favorite team’s stats.

It’s not about intelligence. It’s about focus.

If you lack motivation in any area of your life, it’s likely because you haven’t decided in detail what you want in that area. And we can’t focus on something if we don’t know what we’re aiming for..

Solution

The solution to the first reason behind why most people have a lack of motivation is simple. Keep in mind that you can’t hit a target that you cannot see. That said, identify some compelling, exciting goals for yourself in each of the major areas of your life – physical, financial, emotional, spiritual, etc. – and write them down.

You may also want to ask your self these 7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life.

2. You’re Not in Control of Your Physiology

Take a moment to picture in your mind what a person who has a lack of motivation actually looks like, physically.

If a person is unmotivated, how do they stand? How do they sit?

Advertising

Do they have good posture or bad posture? Are their shoulders pulled back or are they slumped over forward? Is their back upright or rounded?

Now imagine what a person who’s totally motivated looks like…

How does a person with motivation stand? Close and narrow, or open and upright?

How does a motivated person walk? Head held low, or head held high? Are their shoulders slumped forward, or pulled back nicely as they walk?

How do they sit? How’s their posture? Is their back bent forward, or are they sitting upright?=

How do they speak?

How do they stand?

Hey—what if I told you that you could instantly motivate yourself by mimicking the images of a motivated person that you just pictured in your mind’s eye?

Solution

Motion leads to motivation. If you want to get motivated, learn to control your physiological state. Here’s how:

  • First, figure out what kinds of movements you naturally make when you’re feeling motivated…
  • Then, do those things and your mind will follow your body.

You’ll begin to feel more motivated when you put yourself in a position to actually feel more motivation. Move like you move when you’re motivated. Stand like you stand when you’re motivated.

Here’s my silly—yet incredibly effective—process for using my body to elevate my motivation: Jump in the air. Clap your hands. And yell out, “WHOOOOOO!” at the top of my lungs.

Just try it and see if it doesn’t change your state.

3. You’re Not Aiming High Enough

Whatever we seek to accomplish – writing a book, losing weight, achieving the perfect relationship with our significant others – it’s the degree of desire we have to accomplishing those goals that ends up becoming the crucial element to achieving them.

But too many people try to set limits on their desire. They tell themselves and others that they don’t need wild success. This kind of thinking is dangerous because when we limit the scope of our desire, we limit the scope of what we’re willing to do to reach our goals. And when we limit the scope of what we’re willing to do, we limit the scope of our motivation.

A lack of exciting and desirable easily takes far too many people down the road of lackluster levels of motivation.

If you limit your potential success, you will limit what you are willing to do to create it—which limits your motivation, not to mention your general sense of fulfillment about the life you lead.

The solution to this problem is what’s known as The 10X Rule, which states that:

Advertising

You must set targets that are 10 times what you think you want and then do 10 times what you think it will take to accomplish those targets.

While some folks will tell you that setting impossible goals kills motivation, and that it’s better to “underpromise and overdeliver,” this line of thinking is actually foolish.

10X-targets—commonly called “stretch goals“—will only spur you on harder, to do more and try more than you ever have before.[1] Besides, even if we fall short of achieving our 10X-level aims and ambitions, better to fall short of achieving a massive target than merely achieving a tiny one… Because if you aim high enough, you’ll demand more from yourself and become better in pursuit of a massive goal.

But setting a high target is only the first step. The second step is to take 10 times the amount of action you think is necessary to reach that target.

Solution

When we’ve got puny, uninspiring goals, we tend to feel lethargic and unmotivated to achieve them. On the flip side, when we’ve got huge and ambitious goals, we feel empowered and invigorated to take action towards achieving them.

Bottom line? Set massive goals. Take massive action.

Push yourself to your outermost limits. You’ll find that the more action you take, the more motivated you become to continue doing even more.

4. You’re Too Overwhelmed

Have you ever been so stressed, so overwhelmed, under so much pressure – that you’d rather say, “Screw it. I don’t even care,” than to continue marching forward with whatever you’re trying to do?

Whatever the cause, one thing we know about being overwhelmed (or stressed to the gills) is that it can drain motivation, big time.

It’s hard to get motivated when you’re overwhelmed.

Here are a couple of practical solutions to get you back on track…

Solution

Maybe you took that point I made earlier — about aiming higher and 10X-ing your goals to get you motivated — to heart. But maybe you also aimed a little higher than your current capabilities. If that’s the case, lower the bar – bit-by-bit – until you hit your sweet spot (which is somewhere between your current capabilities and a goal that’s just hard enough to achieve that you’ve gotta stretch to achieve it).

Or, maybe you’ve just got way too many things on your plate. If that’s the case, it’s time to pair down and focus on crushing one big goal at a time, rather than trying to do too many things simultaneously. It’s like that old saying,

“If you chase two rabbits, you won’t even catch one.”

5. You’re Prone to Procrastination

Another thing that can cause overwhelm – which leads to a massive depletion of motivation – is when we don’t have enough clarity about what to do next. This ambiguity leads to procrastination. And procrastination leads to a lack of motivation.

Here’s how to fix this one:

Chunk things down to an immediate, doable action.

Advertising

Solution

Take whatever it is that you lack the motivation to do, and chunk it down to an immediate, doable next action you can take immediately..

For example, I’m working on putting together a major course right now that’s designed to help people transform their lives in virtually every way possible so that they can improve their lives and achieve their goals. It’s a 30-day life mastery program that shares everything I’ve learned about the subject of Personal Development.

This involves a ton of work on my part: from structuring the curriculum, to putting together worksheets, to recording the audio sessions, to a million things in between.

I was thinking about this workload recently, and I felt incredibly overwhelmed and demotivated because of the sheer volume involved with a project like this. And just as I was about to curl up in the fetal position in the corner of my office, I realized I needed to take my own damn advice and chunk this thing down.

Instead of thinking about everything that needed to get done, I decided to ask myself, what’s “one thing I can do right now to make progress on this goal?” The answer to that, for me, was to write out the outline. Which I did. And the sense of motivation that began to bubble up as I started doing it was remarkable.

So, here’s the key:

If you’re low on motivation, think about whether you need to chunk things down into something doable to move the ball forward. And if that’s the problem, chunk your project (or whatever you’re not motivated about) into something doable–and then do it!

6. You’re Not Being Specific Enough to Spur Motivation

Motivation is like a fickle, fleeting, emotional creature with ADHD. It’s difficult to get it to focus on a single thing for an extended period of time… Unless you provide it with very specific directions.

One reason you might have a lack of motivation is because you’re leaving things too open.

When things are vague, the motivation will fade.

When you’re unable to tap into the motivation you need to succeed, it might be because whatever thing you want to get motivated for is too vague. Here’s a few examples of common goals that are way too vague:

  • Wake up earlier.
  • Exercise more.
  • Eat healthy.

If you were to choose any of the above examples, here’s how things would most likely play out:

You’ll start off with tons of motivation at the very beginning…

But after a little while, you’ll notice that the motivation fades away and loses its potency.

So, what’s the fix?

Solution

Give your brain specific and actionable directions. Doing this will provide it with the controlled focus it needs in order to unleash the motivational energy you’re looking for.

An excellent way to drill down and get specific is to ask yourself questions. Here’s a great one that can narrow things down and, as a result, spark some motivation:

Advertising

“How will I know that I’m successful?”

Answer that question with something specific and measurable.

Here’s an example of one of my own answers to this question (along with specific + measurable actions). I wrote these out to help myself regain motivation while working on an article + podcast awhile back:[2]

  • How will I know that I’m successful? I’ll publish an inspiring podcast episode on how to use stretch goals and SMART goals to help my readers and listeners improve their lives and achieve their goals.
  • Specific: Come up with at least 3 examples of pairing stretch goals with SMART goals to help explain the concept; and then draft/outline/record article and episode.
  • Measurable: Reference my previously published articles/podcasts on goal-setting, along with 1–3 reliable books about goals. Then, brainstorm ideas until I settle on three great examples I can utilize to clearly explain this concept.

The more specific you make the actions and habits you need to take up, the smaller they become. And the smaller the action, the easier it is to motivate yourself to do it. Eventually, those small, specific steps you take on a daily basis will stack on top of one another––which leads to a sustained sense of motivation and accomplishment.

7. You’re Seeking Motivation Where You Should Be Seeking Habits

The final reason most people suffer from an ongoing lack of motivation is simply because, at the end of the day, none of us can be motivated all the time. Often times, people say to me, “wow, you’re so motivated.” But here’s the truth: I just *look* like I’m motivated all the time, when in reality I’ve just been diligent about installing several keystone habits in the areas of my life that matter to me most.

You see, I don’t have to muster up the motivation to get up at 5AM every morning and go to the gym, because it’s a habit.

I don’t have to motivate myself to focus on writing on this article right now, because I’ve developed a habit of writing everyday.

I don’t have to motivate myself to do anything that I’ve become habituated to in my life, because habits are things we do regularly and automatically with little or no conscious thought or effort.

So, here’s the real question: How do you develop habits?

Solution

You can cook an egg if you go outside on a sunny day and hold a magnifying glass over it. This is because the magnifying glass harnesses the power of the sun’s rays and puts them towards a singular aim—cooking that egg.

But if you go outside and repeatedly wave the magnifying glass side-to-side over the pan, you’ll never cook that egg. That’s what happens with most people—they’re unable to build habits and maintain the motivation to achieve their goals because they’re outside waving that darn magnifying glass over a pan full of uncooked eggs that they’ll never be able to enjoy.

A better way to approach your goals, and the habits you’ll need in order to achieve them, is to harness all your energy and focus towards approaching each of them one at a time, as follows:

  • Choose your goal: What’s one major, long-term goal you’re absolutely dedicated to achieving over the next 12 months or more?
  • Choose your habit: What’s the ONE new habit you can form, such that by forming it, you can achieve or exceed your goal? Take a moment to figure it out and write it down.
  • Next, learn everything you possibly can about how to do it right. Go deep. For example, one of my major habits is writing. I do it every single day no matter what. Most of what I write, I never publish. And that’s fine with me, because I can’t get the good stuff without cranking out the crappy stuff first. I write every day because my ultimate goal is to continue growing as a writer for the rest of my life. No matter how great I think I might be, there’s always room for improvement.
  • Identify a habit you can do all the time. It needs to be something you can incorporate into your schedule and execute on a daily basis, no matter what. Eventually, it’ll be something you can do easily, without thinking about it or needing to get yourself all motivated. At this point, you’ve got the habit installed, so it requires minimal effort to execute and you can put it on autopilot. And if you want, you can now begin forming another new habit.

Learn more about how to build habits in this article: What Is a Habit? Understand It to Control It 100%

Bottom Line

What’s your cause of lack of motivation? Identify why you feel demotivated and tackle the root cause of your lack of motivation with my above solutions, soon you will find yourself staying motivated even during the most challenging time!

More Motivational Tips

Featured photo credit: Kreated Media via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] MeaningfulHQ: Stretch Goals
[2] Dean Bokhari: Smart Goal + Stretch Goal = Success

More by this author

Dean Bokhari

Author, Entrepreneur, Podcast & TV Host

7 Things That Cause Your Lack of Motivation (And How to Fix Them) How to Avoid Procrastination and Get Your Work Done 11 Ways to Be Productive And Happy At Once 10 Best Career Books To Help You Do Work You Love How to Seize Your Opportunities and Take on Challenges

Trending in Mental Strength

1 Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again 2 How to Find Inner Peace and Lasting Happiness 3 How to Use the 5 Minute Journal to Invest in Your Happiness 4 How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life 5 What’s the Purpose of Life? A Guide to Live with Meaning

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 21, 2020

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

Feeling Stuck in Life? How to Never Get Stuck Again

The statistics are dismal. A recent study has found that 69% of people feel trapped in the same old routine, and only 3 out of 10 people are happy with their lives.[1] People are feeling stuck.

Some are feeling stuck in their careers, feeling like they’re too far along one path to make a change. Some are feeling stuck in their personal lives. The toll of the daily grind sucks most of their time and energy. So their relationships, self-care, and personal goals get lost in the shuffle of the treadmill existence.

When people come across these challenges of feeling stuck, the feeling sometimes doesn’t go away. It often intensifies as time goes on. As the stuck feeling intensifies, some people choose to settle. Subconsciously, without even realizing it, they end up pushing their dreams and goals further and further down.

Others, if the feeling of being stuck intensifies to an unbearable point, choose to make changes. They may choose to pivot in their careers, even after years at a successful job. They may end up making big changes in their relationships, or start putting their fitness at a higher priority. They may make drastic changes to finally feel free. These changes can be incredibly difficult to make, especially if a person has lived many years in a certain lifestyle.

Feeling stuck is NOT fun. I’ve been there. I get it.

Why Am I Feeling Stuck?

People feel stuck once in a while. There are many causes of feeling stuck. Many people work toward goals that don’t actually align with who they are at the core or what they truly desire. I call these “False Objectives”.

Living a life of False Objectives can cause people to feel very stuck and frustrated. People can build lives that are very “successful” according to society; but if you’ve built your life based on False Objectives, you’re not going to feel fulfilled. You’ll end up feeling stuck.

Another cause of feeling stuck is not knowing who you are. If you don’t understand how you’re innately wired – your strengths, your gifts, your talents, your passions – it’s tough to make decisions that enable you to maximize those. It’s tough to reach your full potential if you don’t know who you are.

You can feel stuck if you’re doing work that doesn’t allow you to maximize your innate strengths. If you’re doing work that doesn’t bring out the best in who you are at the core, you’ll likely feel some dissatisfaction and you won’t reach your full potential.

Advertising

Other people feel stuck because they haven’t surrounded themselves with mentors or peers who have achieved what they want to achieve. They stay in certain routines while craving to do life differently. As Jim Rohn says,

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

If your goal is to run a marathon and you’re spending most evenings and weekends drinking beer with your coworkers, you’re probably not going to run that marathon. If your goal is to live a location-independent lifestyle and work anytime from anywhere, but everyone in your social circle is at traditional jobs; it’ll be tough to break free from the 9-5 mentality.

How Feeling Stuck Screws You up Secretly

Feeling stuck screws up people’s lives. The consequences of feeling stuck can range from mild to severe. People may feel a mild discontentment with life and end up succumbing to the idea that life is “okay,” and settle. (Nancy’s story will resonate with you.) They may never reach their full potential, their highest levels of happiness and satisfaction. And they may not make the impact on the world that they could make, and have a looming sense that there could be “more” to life.

Often, though, the feeling of being stuck comes with much larger consequences. Feeling stuck can hinder career growth and contribute to disrupted marriages. It can lead to huge midlife crises.

The feeling can (and frequently does) increase as the years go on, leading to significant regrets about unfulfilled dreams. In fact, the number one regret of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware, a palliative care nurse, is, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” She writes:[2]

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Many people had not honored even a half of their dreams, and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”

    Approaching Life Differently

    Thankfully, some highly effective strategies can prevent you from feeling stuck. Using these strategies can help you avoid significant problems in your life. It’s different than conventional living, and it works.

    Advertising

    Commonly, people live with many set routines. While certain routines are helpful, becoming stuck in the daily grind routine can get frustrating. Many people eat roughly the same foods each week, go to the same place each day, talk to the same people, keep the same commitments, and end up living life on autopilot.

    It’s tough to feel like you’re progressing forward when each day is spent doing the same uninspiring routine. In order to avoid feeling stuck, it’s important to live intentionally. It’s crucial to live in the driver’s seat of your life and get out of autopilot mode.

    First, ditch the False Objectives. Just because everyone in your family are doctors doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because all your friends are married with a big house, a white picket fence, and 2 kids doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. Just because everyone you know works 9-5 doesn’t mean that’s the best path for you. It’s not easy to design your life intentionally, but it’s critical in order to avoid feeling stuck.

    Remember, the majority of people feel stuck. So, if you’re doing things like the majority of people, you’ll likely feel stuck, too. You’ll need to think differently and create your life differently.

    2 Questions to Ask Yourself Every Day

    In order to intentionally design your life, avoid falling prey to False Objectives, and prevent feeling stuck, there are questions to ask yourself every day. These questions can help you stay focused on what matters most to you, help you avoid feeling stuck and frustrated, and create the best life possible.

    1. Why Am I Going to Do What I’m Going to Do Today?

    If you’re showing up to work each day and giving your years to your job, it’s important that your “why” is deeper than “to pay the bills.” Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing can help you make choices that inspire and motivate you.

    By asking yourself why you’re going to do what you’re going to do today, you will be living intentionally. In today’s incredibly busy, easily distracted world, living intentionally and focusing every day on what matters most is unique.

    When you choose to ask yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing every day, it will help you stay focused on what’s truly important to you. This can prevent you from getting stuck.

    2. What Would Future Want Me to Do Today?

    Imagine yourself, in the future, as the best version of you. What would that version of you want you to do today? Making decisions from the viewpoint of the future you can help you move forward and prevent the stuck and frustrated feeling.

    Advertising

    When you make decisions from the viewpoint of future you, you will develop perseverance and reap the benefits of delayed gratification. Today’s society is very focused on instant gratification, but a lot of great things in life take time and effort. Learning to take small steps forward by making decisions from the future you’s standpoint can help you progress toward your biggest goals and dreams.

    How to Get Unstuck

    After asking yourself the two questions, work on the plan to get unstuck. I’ve personally tried these strategies and they work for me.

    1. Choose Goals You Truly Desire to Accomplish

    This might sound obvious but we all get sucked into False Objectives at times. When you’re setting goals in your career and your personal life, make sure they are goals that matter to you.

    Working hard toward big achievements that don’t align with your values, priorities, and who you are at the core is a fast-track toward feeling stuck.

    Learn about your strengths, your gifts, and your passions. Choose goals that align with who you are at the core, and work toward goals that align with your inner strengths and gifts. This will help you maximize your potential and minimize the stuck and frustrated feelings.

    2. Watch Your Mindset

    Often, we think we’re stuck, but the problem is our mindset. Being mindful of our mindset and self-talk is important to living a life of freedom and fulfillment. Work on rephrasing your self-talk in order to improve your mindset.

    For example, if you tell yourself, “I could never start a business,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how to start a business YET, but I can learn.” If you find yourself saying, “I don’t have enough money to travel,” tell yourself, “I don’t have the money right now, but I can make a plan to save money to travel. Rephrasing your self-talk can help you see opportunities and possibilities instead of feeling stuck.

    Occasionally, even the most driven people have days where they feel unmotivated. Check out this article for tips to get motivated when you feel like doing nothing: What Motivates You And How to Always Stay Motivated

    Those tips can help you break free from the rut.

    Advertising

    3. Get out of Your Comfort Zone and Add Some Excitement to Your Day

    Shaking up your daily routine and adding some excitement to your days can help you get unstuck.

    While breaking out of your daily routine can be uncomfortable, it can be a great way to invigorate your life. You can start by getting out of your comfort zone in small ways. Here are 10 ways to step out of your comfort zone and overcome your fear. As Brian Tracy says,

    “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”

    Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing growth can help you to continue to move forward and prevent you from getting stuck.

    4. Surround Yourself with People Who Have Done What You Aspire to Do

    It’s easy to get stuck if you’re trying to accomplish something and you’re struggling to believe it’s possible to accomplish it.

    Instead of letting yourself be isolated and stuck, commit to learning from people who have done what you aspire to do. This can help you believe it’s possible to achieve the same goals. It can also help you to be inspired to progress forward instead of staying in stuck-land.

    You can seek out a mentor, or even read inspiring books or listen to motivating podcasts by the people who have achieved your biggest goals and dreams.

    Final Thoughts

    It’s frustrating to feel stuck. But you don’t need to stay stuck if you know the right ways to break free from the rut.

    Practice living intentionally by asking yourself the 2 critical questions:

    • Why am I going to do what I’m going to do today?
    • What would future want me to do today?

    When you constantly reflect about what you truly want and whether you’re doing the things that lead you to what you desire, you’ll feel less stuck gradually.

    More to Help You Get Unstuck

    Featured photo credit: Krists Luhaers via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next