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Published on January 11, 2021

12 Things to Do When You Have No Motivation to Do Anything

12 Things to Do When You Have No Motivation to Do Anything

If you’re reading this article it’s likely that you’ve had it up to the eyeballs with requests and notifications bombarding you, your world is constricted, and you likely feel tight. When you feel like you have no motivation to do anything, the last thing you want is convoluted reams of advice that make your head spin.

In order to address this in the best way possible, I’m going to give you some practical pointers to gently steer you in the right direction and get you back on track.

It’s perfectly okay to feel this way. No matter how senior, important, or famous we become, we all get demotivated from time to time, and especially at times of heightened global uncertainty like we are currently facing.

The key is to recognize the signs and swiftly implement the 12 practical steps below so that you embrace your full potential, reconnect with your bigger vision, and reignite that spark of excitement inside that fuels your motivation once again.

1. Banish Your Inner Critic

From the moment you recognize that you have no motivation to do anything, the first thing you must do is forgive yourself. It’s important that you don’t judge yourself or feel guilty for not being as active or motivated as you would like.

There is a tendency for go-getters to view themselves as bad, unworthy of success, or less than, simply for not meeting a certain standard, which can compound the feelings of exhaustion, mental fatigue, and lethargy that we are trying to prevent.

If this is you, stop right here and vow to be more conscious in your approach and mindful around judging yourself for needing to spend time rejuvenating rather than pushing forward constantly.

2. Reframe What It Means

That said, it brings us to the next step, which is to reframe what it means to prioritize your own rejuvenation above all else. This can be uncomfortable for some people, me included.

There was a time when I found it hard just to be still with myself, but over the years I have trained myself to enjoy the sanctuary of alone time and embrace stillness.

The goal is to shift your mindset so that you see rejuvenation itself as a step in the right direction, as progress and productivity. This way, you can stop seeking forward momentum from alternative means (e.g. doing more work) and let the process of rebuilding unfold.

Set aside time to reframe and take ownership for your inner replenishment. All high performers make this connection eventually, and once they do, they never go back.

3. Recognize Your Emotional State

When you give yourself the space to honor your feelings, you actually create distance between yourself and your emotional reaction. In this space, even if you have no motivation to do anything, you can choose how you want to show up to the world and for yourself.

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“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Vicktor Frankel

The best bit here is that you can then anticipate that you are likely to have a short fuse due to your lack of motivation and low tolerance for nonsense, obstacles, and petty annoyances.

Of course, this can be anything from your cab driver getting lost, infuriating phone operators, a frustrating payment system, or processes that make no sense. Trust me, it happens, and it can drive you up the wall if you don’t get hold of your emotions and give yourself the love you need by creating the space to react differently.

This takes practice, but it is the way forward.

When you have no motivation to do anything, it means you’re depleted and need to urgently focus on replenishing all areas, including your mind, body, emotions, and spirit on all levels.

4. Reduce the Complexity

As an optimist, it’s all great. You’re excited about the big picture of it all, and making progress is your middle name. As a result you invariably say “yes” to everything, leaving no time to process how you actually feel about the things you’ve said yes to!

Your life becomes a conveyer belt of experiences, and like anything done excessively, it slides into an unrelenting pattern of dullness, lack of motivation, and potential burnout.

Living in this state of high alertness and constant reactivity, it’s no wonder we get a little frayed around the edges if we don’t take the time to recuperate.

This means the way forward is found by taking a break from the immediacy of life, shutting off the noise, and reducing the complexity.

All these extra commitments chip away at your core essence. You must guard your energy like gold.

“The fastest way to raise your level of performance: Cut your number of commitments in half”. – James Clear, Atomic Habits

By stepping away, you regain a place for yourself to exist in the present moment, you put your needs front and center, and this act will catapult you back on to the right path.

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By eliminating the social “have to’s,” the excess Zoom calls, and persistent notifications, it gives you the bandwidth and the boundaries to prioritize the next few crucial steps to finding your spark.

Airplane mode isn’t just for flights! Make sure you use it.

5. Get to Bed, Sleepy Head

When we are severely depleted, it’s hard to find our inner spark of genius, and our passion for life is muted, temporarily lost even.

High quality sleep needs to become a priority, and fast.

Getting into the habit of knowing what your body needs and adapting will accelerate the process. Aim to get to bed before 9-9.30pm each night.

Resist the temptation to check work emails just before you nod off. I know that is a tough one, but it’s worth it. Better yet, put your phone on airplane mode while you sleep to reduce the chance of an interruption to zero.

6. Value Yourself for Being a Learner

What you base your self-worth on matters[1]. When you base your self-worth on being a top performer, sales figures, or having the right answers, it unravels when your performance dips, taking your self-esteem with it.

This is a not a recipe for contentment and success.

Tom Bilyeu, co-founder of Impact Theory, talks about having a white belt mentality and the importance of valuing yourself because of your willingness to learn because it is antifragile.

When something is antifragile, it means that it gets stronger the more pressure you put on it, rather than reaching a maximum breaking point and snapping.

As author Nassim Telab puts it,

“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”

7. Avoid Negative Influences

Staying away from energy drainers and negative people is crucial for you right now.

When we are feeling like we have no motivation to do anything, our decision-making abilities are impacted. Being around pessimistic, negative complainers will serve only to darken your day.

The way to move from darkness and into the light is to connect to your inner self.

8. Take Inspired Action

Taking action around the things you can control helps reduce overthinking and anxiety because you initiate momentum. The key is to do this without triggering a state of overwhelm.

To begin, write down your goals and figure out the skills you need to learn to get there. This is what I call “proactive progress” – it moves you away from simply wishing something would happen and instead into taking actionable steps toward its attainment.

Next, break each goal into very simple, clear objectives.

With your energy levels severely reduced, we want to be decreasing the cognitive load without wasting energy on trying to recall what to do next. The way to do this is to keep a list of the top 3 things you want to accomplish above all else in the notes section of your phone.

This helps you stay focused when energy and tolerance levels are at a minimum.

With little energy to give, you need a tool or system that can help quickly remind you of where you are going and what you need to do next. This is important because the act of ticking off key things from your list (no matter how small) helps you to feel empowered.

9. Visualize Your Success

The more you train yourself to visualize yourself as successful (every day) and move into this space regularly so that see yourself already in possession of that which you want to obtain, the more possible it will become.

Commit to spending 30 minutes a day visualizing yourself actually living your dream.

What you focus on becomes your reality, and it all starts with the energy you put out in the world, starting with your thoughts and beliefs.

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10. Focus on the Possibilities

When we are out of gas and running on empty, it’s no surprise that our motivation is at an all-time low. It’s hard to be enthusiastic and full of life when you aren’t filling the tank with the right fuel.

Part of that means giving yourself permission to take the day off, to leave the emails and watch your favorite TV program while eating your favorite snack. This is absolutely acceptable.

What this also does is give you a window of opportunity to let you mind flow back to a state of possibility, to wander and to dream. This, in turn, helps you connect back to your bigger vision and have a clearer understanding of what’s been taking your energy that doesn’t deserve it.

Sometimes, when we are in the thick of it, we end up solving problems for others, trying to be the hero to everyone and putting their needs above our own.

By taking a step back and focusing on your self-growth, ideas, potential, and mission, the fire inside will start to burn brighter.

What we are aiming for here, as Idil Ahmed says, is to recognize our inner glimpse. According to Ahmed, an Inner Glimpse is:

“The moment you experience a spiritual revelation that reminds you of your potential, your power and the ability to see in your imagination the multitude of possibilities that are within your grasp.”

11. Help Another

When we are feeling out of sync with the world, with no motivation to do anything, often one of the quickest ways we can bring ourselves back into alignment with our bigger vision is by helping someone else. This could be by listening to a friend talk about their own life story or helping them prepare for an interview.

Giving doesn’t have to be financial. It can be as simple as making someone feel a little better about their day or more empowered.

12. Watch Your Language

To move yourself swiftly from lounging about on the sofa, barely able to exert the mental energy required to decide which show to watch on Netflix, to a hot ball of enthusiasm and drive, you need to watch how you talk to yourself.

Particularly, this involves watching the words you use both silently and aloud. They should reflect abundance, positivity, solutions, optimism, and passion rather than defeatism, self pity, and hopelessness.

You are at war with yourself. Set yourself up for success by correcting yourself as you go and raising the standard of what you will tolerate in your life as a result.

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More About Finding Motivation

Featured photo credit: Wes Hicks via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Tim Castle

Bestselling Author, Coach and Co-Founder of My Book Habit

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Last Updated on July 22, 2021

How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business

Remember the day you launched your own business? You had spent months or years developing your idea. You may have sacrificed a steady job to become the master of your professional destiny. Having entrepreneur motivation was easy, natural, and energizing in the beginning.

So, why are you struggling to stay motivated now when you need it most? Your business, after all, isn’t going to build itself.

Nearly everything in life experiences cycles. The solar system, hormones, your washing machine—and yes, even motivation. Movement is inherent in cycles. If you stop moving, your business simply grinds to a halt, and you may find yourself looking for a job after all.

The mere threat of stagnation should be enough to get your entrepreneur motivation mojo back online. If that’s not enough, here are eight ways you can stay motivated as you build your business.

1. Recognize That Business Motivation Doesn’t Last on Its Own

Ironically, the first step in staying motivated is realizing that motivation doesn’t last—at least not without some effort. Think of the verbs associated with motivation, such as “incite,” “stimulate,” and “inspire.” They all speak to elevating something low.

Highs and lows, ebbs and flows, are all cyclical. There are days when you have so much you want to accomplish that you won’t have the hours. On others, you may struggle to even get dressed. As does every aspect of your business, motivation requires constant care and feeding. So, don’t despair during those times you feel bottomed out. Recall the almost manic thrill you get when your entrepreneur motivation seems to be unstoppable and concentrate on recapturing it.

Motivation neither just happens nor lasts. It takes focus, drive, and a conscious effort. When it lags, roll up your sleeves, choose a task, and get back to the business-building at hand.

2. Expand Your Network

No business or entrepreneur can operate in a bubble. Connection to customers, vendors, employees, and other entrepreneurs is vital to growing a business. It’s also motivational. I find that one of the things that makes me most energized about my business is the connections I make while networking.[1]

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Networking effectively is about give and take, which means you only get as good as you give. Be generous with your thoughts, ideas, and connections, and others will reciprocate.

These days, there are myriad networking channels to choose from. There are the tried-and-true conferences, industry and professional organizations, and even your local Chamber of Commerce. But the internet and social media have vastly expanded the opportunities to connect with other empire-building, ambitious people.

If you aren’t networking because you didn’t think it was worth your time, get out there. Not only will you pick up some great ideas, but you’ll also find yourself reinspired. Few things are as motivating as encountering other people’s enthusiasm for your business.

3. Focus on Your Goals

We all know that goals are important. If we fail to set them, how do we know when we have achieved something? In business, as in life, we need targets.

For me, having a goal focus is intrinsically motivational. Have you met all the business goals you set previously?[2] Then, it’s time to set some new and even more ambitious ones than before.

Keep in mind that business goals can be moving targets, as circumstances change and reality sets in. What you must avoid is allowing yourself or your business to be paralyzed by indecision.

As Yogi Berra said, “You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.”

The mere exercise of setting goals is energizing, so use the process when you’re in a slump. Make sure you set realistic goals—neither too high nor too low. Once the big ones are in place, establish mileposts so you know your business is on the right path.

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4. Stay True to Your Mission (or Find a New One)

Unlike goals, the mission of your business should not be a moving target. While a mission can and should be reassessed periodically, it must, nonetheless, remain a constant for a significant period of time. That’s because it should be driving everything you do.

The world changes quickly. Customers, technology, markets, workforces, and supply chains are in a constant state of flux. In my business, the challenge has always been to respond to change while remaining true to our mission.[3] On this point, Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept is spot on.[4]

According to Collins, your mission can be found at the intersection of three key truths about your enterprise:

  1. What you’re deeply passionate about
  2. What you can be best in the world at
  3. What drives your economic or resource engine

You should find motivation in the mission of your business. If you don’t, perhaps you aren’t passionate about it, can’t be the best in the world at it, or aren’t making money delivering it. If that’s the case, find a mission that intersects, and you’ll rediscover your entrepreneur motivation.

5. Celebrate Wins and Learn From Losses

Too many times, business owners fail to celebrate wins and learn from losses. That’s unfortunate because both wins and losses are two well-known secrets of entrepreneur motivation. If you aren’t treating them as the motivators they are, you should be.

Go back to those goals you set when you started your business. Have you achieved them?

If you did, have you taken the time to celebrate those wins with your stakeholders? If you haven’t reached them, figure out why, make adjustments, and try to turn them into wins. Wallowing in losses instead of learning from them and moving on is a sure way to lose motivation.

Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins as well. In my company, we ring a gong every time we land a new client so the small victory reverberates through the office. Doing this builds our confidence, generates enthusiasm, and motivates our team to aim higher. I recommend finding your own way to acknowledge the small wins that are necessary to achieve those major victories your business needs to flourish.

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When a lack of motivation sets in, take stock of everything you have accomplished. Pat yourself on the back and bask in the glow of achievement. That pause may be all you need to motivate you to achieve more success.

6. Identify Your Disruptive Powers

When you launched your business, were you just joining the pack? Or did you want to fill a gaping, empty market niche? Odds are, you believed you had a solution to a problem that no other business was figuring out.

Take Uber, Netflix, and Blue Apron. They disrupted the taxi, movie, and food industries by putting a revolutionary spin on the traditional way of doing business. In doing so, they solved problems the market wasn’t even aware it had.

The business you’re building may not be the next Tesla, but that doesn’t mean it can’t disrupt an industry, a sector, or just your local business community. You might discover a new customer service paradigm or a way to use technology that no one else has.

You can’t be innovative without being motivated, and if you aren’t motivated, your business will only achieve the status quo. So, start imagining ways you can disrupt your industry to kickstart your motivation. Even little ripples can turn into serious waves.

7. Spend Some Time Away

Building a business is exhausting during normal times. Throw in the stress and radical changes accompanying a global pandemic, and life can become overwhelming. This can lead to depression, indecision, paralysis, or even sheer panic.

You can’t control the world, but you can control your response to what’s happening. Start by stopping your attempts to do it all and set some priorities instead. When overwhelmed with life, one of those priorities must be yourself.

Spend some time away from work to recharge. A bit of respite is the only way you can replace the energy and inspiration sapped by a turbulent world. Work to overcome the feeling that your business can’t run without you, especially when your lack of motivation isn’t doing it any favors anyway.

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A little rest and relaxation may be all you need to return to the office reinvigorated. If your break involves travel, exposure to different places and cultures might even spark new trains of thought. You will be motivated to pick up where you left off and get back to growing your business.

8. Remain Customer-Centric

Whatever widget or widget service you sell, you have customers. Your lack of motivation does a disservice to a market looking to your business for solutions. When your business motivation wanes, think of those customers counting on you to succeed.

Keeping your eye on your customers isn’t a distraction from building your business. The most successful companies in the world are extremely customer-centric. Think about Apple’s uncanny ability to anticipate customer needs or Google’s cloud-based growth stemming from empathy for the challenges facing their customers.

Perhaps, there is a relationship between your lack of motivation and customer neglect. Remaining vigilant about their needs will determine whether or not your business is successful. To conduct surveys, read customer reviews, and do market research to discover those needs. After all, if you aren’t solving their problems, what are you doing?

When the noise from the daily demands of running a business gets too loud, tune it out. Listen to what your customers are saying about you and what they’re asking for. Responding to them will require focus, as you are motivated by your dream to build a successful business.

Final Thoughts

Motivation is movement, action—a driving force of human nature. Although it waxes and wanes as naturally as the lunar cycle, restoring business motivation can require a concentrated effort. It’s an effort you’ll want to make because a prolonged lack of motivation is deadly.

If you lack the motivation to eat, you starve. If you lack the motivation to drive in your lane, you crash. If you lack the motivation to build your business, you fail.

You are obviously a highly motivated individual. If you weren’t, you never would have started a business of your own. Entrepreneurs are, at their cores, a rare and uniquely inspired breed.

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So, when your entrepreneur motivation flatlines, don’t give up. Whether the spark comes from a personal connection, a new goal, a brief vacation, or a customer comment, there are ways to get yourself back on the business-building track again.

Featured photo credit: Ellyot via unsplash.com

Reference

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