Last Updated on February 16, 2021

What to Do If You Don’t Want to Do Anything

What to Do If You Don’t Want to Do Anything

How often have you had these kinds of motivation problems?

Struggling to get up early to exercise…

Too tired to work on your side-business after work…

Not being “in the mood” to write your forever-in-draft-mode novel…

What’s even worse is that this feeling of “I don’t want to do anything” puts your goals on the back burner. And in many cases, they stay there till you gain the motivation to take action on them.

But many times, that ends up being weeks, months, or even years into the future.

Motivation Eludes Even the Best of Us

Motivation can be a tricky beast:

One the one hand, you can get a sudden inspiration to become healthy and drop everything to go for a jog.

On the other hand, hoping for out-of-nowhere boosts of motivation like this… is definitely an unreliable method of achieving your goals.

So where exactly does that leave you?

Motivation Is Unreliable With Most Common Strategies

At the end of the day, motivation is simply an emotion.

And like all emotions, it’s fickle.

It can be there one day, and then only moments later, disappear like a gust of wind.

But if motivation is finicky to work with… is it something you can ever rely on?


Can it truly get rid of the “I don’t want to do anything” feeling?

Well, this is where most people get motivation wrong in the first place.

It’s not enough to just look at inspiring images or read motivational quotes online. At best, you might get a nice feeling after doing these things.

But if we’re being realistic here… it’s more likely you aren’t being productive even after being “inspired” by those motivational methods.

So it’s easy to conclude that at the very least, those approaches aren’t something you should use.

5 Unique Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take Action And Achieve Your Goals

So how to “manufacture” motivation when you need it?

Before I dive into the 5 unique ways, you may want to get this free Worksheet For Instant Motivation Boost, and get some ideas on how to build your own motivation engine first. Get your free worksheet here.

Then, if you want motivation that works immediately and lasts a long time, you need something that’s different compared to what you normally do or see.

My job is to provide you with some interesting new methods that will motivate you to change your world.

Here are five somewhat offbeat methods of motivation for you to try out. The fact that these methods stray from the pack is a good thing. It means you’ll be mixing things up for the first time. And just being “different” is already a motivational factor to begin with.

So try one out, or try them all out. Either way, you’re likely to find yourself more motivated and action-taking than ever before.

1. Add “Mystery” to Your Motivation MIX

A powerful form of motivation has to do with spontaneity and unexpectedness.

And while we can’t perfectly replicate this, we can do the next best thing.

Try writing out at least 5 different rewards you can use when you take breaks or complete tasks. A range of “reward magnitudes” is ideal, for example:


  • Watch a Youtube video
  • Eat a piece of chocolate
  • Play a short guitar jam session
  • Watch a Netflix show
  • Walk around the block

As you can see, each reward is different:

Some are smaller and more instant gratification.

Others are bigger and more personal to you.

Now, most of the time when you take a break, you do the same old thing each time.

(Most often it’s taking a smartphone break.)

But imagine you could only pick one of these rewards each time.

And going even further – you have to choose one at random as well.

Suddenly, you don’t know what you’re going to get anymore. It could be a small reward. Or it could even be a big reward.

And that makes things interesting again.

And once things are interesting again… you are more than likely to be motivated to work just to see what random (good or amazing) reward you’ll get next.

2. Make Your Motivation “Scary”

On the other motivation spectrum, there’s the “negative” side of things.

With this approach you focus on motivating yourself to avoid something – rather than on being rewarded.

All you’ve got to do is find suitable ways to “punish” yourself for not being productive about whatever’s important to you.

Here’s a few simple examples you can draw ideas from:


  • If you don’t get up early to exercise, your spouse gets to spray you with a water bottle till you get up
  • If you don’t go to the gym after work, you have to eat something you dislike (for me, this would be a grapefruit – too bitter!)
  • If you don’t write a page in your novel during lunch, you have to lock all the distracting apps on your phone for 24 hours

Ultimately, the punishment needs to be powerful enough to “make you feel it.” So these punishments will be unique to you.

But with a little creativity, you’re bound to find something that motivates you to take action so you avoid your punishment at all costs.

3. Use Peer Pressure

This tip works well if you have family and friends who are on board with helping you achieve your goals.

All you’ve got to do is encourage your close ones to “peer pressure” you into working on your goals whenever you’re supposed to.

So let’s say you decide to write your novel after work. Well, if the first thing you do when you get back home from work is toss your jacket on the floor, hop on the couch, and start flipping through channels… this is the time for your family to “strike.”

  • “Hey honey, wouldn’t it be amazing if you finished a page of your novel today? I know I’d be happy.”
  • “Dad, I was reading a book earlier and thought about how cool it’d be if you finished yours.”
  • “Mom, whenever I see that you’re writing a book it makes me so proud – I can’t wait till you finish it!”

And basically, they’d just go on and on till you get to writing or whatever your goal is.

The best thing about this strategy is that it’s hands-off:

Everybody else does the motivating for you. And I’ve found it tends to work no matter how much I don’t want to do anything, either.

4. Drop Your Standards Unreasonably Low

A big motivation problem is feeling your goals are too big and hairy.

If you feel overwhelmed by any task or project you have, your motivation is going to tank for sure.

So a simple way around this is to use the “10% method:”

If you ever feel the slightest resistance to a task at hand, just say you’ll only do 10% of the original task and you can stop there.

So if you plan on doing 20 pushups for exercise, only do 2.

If you plan on writing a page in your novel, just write a paragraph (or even a sentence) instead. Or if you need to clean your room, just say you’ll clean 3 items only.


It’s a simple method, but VERY easy to implement.

And the best part is:

Once you’ve lowered your mental resistance to the task at hand (and thereby increased your motivation to do it), you are VERY likely to do more than just 10%.

And that’s because “startup momentum” can carry you further along the task.

5. Put Your Money on the Line

Nothing hurts like losing your money.

And a simple way to use this idea tying your hard-earned cash to the accomplishment of your goals.

An easy way to do this is by involving a friend or family member. Just grab one of them and say this:

“This is a $20 bill. If you see that I don’t:

  • Go to the gym after work, or:
  • Write a page in my novel, or:
  • Get up early tomorrow

…Then you can have the $20 for yourself.”

You’ll see a big smile across the face of whoever’s helping you, and wonder if they’re rooting for you to fail in the first place.

Either way, you can expect your motivation to work on your goals to skyrocket after using this tip.

The Truth Behind Motivation

Remember, motivation isn’t about feeling inspired or anything else so fluffy. The ultimate goal is creating an urge to act towards achieving your goals.

And I’m confident that if you use some of the strategies I’ve listed here, you’ll be well on your way to being more motivated, take more action, and transform your life forever.

More About Motivation

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via


More by this author

Ericson Ay Mires

Ericson Ay Mires specializes in writing copy for self-improvement niches. He helps businesses sell their products with content and copywriting, so they can reach more people and improve their business.

26 Future Goals Examples For Your Career And Personal Life How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus 10 Simple Ways To Refocus a Wandering Mind 10 Motivational Apps To Help You Jumpstart Your Day What to Do If You Don’t Want to Do Anything

Trending in Staying Motivated

1 How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up 2 4 Most Critical Motivation Theories to Boost Your Productivity 3 How To Stay Motivated As You Build Your Business 4 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams 5 What Is Competence Motivation And How To Use It

Read Next


Last Updated on July 29, 2021

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

It’s Monday morning. The alarm goes off. Do you know how to get motivated at that moment? What’s the first thought that comes to mind when you open your eyes? 

Are you excited to get up and go to work, or are you dreading the day and week ahead?

Whatever your response may be, ask yourself this question:

“What is it that makes you feel unmotivated?” What’s driving you to feel negative or positive about your Monday ahead? If you want to know how to get motivated, keep reading.

The Two Types of People

You likely know of people who have been doing the same thing for years and seem to not have any problem staying stagnant. Whether it be in their marriage, job, or personal endeavors, they seem to be getting along just fine without progressing towards anything “better.”

On the other hand, I’m sure you also know of individuals who focus on the positive, goals setting and are constantly pushing themselves to greater heights. Be it promotions at work, building a family, celebrating marriage milestones, traveling more, or going to school again, these individuals seem to constantly progress towards something that improves or enhances their life.

So what’s the difference between these two types of individuals?

What you feel capable of doing comes down to one thing: motivation. It’s the force, or lack of, that keeps driving you forward to overcome challenges and obstacles to achieve your goals.

Without motivation, you’ll give up after a few failed attempts, or even on the first tough challenge that comes your way. Or you’ll just remain where you are: unhappy yet not doing anything to progress ahead.


What Is Motivation, Really?

Whether you realize it or not, motivation is a huge force in your life, and it needs to be harnessed in order to excel and actually enjoy whatever it is that you’re doing on a daily basis. If you find yourself thinking, “I need motivation,” there are specific steps you can take.

Unfortunately, many overgeneralize the word motivation. We think of being either motivated or unmotivated as a simple “yes” or “no” state of being.

But motivation is not a switch. As discussed in the Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation, motivation is a flow. To feel motivated, you need to dive beyond the surface. Just reading a motivational quote, being encouraged by your friends or mentor, or writing out a short to-do list won’t help you build sustainable motivation in the long run.

You can think of the motivation that we want to achieve like the Sun (self-sustaining and long-lasting), which supplies a constant influx of energy to all life on Earth. Just like the Sun, your “motivation engine” has different layers, starting from the core and spreading out to the surface. The surface is what you see, but the real process is driven from the core (your internal motivation); and that’s the most important part.

If you can create a self-sustaining motivation engine, you’ll be able to find more meaning in your life and enjoy every minute of what you’re doing, which will make your roles and responsibilities less of a chore. 

Let me help you understand this motivation flow better by breaking down the motivation engine into 3 parts:

  1. Core – Purpose
  2. Support – Enablers
  3. Surface – Acknowledgement

The Third Layer: Surface

The outermost layer, also known as Acknowledgement, encompasses any type of external recognition that might give you motivation. It may come in the form of respect or recognition, such as compliments and praise.

Or it could be emotional support through encouragement, feedback, and constructive criticism. It could also be affiliation, where you have mutual companions or buddies sharing the same goal or burden with you.

One recent study pointed out that “rewards had a positive impact on work motivation but no significant relationship existed between reward and job satisfaction”[1].


Therefore, it’s important to recognize that rewards will motivate you, but they won’t necessarily make you happier in an undesirable situation.

This is generally what you see on the surface when you look at other people. You see the external acknowledgement, respect, and recognition they’re getting.

The Second Layer: Support

In essence, the second layer of the motivation engine (also known as Enablers) is what supports your goals. They can magnify the motivation core you have, or speed up the momentum that you build. Basically, they create favorable circumstances for things to go smoothly.  

If you want to know how to find motivation, positive enablers are key. This could include friends and family, or any support network you’ve created in life.

The Innermost Layer: Core

But what’s most important, and the true driving force behind your motivation flow, is the innermost core, your Purpose. Your purpose is what differentiates the motivated from the unmotivated, the achievers from the underachievers, the happy from the unhappy.

Your motivational core is your Purpose, and it is sustained by two things: having meaning, and forward movement. With these two as a foundation, you’ll have a power source that will feed you motivational energy indefinitely.

If you want to learn more about the Motivation Flow, join our Fast Track Class – Activate Your Motivation for free now!

How to Sustain Your Purpose

Having meaning is simple. If you want to learn how to find motivation, just ask yourself a question: Why?

Why are you pursuing a certain goal? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. While motivation provides you energy to do something, that energy needs to be focused somewhere. So without meaning, there is no direction for your energy to focus.


Yet, having a meaningful objective doesn’t mean you have to change the world or have a huge impact on society. The secret to meaningful work is simple: it should contribute value to something or someone that matters to you.

One study suggested creativity as one possible path to meaning, saying: “Many of the core concepts in work on the meaning of life, such as the needs for coherence, significance, and purpose or the desire for symbolic immortality, can be reached through creative activity”[2].

Next up is gaining forward movement. In short, this means to just keep moving. Like a snowball, motivation from having progress creates momentum. So to keep this up, you have to keep moving.

The good news is, your progress doesn’t have to be huge for you to recognize it. Small amounts of progress can be just as motivating, as long as they keep coming. Like driving a car, you may be really impatient if you’re at a complete halt. But, it lessens if you’re moving forward, even if you’re moving slowly.

Creating a simple progress indicator, like checklists or milestones, is a great way to visualize your small (and big) wins. They trigger your brain to recognize and acknowledge them, giving you small boosts of motivational energy.

This is why video games are so addictive! They’re full of progress indicators everywhere. Even though the progress is completely virtual, they’re still able to trigger the motivation centers in your brain.

Find out What Drives You Today

Why not take some time today and do a quick reflection of where you’re at now? Take one aspect of your life that you’d like to progress further in.

For example, it may be your current job. Start with your why. Write down your reasons for why you’re in the job that you’re in.

Then, think about your Motivation Core: your Purpose. Write down what it is within your job that gives you meaning, and what are some things that will help push you forward in life.


Once you have those points, it’s time to do a comparison. Does your current job help you make progress towards that purpose that you’ve written?

If it does, you’re on the right track. If it doesn’t, or if you’ve realized your life isn’t going where you want it to, don’t panic. There’re tools that can help you get through this. The Actionable Motivation On Demand Handbook is one of those effective tools that can help you always stay motivated. Get your own handbook and never lose motivation again!

Do your best to not focus on the negative. Review your goals and aim yourself in a positive direction, even if it means that you start small.

Final Thoughts on Staying Motivated

Happiness doesn’t need to be a vague term or illusion that you’re constantly chasing after with no end in sight. By finding your true motivation, you’ll be one step closer to realizing your happiness and finding meaning in everything you do.

You may have tried many solutions to help you stay motivated and found that none of them really have any impact. That’s because they bring about incremental changes only, and permanent change requires a holistic approach. It requires more than just focusing on one area of your life or changing one part of your routine or actions.

You want to make a fundamental change, but it feels like big, unknown territory that you can’t afford to venture into at this point in your life.

The truth is, taking your life to the next stage doesn’t have to be this complicated. So, if you’d like to take the first step to achieving your life purpose, the time to learn how to find motivation is now!

More on How to Find Motivation

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via


[1] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Reward and Recognition on Job Satisfaction and Motivation
[2] Perspectives on Psychological Science: Finding Meaning With Creativity in the Past, Present, and Future

Read Next