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.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You

20 All-Time Best Motivational Books to Inspire You

Sometimes going through life can be a little bit of a roller coaster. There are many ups and just as many downs as we journey through the high and low points.

Life becomes a little simpler when you accept that as we pursue our goals, there will inevitably be challenges and barriers along the way. This is why a few extra sources of inspiration, such as motivational books, never hurt anyone.

The following motivational books were selected because they can fulfill this need for you. These books will challenge you to question your current perspectives and grow in unexpected ways.

The following motivational books will provide you with a source of inspiration great enough to light your internal fire!

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Fankl

    Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl’s discusses in-depth his experience with living in Nazi death camps and describes the lessons it taught him about spiritual survival. Frankl puts forth a convincing argument that avoiding suffering isn’t realistic. However, through choosing how we cope with that suffering and the meaning we ascribe to it, we retain the ability to move forward with renewed purpose.

    This certainly is a book for the generations that anyone can gain value from. Man’s Search for Meaning has been listed as one of the most influential books in America and has currently sold over 10 million copies in twenty-four languages.

    If you’re looking for motivational books that can help you learn about the value of ascribing meaning to suffering, this is one for you!

    Get the book here!

    2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

      Of all the motivational books out there, this is a must-read for those who are into life design.

      Through this book, Jen provides her readers with simple exercises to help people identify their self-limiting beliefs, attitudes, and habits. She provides some great advice and does so in a humorous way to truly captivate her audience and motivate them to begin achieving the success they want from their lives.

      Jen’s goal is to help her readers truly understand why they have developed certain thought and behavior patterns. She helps us to focus on the things that we can change and accept the things which we cannot.

      Overall, the book offers a new comical approach towards inspiring and motivating its audiences, and can be enjoyed by anyone who decides to pick it up.

      Get the book here!

      3. Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World by William H. McRaven

        If you want to change the world, start by making your bed.

        Make Your Bed is a book which outlines the lessons contained in a speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven. In this speech, he shared the 10 principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome the various challenges he faced throughout his career.

        This speech went viral, gaining over 10 million views as it clearly explained how anyone can use these lessons to better both themselves and the world around them. This book recounts tales from his service and offers simple and practical wisdom and words of advice and encouragement which will inspire readers to achieve more in their daily lives!

        Get the book here!

        4. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

          The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho is a wonderful story about an inspiring journey towards self-discovery. Mysticism and wisdom combine in this classic novel that has sold millions of copies worldwide.


          This story outlines the journey of a young shepherd boy who desires to travel the world in search of treasure but ends up discovering a vastly different type of riches than he initially imagined.

          Overall, this book encourages each of us to listen to our hearts, recognize our unique opportunities in life, and pursue our passions.

          Get the book here!

          5. Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

            Charles Duhigg’s Smarter, Faster, Better outlines 8 productivity concepts that help certain companies and individuals accomplish so much more than others. This book outlines the differences between the perspectives of some of the worlds top performers and those who are less successful.

            These productivity concepts explain how everyday people can improve their everyday lives. Overall, this book can help anyone learn how to succeed and ensure that their average day is productive and not just busy.

            Get the book here!

            6. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

              Don Miguel Ruiz uses his book The Four Agreements to reveal the limiting beliefs that we commonly hold which rob us of joy and cause us to endure needless suffering. This book provides an insightful code of conduct which imparts its wisdom in an accessible manner to its readers.

              The Four Agreements encourages self-reflection and encourages us to do better within our everyday lives. This is why the book has sold over 6 million copies in the U.S. alone and has been a New York Times bestseller for over 8 years.

              Get the book here!

              7. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

                In this book, psychologist Angela Duckworth, takes her readers on a journey to argue that the secret to being a success relies largely on an individual’s grit, a unique blend of passion and persistence.

                The insights offered by Duckworth in this book encourage us to never underestimate the power of consistent, long-term action towards a goal, especially when you’re passionate about it.

                Duckworth addresses the thoughts which commonly intrude into our heads when we fail and gives us methods to combat them.

                If the idea that success is about your perseverance and your ability to persist even when times get tough resonates with you, this is one of the motivational books for you.

                Get the book here!

                8. Mindset: the New Psychology for Success by Carol S. Dweck

                  Psychologist Carol Dweck outlines years of research in her book Mindset. She argues that the mindset we adopt is a huge predictor of our success and achievement. She believes that nearly every area of human endeavor can be influenced by the mindset we adopt and how we select to approach our goals.

                  She discusses the downsides of adopting a fixed mindset as well as the benefits commonly associated with adopting a growth-oriented mindset. Whereas one mindset believes our abilities are fixed, the other believes our skills and abilities can be developed assuming we are willing to put in the effort.

                  This is a highly motivating paradigm shift which can encourage amazing accomplishments.

                  Get the book here!


                  9. Choose Yourself by James Altucher

                    Choose Yourself by James Altucher is one of the best motivational books around. James argues that the most valuable asset we have and the one which we should be investing the most time, effort, and resources into is — ourselves. This whole book is about how we can achieve success simply by choosing to invest in ourselves and our growth.

                    This book is sure to inspire and motivate you to invest in developing your talents further and would be an excellent resource for anyone with an entrepreneurial mindset.

                    Get the book here!

                    10. High-Hanging Fruit: Build Something Great by Going Where No One Else Will by Mark Rampolla

                      High-hanging Fruit by Mark Rampolla encourages us to reach higher in our life endeavors, especially business if we want to achieve more success and leave our mark on the world.

                      In this novel, the reader is encouraged to find ways to align their passion, purpose, and integrity to achieve success. These lessons can benefit anyone in any field of work and encourage us to stand up for our beliefs and what’s important to us.

                      Overall, Rampolla wants each of us to remain true to our ore values so that we can each reach our personal definitions of success and promote significant changes in areas of life we are passionate about.

                      Get the book here!

                      11. The Power of Positive Thinking: 10 Traits for Maximum Results by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

                        This international bestseller has sold over 5 million copies worldwide and has helped many people live more fulfilling lives through adopting Dr. Peale’s message of faith and inspiration.

                        Not only does this book help people to achieve happiness and higher levels of life-satisfaction, but it also teaches us that each life is worthwhile.

                        This book instills a belief in one’s self and a feeling of determination and motivation to pursue our goals with power, control, and persistence.

                        Overall, it’s a great motivational book for those individuals seeking a boost of motivation in their daily lives.

                        Get the book here!

                        12. Girl Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis

                          When it comes to motivational books, Rachel Hollis nails it!

                          Girl, Stop Apologizing was written primarily for a female audience she was trying to inspire. She wrote this book because all too often, she was seeing women failing to live up to their full potential due to the fear of falling short of perfection and not being enough.

                          In this New York Times #1 bestselling author, Rachel seeks to send a wake-up call to the women currently defining themselves through the lens established by other individuals, instead of how they wish to define themselves.

                          She encourages women everywhere to stop talking themselves out of their dreams and to begin fully pursuing them. To help her audience she provides a lot of great information regarding which excuses we should say goodbye to, which habits to adopt, and the skills that will provide you with the confidence to live your best life!

                          Get the book here!

                          13. Now, Discover Your Strengths By Marcus Buckingham and Donald Clifton


                            This book takes a unique approach, claiming that not anyone can become anything they want, despite what we were told as children. However, when discussed in-depth, the opinion is quite freeing.

                            This book’s main purpose is to encourage us to ignore those routes which are likely to lead us to dead ends, in favor of pursuing those which we are passionate about and that are more likely to bring us greater success and happiness.

                            Why waste so much time trying to fix our weaknesses when we can double-down on our strengths and allow them to flourish and grow?

                            Definitely think about adding this one to your collection of motivational books.

                            Get the book here!

                            14. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

                              This book, originally published in 1937, was written during the Great Depression and addresses the highly effective and important steps to take if we wish to encourage ourselves to become wealthy. Equally important, Hill outlines the steps we should avoid in this process as well.

                              Readers have continually enjoyed some of the timeless information, words of wisdom, and excellent advice that is presented by Hill in this book. This book is about so much more than getting rich; it’s about figuring out how to get what you want from life!

                              Get the book here!

                              15. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

                                In this self-help guide, Mark Manson tells us to cut it out and to stop trying to be positive all the time so that we can figure out what we need to do to truly become better and happier people.

                                This book offers a refreshing take which counters the motivational books currently out there. Mark refuses to sugarcoat his lessons and tells it how it is through his brutally honest approach. Mark encourages us to accept our faults and limitations, the fact that life is not always fair, and that despite our best efforts, not everybody is going to win.

                                Overall, this book presents some great philosophical wisdom for our modern generation and has empowered many individuals to gain control over their actions and their life as a whole.

                                Get the book here!

                                16. Everything Is F*cked by Mark Manson

                                  Mark Manson follows his previous #1 international bestseller with this guide discussing the problems we currently have surrounding hope.

                                  Despite believing that we live in the best time in human history, Mark outlines that everything seems to be pretty messed up. There is global warming, corrupt governments, collapsing economies, and everyone is getting offended far too easily. Mark examines our relationships with money, entertainment, and the internet, and discusses that too much of these good things can destroy us.

                                  In this book, Mark challenges us to be more open and honest with ourselves and to connect more with the world around us.

                                  Get the book here!

                                  17. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel

                                    Hustle offers a game-changing guide to finding success by encouraging us to outsmart the system. Too many of us feel like we’re fighting a system that’s stacked against us and forcing us to live unfulfilling lives. This book will encourage you to break free from the rat-race and begin achieving more success on your terms through projects you actually enjoy!

                                    This book will help you redefine what hustling means and will help you realize your best path to success is through taking charge of your dreams, creating your own luck, and staying true to yourself.


                                    If you’re looking for actionable and practical advice that goes beyond simply motivating you, this is a book you will certainly enjoy reading.

                                    Get the book here!

                                    18. Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop

                                      This book presents a refreshing take on self-empowerment and provides an honest, no-nonsense, tough-love guide which aims to help you challenge and get over your self-limiting beliefs

                                      In this book, Bishop gives you the tools and advice required to overcome your self-imposed limitations and to begin creating your unrestrained best-self. He argues that commonly, it isn’t other people standing in our way nor is it our circumstances. Commonly, it’s our negative mindsets and beliefs which are holding us back.

                                      So if you’re looking for motivational books to help you get over these limiting beliefs, you will not regret investing in this novel.

                                      Get the book here!

                                      19. The 5 Second Rule: Transform Your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

                                        In The 5 Second Rule, Mel Robbins reminds us of the vast amount of support we have received from individuals throughout our lives; and that this should push and motivate us to overcome the excuses we have created to impede our progress and achievement.

                                        Through discussing a variety of different habits and entertaining stories, Mel Robbins argues that it only takes us about 5 seconds to become confident, stop procrastination, overcome fear, and live overall happier lifestyles. Just like we can all hold ourselves back, we can also push ourselves forward.

                                        This is a motivational book that is great for anyone looking to quickly add a positive push to their daily life.

                                        Get the book here!

                                        20. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

                                          This novel which shared the wisdom Mitch Albom received from his college professor Morrie Schwartz, has sold over 12 million copies around the world.

                                          In this book, Mitch joins Morrie through the final months of his dying professor’s life every Tuesday to discuss the important messages of life in a truly beautiful and heartwarming fashion.

                                          In the end, the two come together to create one final class: lessons on how to live a good life.

                                          This book is going to inevitably touch your heart and inspire you in ways many other motivational books could never even dream of doing.

                                          Get this book here!

                                          Final Thoughts

                                          If you are able to pick up even just 2 or 3 of these motivational books, you will be well on your way to living a more inspired life.

                                          Happy reading and stay motivated!

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                                          Featured photo credit: Florencia Viadana via

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