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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated)

10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated)

How many times have you said to yourself that you’re going to do something but you end up not following through with it because you weren’t motivated enough? You end up crossing that workout, call to a friend, study session or shopping trip off your to-do list without even completing the task.

But you are not alone. Millions of other people are also unmotivated at some point.

We will look into the reasons why we will have a lack of motivation every now and then, and look at ways of reversing this trend so you can end up motivated.

1. Seeing Only the Bad Side in Anything That Happens

Usually, unmotivated individuals have a terribly pessimistic view on their chances of success.

Psychologists have labelled this as having a low level of self-efficacy, which is the innate ability to influence the outcome of a project or venture. There are lots of myths about how to fix this, such as writing down your goals and simply visualizing success.[1]

What to Do?

The secret to staying motivated is to honestly audit your skills and the challenges that lie ahead. Sometimes a difficult goal is useful in spurring a person on to do better. We persist because the challenge is personally rewarding.

Help yourself see the whole picture of everything and boost your motivation with this Worksheet For Instant Motivation Boost for free. With this worksheet, you can refocus your mind and regain the lost motivation. Grab yours now for free.

2. Forgetting the Benefits and Rewards

Most unmotivated people get distracted by a daunting challenge. They think of the blood, sweat and tears that face them in achieving a task or objective. They forget to think of the long-term rewards and benefits, which is an essential element in motivation.

What to Do?

Every time when you don’t feel motivated, visualize the rewards you’re trying to get. Celebrate small wins often, so you know rewards and benefits are not that far away from you.

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    3. Setting Unrealistic Goals

    In the business world, having stretch goals is often advocated as the path to success since it will increase motivation. Researchers and psychologists have recently found that this is actually false.[2] Demotivation may set in because the problems are just too complex and unnerving.

    What to Do?

    A much better approach is to break down projects into smaller challenges, where one can see results in a much shorter space of time. This compartmentalization will give much more motivation, encouraging the individual to see a project through to the end.

    4. Not Realizing the Importance of Mini Habits

    When they think about getting what they want, they want to do something big once and for all. So when they fail to do so, they feel defeated and unmotivated.

    What they don’t know is that to achieve greatness, it’s about the small things they do every day.

    What to Do?

    There’s a great book I love; it’s Stephen Guise’s Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results. The concept is a simple one to help with demotivation.

    The idea is to start with one mini habit at a time and gradually progress. This could be walking up a flight of stairs a day, eating one less doughnut or writing a paragraph – if you have writer’s block.

    The idea is to leverage the power of personal habits in reaching lifestyle goals.

    5. Not Seizing Opportunities

    Have you noticed how demotivated people often tell you that they never got a lucky break? The truth is that, they never sought out opportunities that would give them the chance of success, wealth and happiness.

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    The secret is that opportunities are out there, just waiting to be taken. They are not simply given to you on a silver plate.

    What to Do?

    Seize every opportunity and take the risk. Learn how to step out of your comfort zone. Remember, you will never be ready, so do it anyway!

    6. Unwilling to Work Harder

    The tendency is to consider the payoff before making all that effort. They want immediate gratification before persisting and persevering. Access to the Internet at work will distract them further. One study has found that unmotivated employees are probably the majority (of the 64%) who waste time on social media at work.[3]

    What to Do?

    Even the most talented person works hard to get what they want. Work hard is better than talent, always.

      7. Playing the Blame Game

      It is always somebody else’s fault when they did not get that promotion. It’s not their fault that the marriage ended on the rocks. It was their partner’s fault, of course.

      The fact is that you cannot control what other people do or the way they think. Recognizing that it was mostly your fault will help you analyze what went wrong, helping you avoid that pitfall the next time. Once you have done that, you will be better motivated to move on.

      What to Do?

      Take responsibility for what happened to you. When you realize you have complete responsibility for your life, you become completely free.

      “A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame somebody else.” — John Burroughs

      Learn to stop complaining and start to take responsibility for your life.

      8. Not Using Time Wisely

      There are lots of ways to manage time better but unmotivated people tend to be time-wasters. They cannot schedule very efficiently and always procrastinate.

      Time is elastic. Stretch it so that you can get more out of it. Once you conquer the time management problem, you will become more motivated because you can praise yourself for achieving what most people find really difficult. Taking credit for your achievements is a great way to stay motivated.

      What to Do?

      The best way to stay motivated, regarding time, is to repeat to yourself that you are the only one who can control your time. Nobody or nothing else can do that for you.

      Take a look at this guide to improve your time management skills: A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

      9. Doubting Their Own Talents

      When people think of all the talents and creativity they lack, they block themselves off and demotivation takes hold.

      However, when they concentrate on the actual skills, talents and qualities they possess, they become much more motivated.

      Negative thoughts will drag you downwards in a horrible spiral. Positive thoughts help you soar above the crowd.

      What to Do?

      Believe in yourself and the talents you have. If you lack confidence in yourself, here’s a Step-By-Step Guide on How to Be More Confident.

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        10. Relying on Social Media

        Research on students’ use of social media has pointed out that there is a reduction in creativity, less practice in writing skills and an increase in multi-tasking for these students. All these factors have contributed to lower grades and poor academic performance. This may be one reason why many become demotivated.

        Everybody is prone to being less motivated by the appearance or success of others, flaunting their status on Facebook. As the image so vividly illustrates, maturity comes when you stop posting every detail of your life on Facebook or Instagram.[4]

        What to do?

        Take a break with social media. Learn how to break the habit of endlessly sticking to social media here: 5 Psychological Reasons You Are Addicted to Facebook and 5 Ways to Break the Habit

        Another great way to stay in the motivated fast lane is to prepare for obstacles and setbacks before they even occur. This is one of the best ways of fighting back the demotivation inferno.

        Final Thoughts

        Out of these many reasons why people are unmotivated, which one fits your case most?

        Know your reason why you don’t feel motivated and tackle its root cause. Stop procrastinating, take your first step to make a small change. Make that small change your daily habit and you will be staying motivated all the time!

        More to Boost Your Motivation

        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

        Reference

        More by this author

        Robert Locke

        Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

        10 Reasons Why People Are Unmotivated (And How to Be Motivated) 12 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder to Be More Productive 10 Simple Morning Exercises to Make You Feel Great All Day What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It Write A Personal Mission Statement to Achieve Your Goal More Easily

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        Published on February 17, 2021

        How to Hack the Reward System in Your Brain And Stay Motivated

        How to Hack the Reward System in Your Brain And Stay Motivated

        How do we achieve our biggest goals in life? Hard work, learning new skills, and staying focused are definitely important things, but one of the most important things we need is motivation. Losing motivation can stop us in our tracks. It can make us procrastinate, doubt our skills and abilities, and take us off the path to success. In the worst cases, a lack of motivation can destroy our goals and kill our dreams.

        Where does motivation come from?

        It starts with thoughts and chemicals in the reward systems in our brains. It continues to develop in our brains and is further shaped by our behaviors. This is why neuroscience, which is the study of the function of the brain, is so important.

        When we understand the basics of neuroscience, we can hack the reward system in our brains so we can stay motivated to achieve our biggest goals.

        The Neuroscience of Motivation

        At the most basic level, humans want to avoid pain and experience pleasure. Our pleasure-seeking behavior is based on a mental reward system that’s controlled by our brains. This reward system is what keeps us motivated and helps us achieve our biggest goals and dreams.

        Neurotransmitters are chemicals in our brains that help shape our thoughts and behaviors. One of the main neurotransmitters in our reward system is the “pleasure” chemical dopamine. Dopamine is produced mainly in the mid-brain and then moves to other areas of the brain, such as the amygdala, which plays a big role in our emotional development. It also moves to the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for thinking, feeling, planning, and taking action.[1]

        When you do something pleasurable, your brain releases dopamine to make you feel good mentally and physically. This commonly happens when we eat our favorite foods, have sex, have a great conversation with someone, or do something else we really enjoy. Each time we feel pleasure from doing something, our brains remember what made us feel good. It actually assigns a reward value for everything we do.

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        For example, eating a slice of our favorite pizza may have a higher reward value than drinking a smoothie. Being on that tropical vacation will have a higher reward value than watching that water fountain downtown.

        Our brains even release dopamine before we engage in those things that make us happy. It’s the expectation of the reward rather than the reward itself that has the strongest influence on our emotional reactions and memories of what’s pleasurable.[2] Just planning that tropical vacation by checking out different locations on a travel site or looking at things we want to buy on Amazon stimulates our reward system by releasing dopamine.

        Thinking about starting a project at work that we’re really passionate about also activates our reward system. This act of feeling the pleasure generated by our mental reward systems is what creates reward-seeking behavior and is a big part of motivation.

        Vanderbilt University researchers discovered that “go-getters” who are more willing to work hard have greater dopamine activity in the striatum and prefrontal cortex, two areas of the brain that influence motivation and reward.[3]

        Hacking Our Brain’s Reward System

        Here are four ways to hack the reward system in your brain to stay motivated.

        1. Keep Growing

        When you do the same things over and over, that dopamine rush tends to get smaller and smaller. A great way to stay motivated is to keep growing by doing bigger and bigger things.

        Take on bigger, more challenging projects at work. Once you’ve reached a running or fitness milestone, start working toward a bigger one. If you’re fluent in a foreign language, learn how to have more complex, philosophical conversations. If you have your own business, find ways to acquire more clients so you can generate more profit. Keep learning new skills that will push you to the edge of your comfort zone.

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        Taking on greater challenges helps our brain’s reward system continue to assign high reward values to things we do. Start by accomplishing small goals. As you accumulate more and more small wins, work your way up to more challenging goals.

        2. Use Visualization

        “Visualization is daydreaming with a purpose.”—Bo Bennett

        A great way to stay motivated is to visualize accomplishing a goal—even though you haven’t completed it yet. Visualization actually causes the brain to release dopamine. This makes us see our future rewards more clearly and go after them more fervently.

        When our brains release dopamine and we feel that rush of euphoria, our hippocampus, which is part of our brain’s limbic system, records those pleasurable moments in our long-term memory. The more we visualize success, the more our brains associate this visualized success with pleasurable feelings.

        When we can imagine a better future, we’re motivated to keep pushing forward and overcoming obstacles in our path. This is why people work hard to get raises and promotions, invest their money, put their kids thru college, and do other things that help them or others prosper later in life.

        Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Jim Carrey, and other famous and influential people have used visualization to achieve sky-high success.[4] It’s a great way to use the power of your imagination to keep you motivated to succeed.

        3. Avoid Excessive Stress

        High levels of stress are associated with chronic inflammation, which can cause our motivation to decrease. Researchers at Emory University have theorized that chronic inflammation from stress may cause a chemical reaction in the body that decreases dopamine supplies in the brain.[5]

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        Low levels of stress can actually help us perform better by making us more alert. That adrenaline rush we get from stress can give us the energy and the edge to do our best. But when stress levels are high, stress can be damaging to our bodies, minds, and motivation.[6]

        High-stress can lead to burnout. In the worse cases, it can cause people to quit projects or quit their jobs. It can cause mental problems such as anxiety or depression. It can lead to health problems like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other illnesses. Reduce stress by doing deep breathing exercises, meditating, running, or exercising regularly.

        4. Reframe Challenges

        If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.—Wayne Dyer

        Another great way to hack your brain’s reward system is to change how you look at challenges in your life. A common problem is that many people see difficult work as an obstacle or simply something they don’t like doing.

        A good strategy is to look at difficult situations and obstacles as opportunities that will help you and those around you grow. This will help us look at difficult things in a positive light and actually look forward to doing them instead of dreading them.

        For example, if three employees on your team aren’t getting along with each other and two of them are thinking about quitting, don’t look at this as a very stressful, terrible problem. Instead, look at the situation as an opportunity to use your interpersonal skills to gather the angry employees together, let them voice their concerns, and then resolve the problem.

        It will help them improve personally and professionally. It will also help you and your company prosper as well. You can also apply this same way of thinking to your personal life. If your friends or family members aren’t getting along, use the disagreement as a growth opportunity that will benefit them and you.

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        When we can see difficult things as great opportunities, we’ll start to look forward to them. When we look forward to doing things, it makes the reward system in our brains reward us with more dopamine, and it increases the chances that we’ll look at future problems as opportunities to grow.

        Conclusion

        Motivation is a challenging part of personal and professional development. This is why motivational videos and motivational speeches are so popular. A central part of staying motivated, even during the most challenging times, is to understand how our brains work. Science has given us a good understanding of our brain’s reward system and the chemicals and pathways that allow it to shape our behavior.

        Hack that reward system in your brain by taking on bigger challenges, visualizing success, avoiding excessive stress, and looking at difficult situations as opportunities to help others and help yourself grow.

        When we begin to master our brains, we’ll be better able to master our lives and achieve those big goals.

        More Tips on How to Stay Motivated

        Featured photo credit: Giorgio Trovato via unsplash.com

        Reference

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