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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

How to Crush Your Lack of Motivation and Always Stay Motivated

How many times have you not achieved your goals and let yourself down due to your lack of motivation? When you’re not wallowing in sadness and self-pity, you are too busy procrastinating until you can’t anymore, and before you know it, you are part of a vicious cycle of anxiety and stress that culminates in a loss of motivation.

Whether it’s losing weight or bringing your business to fruition, motivation is essential for growth and success in every sphere of our lives.

That said, it is not easy to stay motivated. In order to do so, you need to take ownership of your life and consciously make efforts in that direction.

It’s never too late to take matters in your hands and change the course of your life. Here are 11 effective ways to crush your lack of motivation and always stay motivated.

1. Write Your Goals

The power of writing goals down has always been underestimated when it comes to a loss of motivation. Why write when you can remember, right? Wrong.

Our thoughts are all over the place, and the first step to achieve your goals and increase personal development is to organize your thoughts[1]. So, write your goals down, however big or small they might be. Make them as specific as possible, and assign deadlines to each of them.

As you write them down and revisit them regularly, they get further drilled into your head, taking you closer to your goals. Doing this small exercise helps you to remain focused, motivated, and lets you track your progress with ease.

2. Beat Procrastination

Your motivation loss and procrastination go hand in hand. Every time you procrastinate, your motivation levels take a greater hit. The only way to bring an end to this loop is to stop procrastinating.

Next time you find yourself putting off something for “later,” stop and assess the reasons behind it. Get to the root of the cause and eliminate it in order to overcome this poor habit of procrastinating, which is sabotaging your life and mental health.

Take a look at this guide to learn how to beat procrastination and start aiming higher.

When you finally overcome procrastination, you will realize the positive impact it has on your mood and motivation levels.

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3. Celebrate Small Wins

In the quest to achieve the bigger goals in life and overcome a lack of motivation, we often forget to celebrate the small wins along the way. An achievement is an achievement—be it big or small, it deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.

Did you finish a project on time? Reward yourself. Did you manage to run on the treadmill for an hour? Pat yourself on the back.

It is these small achievements that reinstate that we are on the right path and take us one step closer to the bigger goals.

So, get into the habit of recognizing and appreciating small wins. You will be surprised to see how this practice helps you stay motivated.

4. Practice Gratitude

It’s easier to whine about what we don’t have rather than counting our blessings, isn’t it? This ultimately leads to a loss of motivation.

Making gratitude a part of your life is a very important step to retain high motivation levels. It revitalizes our spirits and renews our enthusiasm for life.

One recent study acknowledged that “new evidence suggests that positive emotions—particularly gratitude—may also play a role in motivating individuals to engage in positive behaviors leading to self-improvement”[2].

So, how do you practice gratitude? For starters, keep a gratitude journal to jot down what you are grateful for, express your gratitude to people you love, and spread positivity wherever you go. You can also try filling out a page like the one below if you need more direction.

Overcome a lack of motivation with a gratitude journal

     

    By doing so, you begin to focus more on what you have rather than what you don’t, and that is a great start to stay motivated.

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    5. Be Optimistic

    Life is not always hunky dory. There will be bad days when things aren’t going in your favor, when you feel lost, and when all you want to do is give up.

    At such times, instead of letting negativity take over your life, adopt an optimistic approach to life. Quit overthinking, ask the right questions, and focus on finding solutions.

    Yes, there will be hurdles along the way, but if you hang on to positive affirmations and hopes, the journey will be a lot smoother.

    6. Don’t Dwell on the Past

    Our lack of motivation often stems from the habit of dwelling on the past. This gives rise to fear and regrets, preventing us from making progress in the present day.

    Dwelling on the past is nothing but a waste of time. Understand that the past is long gone, and you cannot do anything to change that.

    What you can do is make your present day worthwhile. Instead of looking back and having regrets, learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself and move on.

    The next time you find your mind wandering off to the past, be determined to change the way you think and consciously concentrate on living in the present. This guide can help you get started.

    7. Face Your Fears

    It’s difficult to overcome a loss of motivation where there is fear. Identify the fear that is pulling you back and tackle it.

    If you don’t face your fear head on, you cannot expect to conquer it and renew your motivation.

    Ask yourself: What is stopping you? What are you scared of?

    Once you accept your fear, you can work on an action plan and think of solutions to overcome it. Seek help from a mental health professional if required, but don’t choose to turn a blind eye to your fears.

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    8. Visualize Your Success

    You must have heard the famous quote, “See it to believe it.” That is exactly what visualization is about.

    One of the most effective techniques to overcome a lack of motivation is visualizing the process to your desired outcome. This helps you move in a positive direction and achieve your goal.

    Close your eyes and focus all your energies on the minutest of details that will take you where you want to go. For example, if your goal is to write a novel, visualize yourself sitting at a book signing, talking with fans of your most recent novel. Try to bring to mind how you’ll feel, what you’ll see, where you’ll be, etc.

    Doing this exercise every day inspires you to keep going and increase your motivation. The vision of attaining success will drive you to do better while instilling belief and confidence.

    9. Find Inspiration

    Can’t seem to find inspiration inwards? Feel overwhelmed? Don’t panic. There are plenty of external sources to gain inspiration from when you feel a loss of motivation.

    From motivational books and quotes to speeches, films and apps, it’s a good idea to take help from motivational material to rekindle your spirits and regain your motivation.

    Everyone is wired differently. For instance, a self-help book might work for your friend, but it might do nothing to move you.

    If you like crafts, try putting together a vision board. If you are a visual learner, write down a positive quote and tape it to your desk. Find what inspires you, and turn to it when you are in desperate need of motivation.

    10. Enjoy Downtime

    You are clearly exhausted with all the running around you’re doing in life. You don’t even have time to stop and think about what’s causing you so much unhappiness. All you know is that you are lacking motivation, and every day seems to have become a struggle.

    Now, that’s certainly not how you should live the rest of your life.

    You need to schedule downtime for yourself, relax, and give your mind and body some rest. Try one of the following to help take advantage of free time:

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    • Take a vacation or day trip
    • Indulge in hobbies
    • Meet up with some friends
    • Listen to a podcast
    • Exercise or do yoga

    It is important to do things that make you happy in order to think clearly and stay motivated.

    11. Meditate Regularly

    Meditation lets you take control of your mind. It improves focus and concentration while helping you relax.

    Whenever you have had a tough day or find your thoughts going places, the best way to calm yourself down is by closing your eyes and meditating. It helps you to remove all the unnecessary frills in life, feel good, and stay on the right track.

    One 2020 study found that meditation reduces “anxiety, depression and pain scores,” which is key in helping us overcome a loss of motivation. If we’re anxious or depressed, we’re much less likely to do what we need to do[3].

    Include meditation in your daily schedule and you are sure to see an improvement in your productivity and motivation.

    The Bottom Line

    Practicing these simple exercises isn’t the tough part; what’s tough is religiously doing them every day.

    However,  if you’re struggling with motivation to work, don’t expect things to change overnight. There will still be days when you will be low on energy, but by making these conscious efforts to stay motivated, you are sure to see a vast change in your perspective and your response to bad days.

    Start today and be committed to making a positive change in your life.

    More Tips to Overcome a Lack of Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Sonnie Hiles via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Adela Belin

    Writes about motivation, mental health, personal development and shares stories inspired by her personal journey.

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    Last Updated on January 15, 2021

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

    The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

    Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

    Posture

    First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

    • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
    • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
    • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
    • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

    All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

    Facial Expressions

    Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

    • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
    • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
    • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

    If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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    1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

    A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

    The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

    This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

    2. Relax Your Face

    New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

    The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

    To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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    3. Improve Your Eye Contact

    Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

    The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

    To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

    3. Smile More

    There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

    Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

    4. Hand Gestures

    Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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    It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

    5. Enhance Your Handshake

    In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

    “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

    It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

    6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

    As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

    Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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    Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

    Final Takeaways

    Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

    If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

    More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

    Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

    Reference

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