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10 Types of Demotivation And How To Overcome Them

10 Types of Demotivation And How To Overcome Them

Whether it is fear, the challenge or one of many other possible reasons, we all can become demotivated. Productive Flourishing have very kindly shared their guest post from Cath Duncan of Remembering For Good with us, in which Cath discusses 10 types of demotivation and how you can overcome them:

Motivation is central to creativity, productivity and happiness. Motivation is what causes us to act, and when we act, we create movement, growth and change, we feel involved, masterful and significant, we feel powerful through experiencing how we can change the world, and we create more of what we love in our lives. And all of this gives our lives purpose and happiness.

De-motivation is like snow

It’s said that Eskimos have multiple words for snow because snow is so familiar to them that they can appreciate the subtle differences between different types of snow. These additional distinctions enable Eskimos to respond differently to different types of snow, depending on the challenges and opportunities each particular type of snow is presenting them with.

Most of us have just one distinction for demotivation, which means that you’re likely to assume that you’re struggling with the same problem whenever you’re demotivated, when in fact demotivation is a category of problems that has many different distinctions within it. When you have just one distinction for demotivation, you’ll apply the same old strategies whenever you feel demotivated, which for many people looks like this: set goals, push harder, create accountability checks that will push you, and run your life using GTD methods and to-do lists. These strategies are ineffective with most types of de-motivation, and in some instances they can even make you more demotivated.

At its essence, demotivation is about you not being fully committed to act, and there are many reasons why you might be in that position. Having more distinctions for your demotivation will help you to identify the real reasons for your unwillingness to commit to action, so that you can pick the right tools and strategies to get motivated again.

Here are 10 different types of demotivation and the strategies that will help you to get motivated again (click to share – thanks!):

1. You’re demotivated by fear

When you’re afraid, even if you’re entering territory that you’ve chosen to move into, a part of yourself is determined to avoid going forward. Fear slows you down and makes you hesitant and careful, which can be beneficial to you, but sometimes your fears are based on your imagination rather than an accurate assessment of the risks in your reality. If your fear is big enough, even if you’re also excited to go forward, the part of you that wants to keep you safe can successfully prevent you from going forward into territory that’s both desirable and safe.

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How to get motivated again: To get motivated, you need to deal with your fear. Start by naming your fears so that they’re out in the open. Remember to say a gentle thank you to your fears – they’re trying to protect you after all. Then question your fears; “Why am I afraid of that happening?” “What are the chances that would really happen?” Some of your fears will slip away now.

Look at the fears that are left. What are these fears telling you about the research you need to do, the gaps you need to fill and the risk management strategies you need to put in place? Honor that wisdom by building it into your plan. Finally, consider breaking the changes you’re wanting to make down into smaller steps and focus on just the next few small steps – this will calm your fears.

2. You’re demotivated by setting the wrong goals

Martha Beck has a great model for understanding motivation. She explains that we have an Essential Self and a Social Self. Your Essential Self is the part of you that’s spontaneous and creative and playful, the part that knows what’s most important to you. Your Social Self is the part of you that developed since the day you were born, learning the rules of the tribe and working hard to make sure that you’re safe by making you follow the rules of the tribe.

We’re all surrounded with so many messages that feed into our Social Selves and we’re keen to impress our tribe. When you feel demotivated, it’s because you’re setting goals based purely on what your Social Self wants and this is pulling you away from the direction your Essential Self is wanting you to take. Your Essential Self uses demotivation to slow you down and try to disinterest you from the toxic goals you’ve set.

How to get motivated again: Take some time to review your goals. Because your Essential Self is non-verbal, you can easily access your Essential Self through your body. Notice how your body responds as you think of each of the goals you’re trying to work on. When your body (and particularly your breathing) show signs of tightness and constriction, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re trying to follow toxic goals. If you get a constricted reaction, scrap your current goals and question all your stories about what you “should” do with your life. Notice what makes you smile spontaneously or lose track of time and set goals around that stuff instead.

3. You’re demotivated by lack of clarity about what you want

When you haven’t consciously and clearly articulated what you want, your picture of your future will be vague. We like what’s familiar and so we resist what’s unfamiliar and vague and we stay with and re-create what’s familiar to us instead. If you’re not clear about what you want to create, then it makes sense that you’ll lack motivation to act because you’d rather stay with your current familiar reality.

How to get motivated again: If you want to create something different to what you’ve been experiencing, it’s not enough to just know what you don’t want. You need to know what you want instead, and you need to articulate a clear and specific vision of what you want to create so that you can become familiar with that new outcome and feel comfortable to move towards it. Take some time to articulate what you want and why you want it.

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4. You’re demotivated by a values-conflict

Your values are what’s important to you in life. If you have a values conflict it means that there are two or more values that are important to you but you feel that you can’t satisfy all of those values in a particular situation. This causes you to feel conflicted and pulled in different directions as you try to find ways to get what’s important to you. You might have brief spurts of motivation to work on something and then lose motivation and start working on something else or your motivation might dry up altogether because the energy of dealing with internal conflict quickly tires you out and saps your motivation.

How to get motivated again: You need to unpack your values-conflict and play mediator to get the parts of you that are advocating for different values to play on the same team again. Start with acknowledging the internal conflict. Grab a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle so that you have two columns. Write about the two different directions you feel pulled in, one in each column and summarize it with a statement of what each part wants. Now pick one column and chunk it up; “Why does this part want that? What does it hope to get as a result of having that?” Keep asking the question and writing your answers until you feel that you’ve hit on the end result that part ultimately wants. Now do the same for the other part and notice when you get to the level where the answers in the two columns are the same.

Ultimately, when you chunk up, all of the parts of yourself always want the same thing, because they’re all you. Now that you know what you really want, you can evaluate the strategies that each part had been advocating for and decide which strategy would work best.

Often once you’re clear on what you really want, you spot new strategies for getting it that you hadn’t noticed before. Sometimes by doing this exercise you’ll find ways to satisfy all of your values, but sometimes that’s not possible. If you’ve taken time to think through your values and you’ve consciously chosen to prioritize a particular value over your other values for a while, this clarity will ease the internal conflict and your motivation will return.

5. You’re demotivated by lack of autonomy

We thrive on autonomy. We all have a decision-making center in our brains and this part of us needs to be exercised. Studies have found that this decision-making center in the brain is under-developed in people who have depression and that, by practicing using this part of the brain and making decisions, depression often clears.

In his book, Drive, Daniel Pink writes about the research that shows that when it comes to doing creative work, having some autonomy to decide what we do, when we do it, how we do it and who we do it with is core to igniting and sustaining motivation, creativity and productivity.

How to get motivated again: Consider how much autonomy you have in relation to the goals you’ve been trying to pursue. Are there areas where you feel constricted and controlled? Consider how you could gradually introduce more autonomy in your task, time, technique, location and team, and then if you’re employed, have a discussion with your manager and ask for greater autonomy in a few specific areas of your work.

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6. You’re demotivated by lack of challenge

Challenge is another crucial ingredient for motivation that authors like Daniel Pinkand Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, author of “Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience,” highlight. When it comes to dealing with challenges, there’s a sweet spot. Too great a challenge and the fear becomes too great and saps our motivation (see point 1), and if the challenge is too small, we quickly get bored and struggle to stay motivated. We’re designed to be living, growing creatures and we need constant challenge and opportunities to master new skills. Without challenge, our Essential Self steps in and demotivates us as a way of telling us that we’ve departed from the path that’s right for us.

How to get motivated again: Review your goals and the projects you’re working on. Are they challenging you? Are they going to require you to grow in order to achieve them or are you treading water in your comfort zone doing only the things you know you can do? Try tweaking your goals to make them a bit more challenging, take on projects that will require you to grow and find a new thing or two to learn to stimulate yourself.

7. You’re demotivated by grief

At the beginning of any change, we go through a phase of wondering if we should or could hang onto the way things were and grieving what we’d be losing if we make significant changes. Confusion, self-doubt, mistrust of the world around us and feeling lost are common symptoms and the bigger the change, the more powerful these symptoms. Sometimes we even go through a bit of depression and social withdrawal. Martha Beck calls this the “Death and Rebirth” phase of change in her book, Finding Your Own North Star. With all the grieving and fearing and feeling lost that goes on in this phase, it’s normal for your motivation to dry up.

How to get motivated again: If you’ve just experienced a trauma or loss, or are going through a major change and finding that there are days where you’re hit hard with Death and Rebirth symptoms, don’t try to make make yourself motivated and proactive. You can’t rush grieving and the undoing of your old life and ways of thinking and you can’t skip the Death and Rebirth phase and go straight into Dreaming and Scheming.

You need to give yourself a lot of space for nurturing and reflection. Look after your body with good food, rest and exercise. Express your grief, confusion and fears with people who can listen lovingly. Spend time in nature and with calm, loving people to center yourself. Accept every feeling and thought you have – they’re all normal and safe. Take one day at a time and go easy on yourself. Confusion, forgetfulness and clumsiness are all normal in this stage. The grieving will end when it’s ready and if you relax into it and express your grief, it’ll be sooner rather than later.

8. You’re demotivated by loneliness

This is an especially important one for those of us who work alone from home. You know those days when you feel a bit cabin-feverish, you just don’t feel like working and you’d rather be out having a drink with a friend or playing a game of soccer? Well perhaps it’s because we’re designed to be social creatures and sometimes your Essential Self is just longing for some connection with other people and so it steps in and hi-jacks your work motivation so that you’ll take a break from work and go and spend some time with other people and give your Essential Self what it needs.

How to get motivated again: Take a break and go and spend some time with someone you enjoy. You may be surprised at the motivating impact this has and find yourself much more clear and productive when you return to your work. And then look for ways that you can begging to build more networking and joint venturing into your work.

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9. You’re demotivated by burn-out

Since I attract over-achieving Type A’s, and as a recovering Type A myself, I know that sometimes we’re banging on about wanting to get more done even after we’ve exceeded the limit on what’s sustainable. If you’re feeling tired all the time, have lost your energy for socializing, and the idea of taking a snooze sounds more compelling than the stuff you’re usually interested in, then you’ve probably pushed yourself too long and hard and you may be burned out.

Your Essential Self will always work to motivate you to move towards what you most need and away from goals, projects and ways of working that take you away from what your Essential Self craves. So if you’re burned out and needing sleep, your Essential Self may even sap the motivation from the things that you’re usually really ignited about – just to get you to meet your core needs again.

How to get motivated again: Sleep. And then when you’re done sleeping and the quality of your thinking has been restored, check back in with your Essential Self about what’s most important to you, hang out here on Charlie’s blog, pick up The Dojo, and start to build sustainable ways of doing more of what’s important to you.

10. You’re demotivated by not knowing what to do next

Your end-goal might be nice and clear, but if you haven’t taken time to chunk your end-goal down into smaller goals, you’ll get stuck, confused and demotivated when it’s time to take action. Some projects are small and familiar enough that they don’t need a plan, but if you’re often worrying that you don’t know what to do next and you don’t have a clear plan, then this might be the source of your demotivation.

How to get motivated again: If you want to keep your motivation flowing steadily through all stages of your projects, take time to create clear project plans and to schedule your plans into your calendar.

Use your fears to point you to the potential risks you need to manage in your plan. Write down all your, “I-don’t-know-how-to” concerns and turn these into research questions. The first part of any planning stage is research, and you’ll find new research questions along the way, so realize that conducting research should be part of your action plan at every stage of your project. Finally, ask yourself what smaller goals need to be achieved for you to achieve your end-goal and schedule deadlines for yourself.

Goal-setting and pushing is rarely the answer

Goal-setting, planning, organizing and accountability structures are often touted as the big solution to demotivation and the silver bullet that will get you creative and productive again, but notice that it’s only a useful strategy for dealing with some types of demotivation. With many other types of demotivation, goal-setting, planning, organizing and accountability structures will only make your demotivation problem worse.

Over to you…

  • Have you been able to pin-point the type/s of demotivation that you tend to struggle with most?
  • Have you been stuck in demotivation right now?
  • What do you need and which motivation strategy is going to give you what you need right now?

About the Author: Cath co-founded the Creative Grief Coaching Certification program, where she and Kara Jones train social workers, therapists, life coaches and nurses to use conversational creativity and art-making to support bereaved people to live wholeheartedly after loss. Cath has also authored the Remembering For Good Grief Workbook and numerous grief articles at RememberingForGood.com.

How To Recover From 10 Types of Demotivation | Productive Flourishing

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Siobhan Harmer

Siobhan is a passionate writer sharing about motivation and happiness tips on Lifehack.

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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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