Have you ever had one of those days when you say to yourself, “I have no motivation to do anything” or ask yourself “Why do I have no motivation for anything”? Perhaps this is acceptable on a casual, lazy summer day when you are on vacation from your usual duties and nothing is at stake. But for some people, there is a constant, perpetual feeling: I have no motivation for life. Whether it’s going to the gym, going to work, looking for work, or doing house chores, sometimes it’s hard to work up the motivation to do anything. Below are a few simple strategies to allow you to get a “jump start” on your motivation.
Focus on the Little Positive Things
Sometimes when you have no motivation to do anything, it has much to do with how you perceive the task at hand. For example, you may feel no motivation to go to work because you don’t like your job or any of the people you work with. Or you may have no motivation to exercise when you think about how hard it would be to run 30 minutes on the treadmill. It’s important, in this situation, to focus not on the difficulty or dread of having to “tolerate” these situations, which will only add unneeded pressure upon yourself. But rather, focus on the little things you have to gain from these tasks. Train yourself to look away from the unpleasantness and difficulty of these tasks, and focus your attention on the little things that you look forward to.
For example, you hate going to work because you don’t like your colleagues, but you look forward to your lunch break in the park, where you can quietly enjoying the calm of nature while eating your delicious pizza from the place down the street. You don’t like going to the gym because forcing yourself to exercise is hard, but you think that girl Debra at the gym is kind of cute and you want her to think you’re committed to being in shape. These may seem like ridiculous, even childish things, but sometimes it’s important to find ways to distract yourself from the negative elements that kills any motivation. Focus on the things that fuels you, not kills you.
Don't Underestimate Yourself
Many people tell themselves: I have no motivation to do anything because I can’t do anything right. Such low self-esteem is a major motivation killer. There is no such person as someone who cannot do ANYTHING. In fact, these people who often sell themselves short may inadvertently impede any skills they already have. Before you force yourself to do anything, take some time to reflect on the things you can do and have done. Regaining some confidence in your own ability will help you build some momentum into actually completing a task.
For example, you’ve lost the motivation to look for a job because you don’t think you have any marketable skills. Don’t listen to those self-generated lies. Take time to consider the things you’ve accomplished, as little as they may be, that will fuel you to take the next step forward.
Focus on the Process, Not the End Result
Some people may not even be sure why they lack the motivation: They ask themselves: Why do I have no motivation for anything? For some reason, they just don’t feel like doing something. Often times, this seemingly baseless lack of motivation can be attributed to the apparent distance of the end goal. If the destination seems far in the future, it may appear unattainable and not even worth attempting. If you were to drive across the North American continent from coast to coast, would it be easier to focus on the 6-day drive to the destination, or focus on finding all the scenic stops along the way? Focus not on the distance of the end result, learn to appreciate all the little things that come along the way of getting there.
Find People To Tag-team With
People who feel like they have no motivation have a tendency to isolate themselves from others, having convinced themselves that they are not as accomplished as their peers. What they often do not realize is that they are not stuck in this funk alone. Sometimes it takes a little bit of opening up to others to help you break out of that funk. Reaching out to others can provide you with an external motivation that you may have trouble conjuring up on your own. Need motivation to get out of the house and exercise? Ask that neighbor who goes jogging at 6am every morning to come over and wake you up and take you jogging. It can even become a mutual motivation for someone else who might be feeling the same way, but because you reached out, that person now feels capable of helping the both of you.
Imagine the End Result
“Three weeks from now, I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so.” An avid cinephile may recall this quote from Ridley Scott’s 2000 classic film “Gladiator” where Maximus addresses his men before leading them into battle, and for many, into certain death. Sometimes you may feel a lack of motivation to do something because the outlook is poor. For example, you may lack the motivation to look for a job because the economy is in a slump. But painting a picture of a bright future, although seemingly premature, may be the pivotal factor that drives you into a task for the sole purpose of attaining that goal. Don’t feel like going to work? How about imagining the prospect of saving up enough money to go on that dream vacation to Europe? Don’t feel like cleaning the apartment? How about imagining having a place so clean that your significant other actually enjoys staying over and tells all his or her friends how tidy you are? This is a more colorful way to perceive goal-setting, which in itself can seem mundane and become a tedious process. Creating a positive result in your mind can motivate you to do something that you otherwise may not even want to attain in the first place.
Being motivated can be hard. There are probably more people who tell themselves “I have no motivation” than people who are clearly motivated. The tips offered here are but the fundamental elements. There are many more useful advice to learning how to get motivated when you have no motivation to do anything. The most important thing is that it all starts with you. Remember, nobody can motivate you more than you. It may not be easy to get started, but once you pick up momentum, you will achieve your goal before you know it.
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