Whether it is working out, washing the dishes, or just plain getting out of bed some days, all of us struggle to find motivation from time-to-time. According to Liz Huber, writer for the online business publication, “The Startup,” there are eight reasons we sometimes lack motivation.
• Lack of a strong reason ‘Why.’
• An overwhelming goal.
• Lack of faith in yourself.
• You are exhausted.
• An unhealthy lifestyle.
• Goals that are either too big or too small.
• Lack of patience.
While the symptoms and solutions for all of these reasons vary, motivation for anything does boil down to a few simple things: a goal, the ability to achieve that goal, and the energy to execute. Let us examine each of the above culprits for draining your motivational energy stores.
Lack of a strong reason ‘Why’ – This may occur because either the goal is unimportant to you or that you do not understand its importance. If it genuinely does not matter to you, it might be worth abandoning. If you are not sure why it actually matters, for example, a task given to you by someone else, it may need to be reframed. Step back and look at the big picture. You might find that the goal is a small, yet important, piece to a bigger puzzle.
An overwhelming goal – Sometimes, our goal is so huge that we do not know where to actually begin. One step that might help is to break a large goal into smaller ones. This will allow you to make things a bit more manageable. Another step that will help when you do not know where to start is simply starting somewhere, anywhere. As you move forward, the best path will become clear. For example, if you wished to write a book, the best place to start is not necessarily at the beginning. It is wherever you choose. The beginning will present itself when you are ready for it. What is necessary is to start and get a few words written down.
Lack of faith in yourself – Sometimes, getting started on a project is difficult because deep down, you don’t think you can be successful. This might mean you need to have little faith in yourself and replace limiting beliefs with ones where you are strong and confident. Sometimes, you actually may be correct in your assessment, and the goal may need to be changed to become more realistic. Make an honest, objective comparison of the goal vs. your abilities and decide if you are holding yourself back or the goal is unrealistic.
You are exhausted – Have you ever heard of the expression, “You can’t drink from an empty cup.”? People, especially these days, are very often guilty of working to excess and forget to take care of themselves. This can be problematic and makes it even harder to find the motivation to accomplish difficult tasks. The solution, in this case, is to practice a little self-care and recharge your batteries. Take a break, rest, and come back to the problem with a fresh perspective. Short naps work wonders, by the way!
Fear – Sometimes, we are just afraid of something. It could be fear of failure, fear of success, fear of facing something difficult, fear of the unknown — the list goes on. The trick here is to reflect on why you might be afraid, then develop a specific strategy for coping with your particular fear. What’s the worst thing that could happen? True, you might fail, but then again, you might succeed.
An unhealthy lifestyle – Believe it or not, the key that most successful people site as being a large part of their success is healthy living. Maybe you are tired and unfocused from too many late nights with your friends. Or maybe you live off of soda and cheese curls, and your only exercise is walking to the refrigerator. Whatever the case, try giving some clean living a shot. Get your sleep, eat some fresh produce, and get out and exercise. Your career and liver will thank you.
Goals that are too big or too small – We have already covered what to do if a goal is too big or if you feel overwhelmed, so let’s focus on the under-achieving when it comes to goal-setting. In reality, there is nothing wrong with setting a goal that is small. Small, bite-sized goals are achievable and are a great way to tackle a big problem. They just shouldn’t be so small that they are uninspiring. The size of the goal you set should be whatever is the right size for you, and you should find them energizing. However big your goals, they should be whatever you deem the correct size and can handle at that moment. If they are too easy, aim a little higher and challenge yourself next time.
You are impatient – Patience is a virtue, or so I’ve heard. Success in all things, no matter how great or small, takes time. Be patient and enjoy the process. Half of the fun of most things is not just the destination, but the journey to get there.
If you are trying to get unstuck and you just can’t seem to get moving on a project or in life in general, try taking a look at what is holding you back. Whether it’s fear or inappropriate goals, or if you are simply living like you just turned 21, reflect on what is keeping you from getting excited about what you are doing. Though we won’t always love every aspect of every task, there is joy to be found in the little things, and that joy can be very energizing if we allow it.