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7 Ways to Get Motivated Again

By: Erin Knudson, MS, NBC-HWC
Reviewed and edited by: Kylie Slavek, LPC

Have you ever had those days when you can’t get yourself to start your work, clean your house, or do a project? It happens to all of us. In this article, we’ll talk about why this happens and how you can get your motivation back.

What is Motivation?

According to Anahana.com, “motivation is essentially the presence of stimulation that gets people to act.  [It] drives an individual’s actions, willingness, and desire to accomplish a goal or reward. It causes people to make decisions and set goals.” In other words, it is the reason why people follow through with actions that are needed to cross the finish line.

It is easy to get stuff done when the reward is worth it. That great feeling of doing a good job on something and seeing it through until the end can lead to something you really want. Sometimes the reward comes from inside you, such as a feeling of pride in your good work, and sometimes it comes from someone else, like your boss who praises you or mentions wanting to give you a raise because of your good work. Motivation can also come from a threat or a punishment if your goal is not achieved. The threat of being fired as a punishment for being late every day or missing meetings is enough to get most people out of bed and off to work. 

Take some time to think about your motivation. What might happen if you accomplish this task? What might happen if you don’t? 

Lack of connection to your motivation can leave you stuck in a rut or keep you hiding for too long from doing a task that you just don’t feel like doing. This puts you at risk of rolling downhill fast, with bad outcomes ahead.

4 Reasons Why You Might Not Feel Motivated

Feeling unmotivated happens for a few reasons, and it’s important to know why. Here are some common reasons people feel unmotivated. Which one resonates with you?

  1. Not Interested:
    Sometimes, you don’t want to do something because it’s just not exciting or interesting to you. It feels like a chore, or maybe quite literally, it is a chore. Life involves doing a lot of mundane tasks. 
  2. Feeling Overwhelmed:
    Having a lot of work, chores, and responsibilities can be overwhelming. You might not know where to start, and that can make you feel like doing nothing. 
  3. Tired or Stressed:
    If you’re tired from a long day or stressed about something, it can make you feel like you have no energy to do tasks.
  4. Scared of Failing:
    Sometimes, you might be afraid that you’ll make mistakes or not do something perfectly. This fear can stop you from even trying.

Lack of motivation occasionally happens to everyone; it can also be a sign or symptom of depression. If feeling unmotivated is beginning to worsen or it is negatively impacting your life, contact a therapist so that you can get screened for symptoms of depression. Centered has licensed professional counselors ready to help.

Here are some things to try on your own. You might discover that seeing it through a new lens can help. 

7 Ways to Get Motivated Again

  1. Set Small Goals
    Instead of looking at a big task, break it into smaller, doable parts. For example, sorting, folding, ironing, and hanging a load of clean laundry can be split into doing just one of these tasks at a time. A thousand lines of data entry at work can be divided into 50 or 100 at a time.  Pretty soon all the little mini-tasks will start to add up, and the task is all done. You’ll feel good about your progress along the way, and that can make you feel motivated until the end.
  2. Reward Yourself
    After you finish a mini-task, reward yourself with a little treat. It could be eating a yummy snack or another brief activity that feels rewarding to you like a walk, or a stretch break. Rewards can make you feel good and motivate you to keep going. Each time you finish a task, reward yourself. You must complete another task before the next reward. 
  3. Make It Fun
    Try to make boring tasks more fun and pleasurable. For example, you could watch cat videos while folding laundry, or light a candle and enjoy your favorite beverage while sorting through finances, or listen to music with headphones while you work. When things are enjoyable, you’ll be more motivated to do them. 
  4. Take Short Breaks
    If you feel overwhelmed or tired, take short breaks to rest your body and your mind.  A little walk outside for 10 minutes after long tasks can help loosen up your body, get your blood pumping, which is good for your brain, and feel more energized to get back to the task.
  5. Stay Positive
    Don’t be hard on yourself. Praise yourself for your efforts, successes, and attempts. View mistakes or setbacks as chances to learn and get better. Remember that you are only one person, and you can only do so much.  Remind yourself you are trying and doing your best. 
  6. Stay Organized
    Use a to-do list or a calendar to keep track of what you need to do. Being organized can make tasks feel less overwhelming. Some people like the feeling of checking off the boxes of things that they have finished.
  7. Get Help
    Talk to a friend or a family member if you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes, just talking about how you feel can make you feel better, and they might give you helpful advice. If your trouble getting motivated carries on and becomes a significant problem, meet with a therapist or wellness coach to find ways to get you moving again. 

You Can Do It!

Remember, it’s normal to feel unmotivated sometimes, no matter who you are. The key is to understand why you feel this way and to try these tips to get your motivation back. Allow yourself to get help from Centered if you discover that you need it. You’re capable of doing amazing things when you find your motivation again, so stay positive, set small goals, and keep going. You’ve got the power to get things done even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t give up, and you’ll surprise yourself with what you can achieve!

*To schedule a free 20-minute Discovery Session to talk about how a Therapist or a Health and Wellness Coach at Centered can help you to find your motivation, go to Centered Health online at www.centeredhealth.org and fill out our contact form.  We will reply within 24 business hours to schedule your free Discovery Session right away!