How to Motivate Yourself...Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Does this sound like you? You write a bunch of things on your to-do list…but then you don’t ever follow through on it. And, this happens again and again and again. What’s the problem? Why are we so good at thinking of what we need to do but so terrible at actually doing it?

Motivation is what drives us to make things happen but staying motivated isn’t always easy.

How do we become demotivated in the first place?

  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 you is determined to avoid going forward. Fear slows you down and makes you hesitant, but sometimes your fears are based on your imagination rather than on an accurate assessment of the risks in your reality. To get motivated, you need to deal with your fear. Start by naming your fears so that they’re out in the open. Then question them: “Why am I afraid of that happening?” “What are the chances that would really happen?” After that, some of your fears will slip away easily. Look at the fears that are left. What are they 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? Consider breaking down the changes into smaller steps and focusing on just the next few small steps; this will calm your fears.

  2. You’re demotivated by setting the wrong goals. When you feel unmotivated, it’s because you’re setting goals based purely on what your ego wants, and this is pulling you away from the direction your true-self wants you to take. Your true-self uses demotivation to slow you down and to detach you from the toxic goals you’ve set. Take some time to review your goals. 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) shows 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. Notice what makes you smile spontaneously or lose track of time, and set goals related to that instead.

  3. You’re demotivated by lack of clarity. When you haven’t consciously and clearly articulated what you want, your picture of your future will be vague. We like what’s familiar, so we resist what’s unfamiliar, and we stay with and re-create what’s familiar to us. If you’re not clear about what you want to create, then it makes sense that you’ll lack motivation because you’d rather stay with your current familiar reality. If you want to create something different from what you’ve been experiencing, it’s not enough to just know what you don’t want, Queen. You need to know what you do want, 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 moving toward it. Take some time to articulate what you want and why you want it.

  4. You’re demotivated by a lack of challenge. Challenge is another crucial ingredient for motivation. We’re designed to be living, growing creatures, and we need constant challenges and opportunities to master new skills. Without challenges, our true-self steps in and demotivates us as a way of telling us that we’ve departed from the path that’s right for us. If the challenge is too small, we quickly get bored and struggle to stay motivated. 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.

  5. You’re demotivated by grief. At the beginning of any change, we go through a phase of wondering if we should hang on to the way things were and grieving what we’ll 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. If you’ve just experienced a trauma or loss, or you’re going through a major change, don’t try to make yourself motivated and proactive. You can’t rush grieving or the undoing of your old life and ways of thinking. Take one day at a time and go easy on yourself. 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. And, accept every feeling and thought you have; they’re all completely normal. 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.

No matter what you are working on, there are bound to be days when you don’t feel like showing up. There will be workouts that you don’t feel like starting. There will be reports that you don’t feel like writing. There will be responsibilities that you don’t feel like handling. And, there will be “off days” when your energy and emotions are in the gutter. But, don’t trip, can train yourself for success!

How to become (and stay) motivated:

  1. Set goals. When you set a goal, you make a decision to act in a way that will help you achieve what you want. Goals give you a direction to focus on, one that’s measurable and has an endpoint. This can help you stay motivated.

  2. Make your goal public. If you tell someone or write down your goal, you’ve essentially made a promise to keep your word. So, get to it, Queen!

  3. Track your progress. When you’re working towards something, it can be really motivating if you can see evidence that you’re making progress. Draw or create a visual representation of how you’re coming closer to achieving the goal you’ve set for yourself.

  4. Break up your goal. Start with easier tasks and work your way up to bigger challenges. Breaking up a task in your mind into achievable chunks helps build confidence.

  5. Use rewards. Promise yourself some sort of positive reward (that’s aligned with your goals) each time you complete a step/task.

  6. Don’t do it alone. Join a class or find someone you can share the experience with. Other people’s encouragement to keep going can be a big boost to your motivation, particularly when what you’re doing is tough. If you’re really finding it hard, if you’ve tried but failed to get motivated, then it might help to talk it through with someone you trust. Sometimes, it can be hard to achieve things on your own, so having a good support network may help when you’ve taken on a big challenge. Try talking to a coach, who can help you to work out which motivating strategies that will work best for you.

  7. Kill any negative thoughts. Replace them with positive ones. Recognize negative self-talk, which is really what’s causing your slump. If you beat yourself up for being so “unproductive” and “lazy,” You’re going to keep yourself feeling like shit. Try instead to use the same encouraging words you might use for a friend or loved one. If you can’t find the words, read more about self-compassion.

  8. Be positive. When do we procrastinate the most? When we’re in a bad mood, so find something that will perk you up.

  9. Find your mantra. A mantra doesn’t have to be long; it just needs to get you excited. When you’re tired, lazy, slacking, it’s those few words that remind you that you are HER and get you to take action.

The patterns that you repeat on a daily basis will eventually form the identity that you believe in and the actions that you take. Think about motivation as a mindset; the goal or task you are working towards doesn’t change, but the way you see it and think about it does. If you need to, reframe the scope to something manageable, hold yourself accountable, and remember to treat yourself when you achieve it. You can do this, Queen! In fact, believing you can do this is actually the first step.

Today is the day. It’s time to make the most out of your life: and that means, it’s time to learn how to get motivated. There are no second chances, so if you’ve been feeling lazy, down, procrastinating…whatever. Stop! It’s time to break out of your motivational funk. Happy motivating, Queen! #rp #share #queenshealingqueens #mysisterskeeper #wegotus

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