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How many times have you told yourself you’re going to get something done lately, before finding a reason – any reason – not to do it? Maybe it’s starting a workout routine at home, cleaning out your garage, or picking up the phone and calling your mum? A lack of motivation is something that we all suffer from time to time, but for some of us, it’s become an almost unbreakable habit. If you’re tired of being chronically unmotivated, here are five habits that can turn it around.

Most unmotivated people tend to look on the dark side of a situation in order to find an excuse not to do something, which means forgetting the benefits of our goals. This isn’t necessarily laziness (although it can be), but is sometimes a result of stress or anxiety, or because we’ve put something off for so long that it’s become an almost impossible problem in our minds. When feeling this way, even temporarily, it can be incredibly difficult to find the motivation to do anything, let alone the important things we’ve been putting off for a while. Luckily, there is a fix for the motivation side of things. Instead of thinking about every reason that you don’t want to do something (I’m too out of shape to go to the gym now, I will feel out of place), think about the reasons for setting yourself the goal in the first place, and remember the benefits. You’re going to feel great after you’ve been for your workout, you’re probably going to meet some other people who feel the same way you do, and you’ll get a better night’s sleep after having done some exercise!

It’s important to note: Looking on the bright side is not a magical cure for stress, anxiety or depression. If you’re suffering from deeper, ongoing issues like these ones, the best thing you can do is seek out a counsellor or psychologist who can help you get to the root of things and develop real, actionable strategies to overcome them.

One of the most common reasons for feeling unmotivated to achieve something we’ve set our sights on is feeling intimidated by the size of the goal. If you’ve set a goal to learn a new language, or finally get that qualification you’ve been dreaming about, for example, the end result can feel too far away and too hard to imagine. It’s a mistake that far too many of us make, by taking an ‘all or nothing’ approach to our thinking. Instead, boost your motivation by breaking your goal down into much smaller pieces and tackling one at a time. This way, things don’t seem quite so daunting, and you feel a great sense of achievement (and boosted motivation) each time you tick one piece off the list. Want to learn French? Start by being able to count to 100. Then work on being able to order your favourite dishes. Then work up to being able to have a conversation further down the track!

Speaking of achieving smaller wins – be sure to celebrate each win you have! One of the keys to maintaining motivation, especially for the most unmotivated amongst us, is to give ourselves a pat on the back for each goal we achieve, no matter how big or small. The feeling of accomplishment can become quite an addictive one, so don’t sell yourself short. Tell a friend or family member who is supportive of you, go out for a nice meal with your mates, or reward yourself with some extra ‘me time’ – share your wins and do something to celebrate them each time.

Habits aren’t overcome overnight, and that includes a lack of motivation. One of the most common reason people fail at achieving their goals is that they are looking at the bigger picture like we spoke about in point #2. We forgot that becoming unmotivated took a long time to become a habit, and so, becoming motivated is going to take some time as well. If you’re looking to get fit and become healthier, for example, you’re not going to suddenly become the world’s healthiest eater overnight. Just like you’re not going to become the world’s greatest weightlifter in a day. Breaking down your lack of motivation means creating many ‘mini habits’ which accumulate to an overall change in attitude. Try taking the stairs once a day, drinking alcohol once less each week, drinking one more glass of water a day, or replacing one sugary snack favourite with a piece of fruit each day. These mini habits can work for any goal if you keep consistent:

  • Clean out the garage: Start with cleaning out one box of junk or donations each week.
  • Learn a new language: Master 5 new words or phrases each week.
  • Write a book: Try writing one paragraph each day.
  • Save money: Buy one less coffee at work today and put the money straight into your savings.

And remember: Every little step forward is a step in the right direction, no matter how small. It’s also one more step than you took yesterday, last week, or last year. You’re doing great – so keep going!

Finally, another of the most common barriers to motivation is the wealth of distractions and detractors that we’re surrounded by. It’s much more tempting to sit on our phones scrolling through Facebook and Instagram when we’re tired after work than it is picking up that textbook to study, right? There are thousands of tiny distractions and detractors (or critics) surrounding us each day, and bit by bit, they can suck away our motivation. Try identifying those things that are distracting you or detracting from your motivation, and slowly eliminate or limit them from your routine. Try putting your phone away for an hour while you study, for example. Or, if you’re trying to quit drinking, stop going out with that friend who always gives you a hard time about it. Focus on those things and people who help you to feel motivated, and recruit more mini habits, and more supporters, to assist you in achieving your goals.

Being unmotivated doesn’t mean you’re just lazy. It means you’ve built up a habit of lacking motivation, and it’s become a big part of your life. Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do about it. These are just 5 of the simple steps to becoming more motivated, but there’s no need to go it alone! For even more strategies, and to get to the bottom of your reasons for a lack of motivation, why not try one of our Personal Accelerator programs?  Our Personal Success Coaching Program, in particular, has been designed for those who lack the motivation and direction to make personal changes in their lives. We’ve helped countless clients to overcome their lack of motivation and achieve the success they’ve been dreaming of. Get in touch today to find out more and become more motivated today.

Michelle van Namen
Author: Michelle van Namen