lack-of-motivation
Jay Abbasi

Jay Abbasi

Mindfulness Coach and Consultant

3 Causes and Cures to a Lack of Motivation

When was the last time you just didn’t feel like working?

I’m sure you’ve felt this at some point.

There’s a strong feeling of resistance, and it stops you from taking action and being productive. The feeling is so strong that it becomes overwhelming, and you can’t seem to shake it.

You aren’t motivated to do anything, and it feels like there’s nothing you can do to change it.

The great Zig Ziglar once said…

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing—that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Zig Ziglar

Motivation doesn’t come out of thin air and refill your gas tank when you’re running low on fuel. 

And a lack of motivation can be a real hindrance in your life when you aren’t aware of how to overcome it.

I know it has for me in the past.

If I was “not in the mood”, I would do just enough to get by that day, hope no one notices, and look forward to doing nothing.

I would give myself the excuse that since I wasn’t feeling up for it, I was justified in not being at my best.

That’s a bunch of nonsense.

I’m NOT saying you shouldn’t have time off to relax, enjoy quality time with family and friends, or do something that you enjoy.

I AM saying that you shouldn’t let a lack of motivation drive you to underperform.

If we allow a lack of motivation to hinder our progress, our results will suffer and we won’t be able to best serve those around us.

What Causes a Lack of Motivation, and How Do You Overcome It?

When you’re feeling the resistance, you may not be sure what’s causing you to feel this way. It’s difficult to diagnose without knowing the specific situation, but here are some common causes of a lack of motivation.

Cause #1 – Lack of Energy

Oftentimes not getting enough sleep can be the reason why you lack motivation during the day. It only makes sense, right? According to the CDC, adults require at least 7 hours of sleep a night.

Therefore, be sure to give your body the rest it needs so you can remain energized throughout the day.

Diet can also be what gets in the way of you rockin’ and rollin’ throughout the day. 

I remember 1 week I felt no motivation to do any work and I traced it back to one reason; breakfast. That week, I was having a new brand of sugary oatmeal for breakfast and I was adding brown sugar AND maple syrup. All that sugar to start the day led to a crash that I couldn’t bounce back from. I realized the problem, made an adjustment to my diet, and BOOM; I was back to normal. 

Rather than consuming 40 grams of artificial sugar to start my day, I now don’t eat breakfast at all. I practice intermittent fasting and my first meal is at 12pm. Of all the things I’ve done in my life to improve my energy levels, intermittent fasting has helped the most.

It should go without saying, but I’ll say it here anyway just in case. Drinking too much alcohol, relying on highly caffeinated drinks, and any other drugs that cause spikes and crashes to your energy levels will impact your motivation.

At the least, reduce the amount of consumption of such things.

If you’re committed to improving your motivation and willing to do as much as it takes, cut those things out completely (caffeine, alcohol, drugs).

The Cure – Revitalize Your Energy

  • Get 7+ hours of sleep
  • Commit to a healthy and balanced diet (reduce sugar, avoid big meals to start the day)
  • Reduce or completely remove alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants

Cause #2 – Unresolved Emotions

Maybe your day doesn’t start out so well.

At 6am, before you had your coffee, you step on the Elsa doll your daughter left out in the hallway.

You make your morning coffee and shortly after spill some of it on your brand new shirt that your partner bought you for your birthday.

The internet connection doesn’t seem to be working, and the classic attempt to unplug the router and plug it back in isn’t fixing the problem.

While these may seem like minor incidents, they are building, and building, and building.

When difficult emotions, like anger, frustration, sadness, or depression, are unresolved, it can seriously impact our motivation.

During the day, a simple way to escape the emotion is to take actions that reverse the state that we’re in.

Your physiology alters your mood.

If you smile, you cannot be mad at the same time.

Try this for yourself.

Smile as wide as you can, right now, and feel upset at the same time.

Is it possible?

While smiling is one effective way to switch your mood, another is to move your body energetically in a way that shifts your state.

Jump up and down like an NBA player ready to run onto the basketball court for Game 7 of the Finals.

Put music on and dance to your favorite song.

Before starting a task, set an intention that tells an inspiring story about what you’re doing, who you’re doing for, and why it’s so important. Then, begin working on that task like you’re on FIRE.

The Cure – Change Your State

  • Smile more
  • Move your body in ways that evoke positive emotions
  • Take action with passion and vigor

Cause #3 – Excessive Stimulation

What happens to your brain when you binge watch Netflix, scroll through your Instagram feed for an hour, or have a cheat day consisting of all the cookies, cakes, and ice cream your heart desires?

Your brain adjusts to this level of stimulation and seeks more. The brain isn’t satisfied, ever, and sets a new standard of stimulation quickly.

Think about it. Once you get used to having a cup of coffee every morning, how does it feel to not get your daily cup of Joe?

Don’t worry, I’m not saying to cut out your morning coffee.

I would, however, consider observing how much stimulation you are subject to throughout the day, and how it impacts your motivation.

When you overdo it, you may find yourself less inclined to focus on productive tasks. You may find yourself seeking out more pleasurable experiences, which inhibit your ability to stay motivated.

The way around this is to avoid overstimulating your mind, especially early in the day or right before bedtime. Instead of being on a screen before the day starts or right before it ends, enjoy a good book, have an insightful conversation with a loved one, or sit quietly in meditation.

The Cure – Be the Gatekeeper For Your Mind

  • Avoid overstimulating your mind, especially before your day starts and before sleep
  • Observe and take note of how overstimulation impacts your motivation
  • Review some of the examples provided on how to set boundaries in my previous article on Negative Bias thinking

Struggling with motivation is perfectly natural. There’s no need to beat yourself about it. At the same time, you don’t need to resign to such a state.

Take action to cultivate your motivation and bounce back from lulls you may face throughout the day.

Don’t let a lack of motivation inhibit your ability to get results.

Be here.

Be now.

With love,

Jay

P.S. To get more personalized help on motivation, feel free to contact us directly regarding our 8-week program on how to build resilience and stay motivated. To find out more details about the program, feel free to schedule a friendly, no-pressure call with us to determine if you’re a good fit for the program.

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