[A collaboration post – all thoughts are my own. This article was originally published in March 2022 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.]
Have you ever felt that you have no motivation in work or life?
Life can be frustrating and everyone suffers from a lack of motivation at some point. Some of us struggle with it daily, while others are lucky enough to only have problems occasionally. Even the most motivated of us can feel unmotivated at times. In fact, sometimes thinking about making positive changes seems too difficult.
This month has been a slow but great month. However, there’s a day when I don’t feel like doing anything. I experienced blogging burnout before because I tried to do too much. It saps my energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistakes blogger make or people make: trying to accomplish too many goals at once.
But it’s not hopeless; you can overcome your lack of motivation and get back the passion you once had with some small steps. You’re not alone. I’ve learned a few ways after reading books to break out of a slump, and we’ll take a look at those today.
You need to choose one goal
Pick one goal and focus on it completely. You cannot maintain energy and focus if you’re trying to do more goals at once. For example, I have goals to translate 2,000 words of a novel and write a post with 1,000+ words in a day. It didn’t work. I ended up hating myself because I didn’t accomplish my goals. So, speak from experience. You can always do your other goals when you’ve accomplished your one goal.
When I feel unmotivated, I read other blogs or books. I search for my goal and read success stories about that. Inspiration comes from others who have achieved what I want to achieve or who are currently doing it. For some reason, reading helps motivate you on whatever you’re reading about.
You may skip this tip because I’m not sure if this works for everyone, but it works for me. After you find inspiration and want to to a goal, don’t start right away. That’s a mistake. Set a date in the future and make that your Start Date. Mark it on the calendar or your planner and make it the most important date in your life. In the meantime, start writing out a plan and do some small steps.
For example, after reading some financial tips at the end of 2021, I start planning out my financial goals in 2022. I start by searching for a budget planner printable or creating my own with Canva. I plan my daily, weekly, and monthly savings, sinking funds, etc. And in March 2022, I’m able to save more money from my weekly budget for things that I plan in the future!
Create daily routines
Routines lead to habits, and once you have a habit established, it’s almost impossible to stick in an unmotivated loop for a long. Think about habits that you already have now. If you walk your dog every morning, getting up early signals to your mind that it’s time to go walking. Well, in my case, every morning, my dogs get into bed and start using their paws to wake me up because it’s their routine for morning walks.
Sometimes, I lose my keys or forgot where I put them and that forces me to get in the habit of placing the keys in the exact same spot each day. It becomes a strong habit that helps me never lose my keys again.
The point here is: to make habits using routines to help push you through the unmotivated times. Creative people are well-known for using this technique successfully. For example, professional translators may sit down at a computer with their favorite cup of chocolate milk while others write in a gratitude journal.
Motivation comes from action, and building habits will continuously keep you moving forward through specific actions. Start with small steps and build from there. You need to establish routines that build you towards what you’re reaching for. Putting too much pressure or expectation on yourself at once is simply setting yourself up for failure as people do with New Year’s resolutions.
Some people may enjoy multitasking, but some people know that multitasking is not a good thing. The more you try to do everything at once, the less progress you’re able to make with tasks you’re juggling. Whether it be social media, chat, emails, or cute dog videos – they all help to distract us throughout the day.
I feel unmotivated when I’m unable to make much progress with work because I was interrupted every few minutes. It’s almost impossible to make solid progress with something. Most of these tools become a procrastination crutch because it’s easier to mindlessly scroll when we’re not motivated to work.
Use time blockers tools to help you avoid those distractions so that you can concentrate on what you want and need to do. Set a timer for 25-30 minutes and work on only a single task during this time. Then, take a 5-minute break to allow your mind to recharge. Repeat the process. By working in short and highly focused shots, you make meaningful progress on your most important tasks.
Realize that there’s an up and down
Motivation is not always there for you. It comes and goes, but while it may go away, it doesn’t do so permanently. It will come back, so just stick out and wait for that motivation to come back. In the meantime, read about your goal, ask for help, and do some of the other things here until your motivation comes back.
Visualize the long-term outcomes
Motivation usually comes back quickly when you think about the bigger picture. What is it you’re working towards? How will you feel once you’re there? Sometimes that’s all you need to break through and start moving forward again.
One of my goals is to travel in 2023. Therefore, I start saving from my weekly budget. Whenever I feel unmotivated in work or life, I ask myself what it is I really desire and what the larger picture is. Maybe you want to write a book that will open up amazing career opportunities, maybe your reason why is financial, or maybe you want to learn about coding so you can design your own websites. Having a solid and strong reason for why you’re doing something is a powerful motivating force.
Think about the benefits and the positive thoughts
Cooking is fun, but thinking that you need to clean the mess after it makes you tired. We tend to think about how hard something is, instead of thinking about what we will get out of it. For example, instead of thinking about cleaning up the mess, focus on how delish your food would be when you’re done, and how you’ll enjoy them with your loved ones, family, or friends.
Along with these, it’s also important to start monitoring your thoughts. Just spend a few days becoming aware of every negative thought. Then, after a few days, try to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. “I can’t finish two posts in a day!” and replace it with, “I don’t have to write a very long post, two posts with less than 1,000 words will work!” It may sound corny, but it works.
When you focus on the good instead of the bad, you will help yourself be more motivated to move forward. Remember, whatever you think about yourself is true, so try to get in the habit of reminding yourself of what you’re good at and what you do well.
Balance your work and personal life
No matter how important your work schedule is for your best times of the day, it’s also important to take time for yourself. Having a balance between your work and personal life is an important strategy against feeling unmotivated.
As I mentioned before, when you try to continuously get everything done at once, you risk depression, stress, and severe burnout. Your mind, soul, and body need regular breaks. So, take time to enjoy a hobby, watch movies, and have fun daily. Take care of your health and remember to eat. When you’re happy and feeling well physically, it affects your emotional and mental state.
Have you been feeling unmotivated lately? What things do you do the get your motivation back? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!