Whether you can’t get motivated to lose weight or clean your house, lacking motivation can be one of the most significant obstacles to reaching your goals. When you aren’t inspired to finish or start a task, think about why you’re struggling. Then, create a plan to help motivate yourself to get the ball rolling. Remember not every strategy works for everyone or in every situation. Perform behavioral experiments to see what systems best help you reach your goals.

Causes of lacking motivation.

Sometimes, lacking motivation can be the problem, but at other times, it’s the symptom of a more significant issue. For example, if you’re a perfectionist, your lack of motivation may come from fearing you won’t flawlessly finish a task. Your motivation won’t likely increase until you address your need for perfection.

At other times, your lack of motivation may make you procrastinate; the more you procrastinate, the less motivation you feel. In this case, improving your inspiration to get work done can help you feel and perform better. So it’s essential to take some time and consider why you have trouble motivating yourself. Another reason for lacking motivation is avoidance of discomfort. Whether you want to avoid feeling bored when doing an ordinary task or avoiding frustration, sometimes a lack of motivation comes from wanting to avoid uncomfortable feelings.

Self-doubt can be another reason for lacking motivation. You’ll likely struggle to start when you don’t think you can do something or convince yourself that you can’t handle the stress associated with specific tasks. Over-extension can also cause you to lack motivation. You’ll likely feel overwhelmed when you have a lot going on in life, and this feeling can drain your motivation.

These are only a few reasons why people typically lack motivation. You might find that your lack of inspiration stems from other causes, like fearing people’s thoughts or wanting to please everyone. So think carefully about the underlying feelings and thoughts affecting your drive. Here are some strategies that you help when you’re lacking motivation.

Act like you’re motivated.

You might be able to trick yourself into feeling motivated by changing your mindset and behavior. If you act like you feel motivated, your actions might change your emotions. For example, instead of sitting on the sofa in your pajamas all day waiting for motivation to hit, get dressed and move around. You might find that taking action will increase your inspiration, making it easier to keep going.

Argue the opposite.

If you’re struggling with motivation, you’ll likely create a long list of reasons why you shouldn’t act. You may think that you’ll never get it done, or it may be too hard, but these thoughts will keep you stuck. Instead, try arguing the opposite. When you think you will fail, discuss why you might succeed. When you think you can’t finish a task, write the evidence showing you can complete the job. Arguing the opposite can help you see both sides of the spectrum and remind you that an overly pessimistic result isn’t accurate. There’s a chance that things will work out better than you expected, and you might find that creating a balanced outlook will help you feel motivated to try.

Practice self-compassion.

You may believe being hard on yourself is the key to motivation. However, harsh self-criticism typically doesn’t work. Research shows that self-compassion is more motivating, especially when struggling with hardship. A study by researchers at the University of California found that self-compassion increases motivation to bounce back from failure. After failing a test, students spent more time studying when they spoke kindly to themselves. Additionally, they reported more motivation to change their weaknesses when they practiced self-acceptance, a crucial component of self-compassion.

Self-compassion can also enhance mental health, which can increase motivation. A study published in Clinical Psychology Review found that self-compassion decreases psychological distress, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, and reduces the harmful effects of stress. So, create a kinder inner dialogue instead of beating yourself up for mistakes or calling yourself names. However, this doesn’t mean you must repeat exaggerated positive affirmations, but some affirmations may help.

Talk to yourself like a trusted friend, asking what you would tell a friend with this problem. You’d probably be much kinder to someone else than you are to yourself. So start treating yourself like an old friend. Additionally, helpfully coach yourself and practice using self-talk to inspire you to help you recover from setbacks.

Practice the 10-minute rule.

You’ll lack motivation when you dread a task, like walking on the treadmill. However, you can reduce your dreadful feelings by proving to yourself that the job isn’t as bad as you think or that you can get through it better than you think. The 10-minute rule can help get the ball rolling. Allow yourself to quit a task after 10 minutes. When you reach the 10-minute spot, ask yourself if you want to keep going or stop. You may find that you have enough motivation to keep going.

So whether you lack the inspiration to start working on a mundane report or can’t seem to peel yourself off the sofa to start a to-do list, using the 10-minute rule can help motivate you to jump into action. Getting started on a job is usually the most challenging part. However, it’s much easier to keep going once you get going.

Reward yourself.

Create a minor reward for yourself that you can earn for your hard work. Focusing on the prize can help you stay motivated to reach your goal. For example, if you have a long paper to write, you might tackle it differently. You could write 500 words then take a break, eat one piece of candy after working for 30 minutes, or work for 20 minutes, then spend five minutes checking social media. Consider whether you’ll be more motivated by smaller, frequent rewards or more significant rewards for a finished task. You may want to experiment with strategies until you find an approach that works for you.

Everyone struggles with motivation issues from time to time. However, how you respond to your lack of motivation matters. Experiment with strategies to build your motivation, be kind to yourself, and ask for help if needed.

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