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Lack motivation? How to get motivated

You can't get yourself to do things. You lack the motivation. How do you overcome laziness and complete a task? The answer lies in becoming motivated. How? Well, use these simple tricks to get you in the right frame of mind to do the things that you planned.

At the start of each day, you probably find yourself all revved up, raring to go, determined to make it one of your most productive days. But, then an inexplicable glitch occurs when you find your high-spirits fizzle away. You feel lacklustre, with absolutely no motivation to work on your earlier determination. You just slow down, for no reason and your to-do list goes on the backburner.

There can be many reasons why this happens. You might not have had a good sleep, the night before and your brain could still be fuzzy to focus. You might still be reeling under the hangover from your exhilarating shopping trip to Dubai and find that your to-do list is way too long, and you have no idea on how to begin clearing the backlog.

But don't get stressed, you're not alone. This is a common (read very common) scenario, but there is hope. You can work your way around all the lassitude that kicks in. I outline seven reasons that are most likely to make you sluggish and not wanting to do what you had set out to do. I also provide solutions, to help you get over that sluggishness and turn things around. Read on –

What is motivation

Motivation has three elements –

  • Activation
  • Intensity
  • Perseverance

Activation happens when you decide to do something. It is the trigger for motivation, which sets the ball rolling. Intensity is the energy and the effort that is put into the activity and perseverance is the resolve and the single-mindedness with which you work to complete the task. All three elements are essential for a goal to be achieved.

Types of motivation

There are two types of motivation –

  • Intrinsic motivation
  • Extrinsic motivation

Intrinsic motivation

This is the motivation that comes from within – an individual feels motivated to do something. The drive to do something is strong and it arises from inside a person. When you run a marathon because you want to, the motivation comes from within, it's intrinsic.

When you are intrinsically motivated you find it easier to stay focused on your goals. You concentrate more easily, regardless of the incentive. But, such motivation is often subject to your frame of mind and mood.

Extrinsic motivation

The source of such motivation is an outside force. You get motivated because there are rewards. These can be financial gains or just praise and recognition. It is the outside factors that act as a motivation.

Things that hold you back from being motivated

Many factors can prevent you from becoming motivated. These factors hold you back and are really detrimental. However, there are ways to overcome the most difficult hurdles. The following section discusses the obstacles that you are likely to face and how best to go past them.

Fear of failure

You are afraid of failure and this prevents you from taking that initial step, of starting an activity. It is fear of failure that keeps you from becoming motivated.

What's the fix for the fear

Fear is in the mind, at the end of the day, it is all about perception, of how you view things. What you can do to fight your fears is to list out all possible results, together with the worst-case consequences. Next study the worst outcome, if you were to fail, would it really be as bad as you perceive it in your mind?

Next, imagine what would happen if you don't take the challenge. Look at all the negative outcomes of what would happen when you don't start a task. Weigh all the pros and cons and that should give you the thrust you need to get motivated.

It's an unexciting task

Lack of interest often results in us not undertaking tasks. You would rather watch a game of soccer on television than feel motivated to do something that is dull and boring.

How do you get down to doing tiresome, lacklustre tasks

Focus on the job; understand what you need to do, instead of how mundane or tedious it is. Don't think of the time and effort spent on it as a waste. Think of it as something that you need to finish. This approach gets you motivated and the time goes by quickly.

If it's going to take days to complete, it helps to chart your progress. Setting small, achievable targets also helps. When you can see how much of the task you have completed and how much more there is to go, you'll feel motivated at getting it done.

You don't feel like it

If laziness gets hold of you, nothing can get you to do anything. Stop being a sloth, and get organised.

Tricks to fight laziness

Determine a time when you feel most energetic. This is the time you'd be most productive. Are you a morning person or do you at your most peppy best after lunch? Plan your activities around this time of the day. Schedule chores that you've been ignoring and you'll definitely get down to doing them.

You just need to begin, once you've put your mind to it, the task at hand becomes accomplishable.

You're plagued by fatigue and lethargy

Well, if you're too exhausted to keep awake, then it's probably impossible to stay motivated.

How do stay energised

If your energy levels at a low, you might be dealing with stress. Try a holistic approach to overcome stress. Exercise can release feel-good hormones that lower stress levels and the right foods can fight stress too. Meditation has a similar effect, as it soothes stressed nerves and brings about an inner calm, which is invigorating.

Also, work on your diet plan, see that you eat a variety of healthy foods. Get enough sleep, for the mind and the body needs rest. Avoid skipping meals and avoid late nights. Listen to your body, chronic tiredness is a sign that all's not well. Make an appointment with your general physician, if you still feel tired despite doing everything right.

Waiting for the light-bulb moment

You perhaps find yourself in a dilemma, not knowing where to begin. This kind of 'decision fatigue' is common, you're not alone. How you function during the day is inversely connected to your mental energy.

How to get started

Getting started is easily the most difficult part, so how do you get yourself to start. The way to work around this predicament is to know what needs to be done, from the get-go. If you can do that, you'll make a good start.

Build a to-do list and include not just things that need to be accomplished, but also decisions that you'll be required to make. This simple trick will help you prioritise your jobs and you'll be better equipped to utilise all of your resources.

You've got other things to do

You might have an excuse that there is already a lot on your plate and that you do not have the time or the energy to take on a new project. It would be asking too much of you.

Reschedule your calendar

You basically lack time, because you have other things lined up. Understandable; but if you have to do a job, you will have to do away with avoidable obligations. Keep in mind that each time you commit to something you also have to invest a lot into it. Learn to say 'no' to people and to things that are unnecessary. Instead, focus on the essential things in life.

It doesn't make sense

You're in the middle of a task when you suddenly begin questioning its worthiness. You wonder why you are doing it. This is called a mid-task crisis and can be very annoying for it can lead to you leaving things half done.

Know your goals before you begin

Before you begin a task, know exactly what you'll be doing and why. Even if the task is tiresome and unpleasant, accept, that it is something that needs to be done. Look at the bright side, of how completing the task, will bring you success. How just a little effort could change your future.

Final bit of advice

All the tricks mentioned above require self-discipline and resolve. These traits are like muscle – the more they are exercised, the better they work for you. So, go on, make these changes, put your self-will and determination to the test. You'll be ready for any test, once you're equipped with the right tools. It is easy to become motivated, you just need to bring yourself in the right frame of mind.

Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 609 articles authored by Juana

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Author: Neelam08 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0

I am fond of watching motivational videos and they do have an impact on me but it is always for short term like for few hours or for few days and I during this period I do my work very enthusiastically, but after this motivation began to fade away my enthusiasm began to fade away.
I read this article and I find this motivational but I know that its impact is gone remain for few hours only.
What should I do stay intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsic for a long duration?

Author: Natarajan08 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Excellent article, everyone needs motivation at some time or the other and usually are embarrassed to ask others. To me, the best motivation is to be able to put breakfast/food on the table for the family day after day. This is followed by the desire to ensure that my children have a good education and a decent start in their lives. I'm not sure what you would class these two as. Lastly, when we were being let down by the people whom we trust or when we are the laughing stock for some people around us, the intense desire to prove them wrong is an excellent motivator.

Author: DR.N.V. Srinivasa Rao08 Nov 2017 Member Level: Platinum   Points : 4

A very nice article from the author. The importance of motivation in life and how to get motivated by ourselves has been very clearly narrated. I appreciate the way in which the article was presented.
For a man, the thought that he has to get food for his family itself acts a motivation for the head of the family. The desire to give best comforts for his wards itself is a motivation to the parents. After a day's struggle when your hard work, by a word of appreciation from your family members, the happiness you get itself will be a good motivation factor for you to struggle in your life. That appreciation by the family will motivate you to get up next day morning and start your struggle for the day.

Author: Juana09 Nov 2017 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 8


I quite understand where this is coming from. There could be plenty of reasons for this. But, let's analyse the most common one.

No reinforcement:

You eat every day, at least three meals a day. Motivation is similar to eating; you need to keep reinforcing the motivation, to remain motivated. What this means is, finding ways to stay motivated. You could do this by watching more motivational videos or reading write-ups, but these would be like fast food, they'll give you energy for a while but will not sustain you in the long run.

The key here is that the motivation must come from within. However, this is not going to happen on its own. You'll need to trick yourself into remaining motivated. Try the following tips –

1. Do not push yourself to do too much. Keep small targets
2. In your most motivated moment, take a break from all that you are doing and step back and see all that you achieved. Applaud your work, praise yourself and feel good about your achievements. Doing so releases feel-good hormones that should keep you motivated
3. Do an analysis in your head of the things you achieved, and what more is left to achieve. Next, set yourself an achievable target, telling yourself that you can do it. And get down to doing it. Make sure the targets are doable
4. Also, determine how you are going to celebrate the completion of the target. Give yourself little treats at the end of every task completed. The treats needn't involve money. They can be something that triggers a good feeling. If you have cleaned your room, for instance, call your friends over or post images of it, on your Instagram.

5. If it's to do academic goals then, set small goals and gradually increase your study time. Take breaks in-between. Keep yourself hydrated and nourished and walk around for at least 10 minutes, every hour. Also, do some stretches. Think of the topics you have covered and how many more left to do. Tell yourself that you will complete the job at hand, without getting distracted

Remember these golden rules -

• Always appraise and praise your work
• Set achievable targets
• Believe in yourself
• Take breaks from what you are doing, to re-energize
• Celebrate completion of goals

Hope this helps!

Author: Neelam12 Nov 2017 Member Level: Gold   Points : 0


Yes, these all points you mentioned are really helpful. I will try to implement in my life and try to see if it changes things for me. Though all this advice does work for the short term, I will try to make them work for me for the long run and, yes, this answer of yours better elaborates the answers I was seeking so really thank you for replying to my query.

Author: Juana05 Feb 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4


Most of us don't recognise the motivations in our lives. Like you, there'd be many who take on the challenges of life, so they can provide for their families. That is what pushes them, to keep going.

The best motivation is one that comes from within. In your case, it is the desire to be able to provide the best to your children or to prove your detractors wrong.

Doing things to prove someone else wrong, brings in negativism. We may accomplish our goals, but in doing so we are constantly badgered with thoughts of the cynics. The pleasure we receive is a sweet revenge. It overshadows the accomplishment, shifting the focus on ‘I proved them wrong'.

Author: Swati Sarnobat14 Feb 2019 Member Level: Gold   Points : 2

To be motivated in life, people should first have a positive attitude in mind and a strong will to commit. They should begin to like work and find pleasure in working. Instead of enjoying with money, they should enjoy their work. They should accept every difficulty as a challenge and learn to find a solution to every problem that they encounter.

Author: Sanjeev Gupta20 Feb 2019 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 3

Motivation is very essential in life. When we are not motivated we may not be able to complete our work in the desired pace/quality as per the standards.

As I work in a manufacturing unit, I know how important motivation is for a person who is actually performing the task. We daily see the effect of motivation on a worker. Just for some, counseling is a sort of motivation and just by doing that we see a lot of difference in his work. Then there are others for whom a reward is a motivational factor. But it's true that everyone requires something in life to be motivated.

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