Motivation isn’t coming? What is motivation in the first place? In the field of psychology, motivation is defined as “what causes you to act”. It can be any type of action. For instance, you check who’s at the door because you hear the doorbell ringing. You get a drink because you are feeling thirsty. And you are motivated to get a job, sell something, or even ask for money because you need it. In each of these cases, you are compelled to take an action because of a physical, emotional, social, or situational need.
Motivation can also be thought of as a process. It can help you go beyond that initial starting point. We especially need motivation in more complex goals that require a longer period of time to accomplish, such as getting a college degree or cleaning out the garage. It helps us to move through the steps and sustain our abilities until we reach the final goal. Motivation is the driving force behind human actions.
Let’s take it a little further. The motivation to get started is great. But is it enough to see you through? The path to achieving a goal may be full of twists, turns, setbacks, and obstacles. Sometimes they are outside of us and oftentimes they are internal. We need the ability to persist and continue working towards that original goal, even when we are faced with difficulties.
There are 3 parts to the motivation equation: activation, persistence, and intensity.
Activation happens when we are getting started. For example, we might gather supplies, some music, and some friends before we start cleaning the garage.
Persistence occurs when we keep going, even though obstacles may come up. We stick with the task of cleaning the garage even when the day is getting hotter and our friends don’t show up.
Intensity shows up in concentration and effort. Only a few people came to help clean? We each work harder to get the job done.
What are some motivation blockers?
Expecting a quick fix. We sometimes feel surprised with how hard it can be to stick with a particular task. To address this, we must prepare for the task and adjust our expectations.
All-or-nothing thinking. It’s easy to feel unmotivated if you can’t fix something immediately or if you can’t have it all at once. Reaching big goals takes time.
Using the same strategy on repeat. Just because an approach or method worked for someone else does not mean that it will work for you. It’s important to match your strengths to the tasks that are hard for you. This is where a professional can help you with an objective look.
Avoidance of discomfort. Sometimes, a lack of motivation stems from a powerful urge to avoid. This may happen when you don’t want to feel bored or you are trying to avoid feeling frustrated or irritated.
Self-doubt. It’s surprisingly easy to convince yourself that you can’t do something. Here’s another place where a supportive professional or a supportive network of people in your life can help.
Being over-extended. Feeling overwhelmed with all the demands in your life can drain your energy and motivation.
Lack of commitment to a goal. A goal is usually tossed aside if it is pushed on you or it is something you “should do” but don’t really want to. Remember your New Year’s resolutions from 2020? 2021? 2022?
Mental health issues. Anxiety, depression, stress, and other factors all impact levels of motivation. It’s important to get those feelings evaluated thoroughly.
What are some things that feed motivation?
Things to do when motivation isn’t coming
Sometimes, motivation needs a new definition. It can be the result of an action or completing a task for some people and situations. Hence, motivation may not be what gets you started! You may just be waiting in vain for the day that motivation arrives. Instead, here are few things that can help you get started when motivation isn’t coming, especially if what you are doing is not something you really want to do or that you don’t see any obvious or immediate value in doing.
Set realistic expectations and goals (example: take out all the garbage in the garage if cleaning the whole thing is too ambitious).
Self-compassion can look like a can-do attitude, a positive intention to try, and accepting what you accomplish.
Rewards: fun and free time after you finish the job, satisfaction, or a tangible treat all count.
Managing your feelings before you start and as you work through the tasks are very important. Emotions play a major role in your motivation level. Negative feelings will affect your ability to tackle a tough or tedious task.
Pair a Dreaded Task With Something You Enjoy. It can boost your mood and help you do something you’re not motivated to do.
At Thrive Collective, Dr. Terry and Dr. Menon hear about issues with motivation in most sessions. We are very experienced with using effective strategies and help you be accountable for setting and meeting your goals. We can help you develop a roadmap to reach any type of goal and techniques on overcoming slumps when motivation isn’t coming. Book your free consultation now.