It’s a problem we all face: lost motivation. If you’ve been feeling a bit sluggish or lost when it comes to your motivations and passions, you aren’t alone. Of course, things become even more complicated when we look at the different types of motivation, and how those affect different areas of our lives.
However, I think I have it narrowed down to three areas where we feel the most regular dips in motivation – “general” motivation, fitness motivation, and creative motivation – and I’ve offered a few ways to help bring it back.
Regaining “General” Motivation
I don’t think any of us are strangers to the feeling of lost motivation, especially since the beginning of the pandemic. It’s incredibly difficult to get much done when every day is spent in the same place, doing the same thing. Without the feeling of movement and energy, our lives – and our work – begin to feel stagnant and unexciting.
Lucky for us, there are a few ways to combat it.
Let’s talk about morning routines. I’m sure you’ve seen a million online videos touting an hours-long morning routine of working out and skincare and making a homemade acai bowl and reading and doing a million other things. Or, you’ve heard that getting up at 5am is the only way to build the life you want.
I’m going to propose something a little simpler. Studies have shown that scrolling through social media can increase feelings of anxiety and depression. If you’re beginning your day with those feelings, you truly aren’t setting yourself up for success. Instead, a five-minute journal session and a five-minute meditation allow you to center yourself on your goals and your dreams – instead of the lives of other people – preparing you for a productive day.
When you get through a block of work or finish a project…it’s okay to reward yourself! Pick something that truly feels like a reward: that item you’ve really wanted to buy (even if you don’t necessarily need it) or a few minutes to watch something that makes you laugh. These little boosts and moments of refreshment will work wonders.
Talk it Out
Lack of motivation is often paired with abundant isolation. We’re social creatures that love to bounce ideas off one another and share our dreams. Unfortunately, in our work-centered world, taking time to chat with a friend can feel like a “waste of time” in terms of productivity. But I think we’ve got the entirely wrong idea.
Spending time with the people we love and putting in effort to build and strengthen our relationships reminds us of the best things in life, as well as what we love. So, schedule that FaceTime with your BFF. The mood boost that comes with spending time with your people is the absolute best thing in the world.
My best, most honest advice to people who have lost motivation on their fitness journey is to try to focus less on the weight you want to lose or the goals you want to see and instead focus on finding a type of movement you actually wantto do – something that makes you excited to get your body movin’.
I know this is easier said than done, especially if you’re trying to find fitness results in a limited amount of time. But even if you end up lessening the intensity of your movement, that’s much better than dragging yourself through a workout, or deciding to check out on the couch instead.
So, I want to challenge you to choose something different…and I mean really different. Have you always done HIIT workouts and circuit training? Try ballet. (There are tons of YouTube classes online if you’re uncomfortable trying in public.) Are you a dedicated yogi in need of a change? Give kickboxing a go or try your hand at some light-weight lifting. Burnt-out runner? Go for a swim instead or pull out the ol’ soccer ball.
When I truly feel like I’ve lost all workout-related motivation, I just go for really long walks. Turn on an audiobook, a favorite playlist, or listen to a funny podcast. This one’s especially helpful for me when I fall into a super binge-able show and want to do nothing but watch. I’ll set my phone up on a treadmill and the time just flies by. I find that if I can remain active even when I don’t feel like sticking to a plan, I can get out of a low-energy rut much faster.
Motivation For Art and Creativity
So many of us want to write a book or make beautiful art or do something in the creative realm…but we just can’t seem to set aside the time or find the motivation to do it.
I want to argue a point with you here.
You’re not lacking motivation. You’re lacking inspiration.
When it comes to art, that piece inside you that wants to create something to share with the world – that motivation – doesn’t go away. You always want to do that. You’ve maybe even wanted to do that thing for years, or even decades. But, when it comes down to it, you might have a hard time wanting to work on it right now. (That’s the lack of inspiration.)
So, what do you do?
You put your butt in the chair. Literally. It’s a principle most often seen in writing that’s actually called “butt in chair” time.
True inspiration – that hunger to work on your creative project right now– is really rare. And if we wait around for it, we’ll move at a super-slow pace and never get anything done.
BUT, if you can just put your butt in the chair for ten, twenty, thirty minutes a day? And just start working for a bit…that’s when the inspiration comes! I once heard it described as “you can’t expect the water to run if the tap is not turned on first.” Sitting down and simply beginning is turning on the tap. Once you do that, the inspiration (water) will start coming to you MUCH more easily.
Sometimes, a lack of motivation is more than just a limited-time feeling. Sometimes, depression, anxiety, and other areas of mental health can lead to feeling a lack of motivation.
If you’re feeling a little more down-in-the-dumps than usual, or your lack of motivation seems never-ending, it might be time to reach out for some help from a mental health professional. Getting back on the path to wellness is the best way to ensure that you’re able to not only reach your goals, but also enjoy yourself on the way there. You’ve got this.