You don’t want anything. You don’t want to work, don’t want to play sports, don’t want to study, don’t want to get up in the morning. You lack motivation for everything.
As a result, instead of accomplishing your tasks, you procrastinate. You hang around on your phone, you spend hours on YouTube, you watch series on Netflix, in short, you put off your tasks as long as possible.
Only you know you can’t put them off forever. Sooner or later you will have to muster up your courage and get started. So how do you overcome your lack of motivation and take action?
In this article you will understand why you lack motivation and how to re-motivate yourself with 3 techniques.
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The causes of lack of motivation
The first cause of lack of motivation is fatigue and overwork. When you are tired, you have less energy to act and therefore less motivation.
When you sleep badly at night, for example, you then find it much more difficult to motivate yourself to do things the next day. That’s because when you’re sleep deprived, the amygdala, which is the part of your body that processes emotions, is up to 60% more active. Consequence: instead of feeling full of enthusiasm, energy and motivation, you feel lethargic and in a bad mood.
The nature of the task
Another common cause of lack of motivation relates to the nature of the task you need to accomplish. If you have to work on something boring, difficult or daunting, you will have a very hard time motivating yourself to do it.
Personally, I hate doing my accounting and taking care of administrative tasks. And I admit that I sometimes have a hard time getting started. But I will explain to you in a few moments how I manage to overcome this blockage.
Lack of motivation can also come from being overworked. When you are drowned in your tasks and you do not see the end, you tend to feel unmotivated and helpless. Because you tell yourself that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to get out of it. It is as if an insurmountable mountain is standing in front of you. So you end up losing motivation.
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The lack of challenge
Finally, the lack of challenge can also lead to a lack of motivation. To be motivated, you need a source of motivation. Something stimulating that you want to strive for. It can be a goal, a vision, a project, a challenge, in short, something that gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Without this element in your life, your days will be less exciting and motivating.
Now that you know the main sources of lack of motivation, how do you explain that it is so difficult to motivate yourself?
Why is it so hard to get motivated?
Have you noticed how difficult it is sometimes to get motivated? You know you have to do something, but you just can’t get started. It’s as if an invisible force is holding you back.
To understand why you have such a hard time taking action, you have to take a look at physics and look at Newton’s law. This is what she says:
An object at rest tends to stay at rest while an object in motion tends to stay in motion. Only an external force can change its state.
Imagine a stationary rock above a hill. As long as you don’t move it, it will stay still. But all you have to do is push it hard enough (external force) for it to start moving and then roll down the slope on its own. All he needs is a little nudge to get moving.
It’s the same thing for motivation. When you lack motivation, you are the still rock above the hill. You do not want to move, work, study or play sports. And as long as you do nothing, you will remain demotivated.
To get moving and accomplish the tasks you procrastinate on, you need a push to take action. Because once you start moving, it will be much easier to keep moving.
Moreover, you have certainly already noticed it after having accomplished a task that you had to do for a long time, you feel like a surge of motivation which pushes you to do another one, then another one. When you are in this dynamic, you are the rock rolling down the slope.
Now the whole question is how to go from a “still state” to a “motion state”? In other words, how do you stop procrastinating and take action?
3 techniques to overcome lack of motivation
The 3 techniques that you will discover here are based on the following counter-intuitive idea:
To motivate yourself, you must first take action, because it is by taking action that you will find motivation and not the other way around.
It is generally believed that in order to act, one must first be motivated. Only if you wait to be motivated to act, you will often end up doing nothing. So you have to act first and then find the motivation. The 3 techniques below will help you.
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Make it easy to take action
The first technique consists of making it as easy as possible to take action. That is to say, to make your tasks so simple to perform, that taking action requires almost no effort.
If you have to create a website for a client, for example, break this big project down into small, digestible and easy-to-execute tasks. For example, you could start by writing down all the questions you want to ask your customer to fully understand their needs. You will have less difficulty taking action by seeing written on your to-do list “prepare questions to identify customer needs” rather than “create a website”.
Ditto if you want to start playing sports. To simplify your life as much as possible, sign up for a gym that is located a few minutes walk from your home or, failing that, on your way to work. Also prepare all your sports gear the day before for the next day. By doing this, you will reduce the difficulty in acting and you will be encouraged to do physical activity.
The easier you make it to take action, the more motivated you will feel to act.
The 10 minute technique
The 10 Minute Technique can also help you take action when you lack motivation. It joins the idea that we have just seen, which is to facilitate the transition to action as much as possible.
Here’s how this technique works: When you’re faced with a task you don’t want to do, tell yourself this:
I will work on this task for 10 minutes and if at the end of these 10 minutes I want to stop, then I will.
10 minutes is nothing. It is not very engaging, it requires little effort and investment. And it is precisely because the barrier to entry is low that you are encouraged to act.
What you will notice most of the time is that you will continue to make progress on your task well after 10 minutes. Since you’ll already be committed to it, you’ll want to go all the way. The 10 minutes are therefore used to gain momentum.
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Apply the 5 second rule
In his book, The 5 Second Rule (aff), Mel Robbins explains that the best way to act when you don’t feel like it is to apply the 5 second rule. It’s simple, when you know you have to do something, but you don’t, stop and count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then do it.
If, for example, you know you have to work on a task that puts you off and you procrastinate while hanging out on your phone, put your phone down and count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then do your task.
So why does this technique work?
Because it short-circuits your excuses. Your mind is very good at finding reasons not to do things. “I’m too tired”, “I don’t have time”, “It’s not the right time”. And the longer you wait, the more successful he will be in convincing you not to act. With the 5 second rule, you don’t give him time, because you act before he dissuades you from taking action.
It’s just like when you want to swim and the water is cold. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to immerse your body. To achieve this, you do not have to think. You need to dive in right away before your mind tells you not to.
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We often think that to take action, we must first be motivated, but it is more often the opposite that is true. Motivation is found in action. The whole goal is then to succeed in acting, despite the lack of motivation.
To achieve this, there are 3 techniques that can help you:
- Make it as easy as possible to take action. Make performing your tasks so simple that you are encouraged to do them
- Apply the 10 minute technique. Tell yourself that you are only going to work for 10 minutes and then use this momentum to keep moving forward
- Count 5,4,3,2,1 and take action. Don’t allow your mind to dissuade you from taking action.
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