Have you ever noticed motivation can be challenging to muster when you need it the most? Do you ever find yourself dragging to finish projects at work, knocking out your to-do list, or crawling out of bed?
If so, you may need creativity to regain your internal motivation.
You may ask yourself: How can I gather the energy or inspiration to raise my motivation levels if my motivational levels are already so low?
Is there a way to increase your motivation so you have even more than usual? The short answer is: Ah, yeah!
Finding the easiest way to do something is human nature. It is called taking the path of least resistance. It is your body’s innate response to hitting the snooze button or watching another episode of your favorite TV show.
According to science, however, it is possible to increase your motivation.
Motivation is like a muscle that you need to exercise to strengthen.
To increase your motivational levels, think about your motivation like you would the muscles in your body.
If you want to become stronger, you develop a workout routine that involves different exercises to achieve your desired results. You wouldn’t join the local gym and immediately try to lift the heaviest barbells. If so, you will struggle because you haven’t yet conditioned your muscles to handle that heavy load.
Think of motivation the same way. If the prospect of magically gaining tons of inspiration seems as farfetched as lifting that massive barbell on your first try, it’s because it is. Rather than pressuring yourself to be instantly super-motivated (otherwise known as hype), test new motivational techniques in small steps.
Over time, these small steps will lead toward an overall sustainable increased level of motivation. You’ll see lasting results when you approach building motivation, like exercising and strengthening muscles. Much like how many trips to the gym will lead to muscle increase, many small attempts at building motivation will increase motivation!
Sound good? Okay, let’s keep going.
What Causes the Dip in Motivational Levels
Occasional dips in motivation are natural. If you were “on” 24/7, your motivation would suddenly vanish, and you could get burnt out. Excellent, good, okay, and bad days for your motivation are standard. That is, some days are different because we are human.
However, there are some specific causes for motivational levels to remain overly low or, in some cases, nonexistent. Here are some examples that can cause motivation to be fleeting:
- Past Trauma:
If you’re burdened by trauma (especially unresolved trauma that hasn’t been explored or discussed with a mental health professional), your motivational levels can feel nonexistent. Trauma responses cause people to lose focus, energy, and desire, which dampens motivation.
2. Stress and Anxiety:
A typical response to feeling overwhelmed by stress or anxiety is to shut down completely. Rather than tackling your to-do list or devising a system to handle what’s causing you to worry, you may experience total disconnection or disinterest. As a method to manage your anxious feelings, your motivation disappears, and you don’t accomplish anything.
3. Poor Sleep:
When your body isn’t getting the proper rest to function correctly, your motivation feels completely drained. Your body requires consistent sleep to repair and prepare for the next day. If not, your body cannot heal and relax; you can lose motivation quickly.
Your motivation can disappear if you’re suffering from insecurities. For example, if you feel insecure about your appearance, you may lose motivation to dress nicely or do something to make yourself feel better about your appearance. Often, insecurities plant negative thoughts in a person’s mind, such as “Why bother,” leading their motivation to plummet.
5. A Negative Environment:
Often, we underestimate the power of our environment. If you spend too much time with toxic people or in a hostile, unpleasant environment, those “bad vibes” rub off on you! Unfortunately, spending too much time in negative spaces can zap your store of motivation and energy. Finding a reason to do anything is tough when everything around you feels bleak or miserable.
6. Feeling Lost or Stuck:
It is common to lose motivation when you need direction in life. This concept makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Knowing where you’re going or how to get there can be overwhelming if you don’t have a road map to guide your journey. When you’re feeling lost about what you want to do or your purpose, your motivation can feel zapped since there is no specific direction.
7. Lack of Control Over Yourself:
When you lose control over yourself, your motivation plummets. For example, suppose you aren’t exercising, eating nutritious foods, setting your boundaries, keeping your schedule organized, attending medical check-ups, and doing other activities needed to keep yourself balanced. You can feel like you’re losing control over yourself. When you feel like you can’t keep your business organized, you can lose motivation to try doing anything else outside of yourself.
If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios, help is coming!
You Can You Strengthen Your “Motivation Muscles”
There are a variety of methods you can use to begin strengthening and increasing your motivation. Like an actual workout or fitness regimen, improving your motivation is unique to your preferences and needs. It may take some time to determine which strategies work best for you.
To get started, consider the following options:
- Implement more routines throughout your day.
It’s tough to feel motivated if you also feel overwhelmed. If your days feel unstructured and chaotic, try implementing some routines to make life more predictable. When you get accustomed to some basic daily routines, you’ll feel less scattered and have more energy to channel into motivation.
2. Identify role models and observe their habits.
A great way to inspire more motivation within yourself is to learn more about how your role models get work done. Take note of how people you admire like to work. What motivates them? How do they push through tough times when they don’t feel inspired to keep going? Picking up tips and tricks from role models is a great way to boost your motivation.
3. Create a personal mantra.
A mantra, a short statement reinforcing a belief in yourself, is an excellent way to stoke the fires of motivation. Mantras can be unique to your specific needs or situation; you can borrow one for inspiration. Make it a habit to repeat your chosen mantra to yourself regularly–the more frequently you repeat it, the more you will believe it! If you need some ideas to borrow for mantras, consider the following:
- I can handle this situation.
- I am strong enough to get the job done.
- I can do anything I put my mind to.
- I’ve done this before, and I can do it again.
- This activity will get me closer to my goal.
4. Make yourself accountable by sharing your goal with someone you admire.
It can be easy to lose motivation when you feel alone. If your motivation is low, increase it by sharing your goals with your trust and admire.
When you share your progress and growth with others, accountability can raise your motivational levels and keep you going. It’s easy to slack off when trying to do something alone, but when you share your aspirations with others, you immediately feel more positive pressure to stay motivated.
5. Break up big tasks into smaller, more manageable ones.
If a task feels too big, it’s easy to lose motivation to start instantly. If the amount of work that needs to get done drains your motivation, restore it by breaking up these more significant tasks into smaller ones.
Rather than approaching any task with an “all or nothing” mindset, permit yourself to handle it in small parts. For example, if cleaning your whole home feels overwhelming, try cleaning one task at a time. After you sweep the floors, allow yourself a short break. Next, unload the dishwasher and take another small break afterward. The house is still getting cleaned, and your motivation will likely remain intact.
6. Trade out your negativity for more positivity.
Motivation can plummet when you approach life with a “glass half empty” attitude. Finding the motivation to do anything can be challenging if you acknowledge something positive or worthwhile about your life. If everything feels so negative, there’s no point trying to do anything.
Learning to trade a negative attitude for a more positive one is crucial in building motivation. Learn to stop negative thoughts in their tracks and replace them with more positive (and more factual) positive self-talk. For example, consider this example of trading negativity for positivity:
Original negative thought: I probably won’t be good at that; therefore, I won’t try.
Replacement positive thought: I don’t know if I’m not good at that unless I try. I can always practice and get better.
7. Create some visual representations of your dreams and goals.
Feeling motivated to accomplish something is easier when you know what you want. Consider visualizing your goals to make them more concrete and easier to visualize.
You can keep a written list of your dreams. You can also create vision or mood boards, which are collections of images that represent what you want to accomplish. With these visual reminders, it’s easier to picture what you want for yourself, which helps increase your motivation.
Finding motivation and increasing your motivational levels when needed requires time and patience. For best results, try motivation-boosting exercises and methods using baby steps.
As you incorporate small moments of motivation-boosting habits throughout your day, your motivational levels will increase. Always remember to celebrate your progress along the way!
Be well + prosper,
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