How To Regain Motivation
While I have been able to learn how to manage my depression and anxiety I still struggle with motivation at times. This time of year is when my depression tends to be the most difficult to manage and I have to work extra hard on self-care and staying motivated. I generally tend to do much better in the summer and then struggle more in the winter. There’s something about spending more time inside and the sun going down early that really seems to zap my energy. I hope this guide about how to regain motivation helps you get going if you’re struggling.
Change Your State
It’s hard to be motivated when you’re in a pissed off or lousy mood. I think it’s important to have tools you can use to raise your mood when you need to. Whenever I’m feeling low energy or in a bad mood I have a dance party until I feel better. If I’m not somewhere I can dance I will put on a playlist of my favorite uplifting songs and listen to it with headphones. In general, it is much easier to get shit done when you are in a good mood. When I am happy I have no problem sitting down to write and getting all my work done. When I’m grumpy or tired everything feels like more of a chore. What can you do right now to raise your vibration and get into a better mood? I actually have made a commitment to only work when I’m in a good mood. This has made me get good at shifting my mood fast. It took some practice and at first, I felt like it was impossible to put myself in a better mood but I found the more I practiced and made it a priority the easier changing my state became.
I used to think that I was too tired to exercise. The truth is, exercise GIVES you energy and if you’re feeling tired and unmotivated you should be doubling down on the exercise not skipping the gym. I know how hard it is to get yourself to the gym when you’re feeling unmotivated but exercise is one of the best ways I know to have more energy. I have a whole podcast episode about the mindset trick I use to get myself to workout every day you can check out on Podbean or iTunes. For me motivation and energy are deeply linked. If I feel tired it is a lot more difficult to get stuff done than if I am energized. If you’re struggling with motivation try making exercising and healthy eating a priority. Personally, I find it easier to exercise seven days a week than trying to go 4 or 5 days a week. That’s because when I got seven days a week my brain doesn’t have any room to negotiate with me or try to talk me out of it.
What will happen if you continue to stay unmotivated? Play out the worst case scenario and really try to get some leverage on the problem. This is something I learned from Tony Robbins book Awaken the Giant Within and I recommend you check it out if you’re struggling with motivation. In the book Tony explains that there are two ways people get motivated. The first is to receive something they think will be pleasurable and the second is to escape something painful. He believes that escaping pain is actually a stronger source of motivation than the desire for pleasure. Get clear on what pain will happen if you continue to stay unmotivated and you never get the things done that you want to get done. What experiences will you miss out on? What achievements will you fail to reach? How will your life feel? You want to play out the worst case scenario and tap into the feeling of not achieving any of your goals or desires in your lifetime. Use that pain to help motivate you when you don’t feel like getting things done.
For me getting started is almost always the hardest part. When I’m struggling with motivation and just can’t seem to get started I will set a timer and just work on the project for 10 or 15 minutes at a time. A lot of time big projects overwhelm me and I feel paralyzed by everything I need to get done. When I set a really easy goal like just doing ten minutes of work I am usually able to at least get started and get a little bit of momentum going. A lot of times we trick ourselves into thinking we need to have hours of time to work on our projects and it keeps us from ever starting. It’s much better to write a book ten minutes at a time than waiting to have a full weekend to sit down and write and never starting. Doing a little bit at a time keeps me from getting overwhelmed and helps me move the needle forward. Making a little bit of progress every day is better than staying stuck and never getting started.
Make a Plan
When I don’t have clear action steps I often struggle to get started and start procrastinating. Breaking things down into smaller action steps helps me feel like I can achieve the goal and motivates me to get started. Last week my house was really messy and I felt really overwhelmed by it. I wrote down everything I needed to do to get the house back in order again onto a list. Once I had my list I divided the items into smaller tasks. Instead of “clean the guest room” I wrote all of the small tasks like “vacuum the guest room” and “make the beds in the guest room”. I did this for all of the rooms in the whole house. Then I got out my planner and scheduled two or three of the small tasks every day. This helped me get motivated because I had clear achievable goals that I knew I could get done. This was much more manageable and realistic for me than just trying to clean the whole house in one big swoop. I suggest using a planner to schedule all the tasks you want to get done each day. Grab my free mental health planner to help you get started.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re consistently struggling to feel motivated you might be depressed. One of my biggest regrets is wasting years of my life trying to manage depression on my own instead of talking to a Doctor. During that time I progressively got worse every week until I could barely function. I suffered from clinical depression for over ten years before I got treatment and during that time I missed out on tons of life experiences and opportunities. Instead of traveling, dating and living my life I was struggling just to function and make it through every day. I was constantly exhausted and my quality of life got lower every year. If you’re struggling with the motivation I encourage you to talk to a Doctor. Once I finally got the help I needed my life turned around and now I am feeling better than ever before. It might not be the answer for everyone but I encourage you to reach out to your Doctor and a therapist to try and get to the bottom of what’s going on. A therapist can help you get to the bottom of what is causing your lack of motivation and help you make a plan to address it.
Spend Time With Positive People
If you’re feeling unmotivated try to spend time with people you know that are killing it. When you’re around motivated people it will help your brain normalize productive behavior. If everyone you know gets up early and works really hard you will think that’s normal. If everyone you are around is negative, unmotivated and not trying to achieve much in there life your brain will normalize that behavior. If you don’t know any motivated people in real life you can spend time with successful people by listening to podcasts or audiobooks. The more positive messaging you put into your brain every day the better. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in my overall mindset since I started listening to positive podcasts every single day. If you’re looking for some good ones to listen to check out my favorite podcasts here. If you don’t have anyone in your real life to talk to come over and join the Radical Transformation Facebook Group. The group has over 2000 women in it who are all on a mental health journey and are very supportive.
Change Your Perspective
The quickest way for me to kill my motivation is to start feeling sorry for myself and throwing an internal pity party. If I focus on everything in my life that is going wrong it cripples me and before I know it I’m ready to give up. If you’re feeling unmotivated try to focus on positive things in your life and everything you have to be thankful for. In general, I find that when I am feeling thankful for everything I have in my life I have way more energy than when I am letting myself think about all the negative crap in my life. The more energy I have the easier it is to be motivated and to get stuff done. Pay attention to what thoughts you are thinking and if they are giving you energy or taking your energy away. Practicing mindfulness was difficult at first but it had a huge impact on my mental health. It took a lot of work but now my internal dialogue is much more positive overall and I find it a lot easier to get motivated and excited about the future.
Create a Compelling Vision
I used to be totally unmotivated to work on my goals but I used to set boring ass goals. If your goals don’t excite you spend some time creating a compelling vision of the future. This is why vision boards work so well for some people. It allows them to create a vision of their life that excites them and is really amazing. I used to set goals all the time but I didn’t have a vision for my future that I was excited about. I was just kind of trying to make my life better in a half ass way. I was trying to make myself go to the gym because I should but I didn’t have the vision of what the most healthy version of myself would look and feel like. My favorite way to create a compelling vision for my life is to script out what my life will be like once I achieve the goal. I will journal on exactly how I will feel when I achieve it and what it will mean to me. Getting clear on exactly what achieving my goal will be like helps motivate me to keep working towards it even when I don’t feel like it.
I hope this post about how to regain motivation helps you. Check out my other posts on depression. if you’re looking for more resources. Being unmotivated can be really frustrating but just do the best you can and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get as much done as you want. I tend to be really hard on myself but I find that beating myself up only makes me less motivated and makes the whole process more difficult. Forgive yourself for anything that you didn’t get done in the past and make a commitment to be kind to yourself as you go through the process of rebuilding your motivation.
I am not a licensed therapist or mental health professional. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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