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Lack of Motivation – 7 Tips How to Overcome it

We all probably know these situations when something isn’t going as we would like it to go.

At such moments, it is even harder for most people to catch up.

Maybe something has just happened that pulls you down and you’re not getting anywhere right now.

You want to overcome your lack of motivation but somehow you can’t get moving.

This is exhausting and frustrating and can lead to a dangerous doom loop.

In order to prevent that from happening and you quickly get out of your lack of motivation state, I’ll share a few tips with you. To be exact, I’ll address seven practical tips that you can use whenever you’re stuck.

After all, you want to quickly get your feet on the ground and continue to pursue your goals.

First of all, in this article, I want to delineate a lack of motivation from laziness. If you want to overcome your own weaker self and achieve your goals, then it does not hurt if you know exactly what you’re dealing with here.

Afterwards, I will talk a little bit about my personal experiences with lack of motivation. Lastly, I’ll give you the promised seven tips that can help you to energize anew.

I’ve also tried to keep it a bit shorter if your drive is not that huge to read a lot.

All the tips in this article are meant to overcome the occasional listlessness. They are designed to help you keep track of your goals and get your butt up even when other things trying to drag you down.

Man being motivated to work on his goals

A distinction between listlessness and laziness

Laziness is more a matter of readiness for activity and change. You can be lazy but be a little active and still feel good about it. If you want to change something in your life and achieve your goals, then you should still take action against your less active behaviour patterns.

Lack of drive usually has more impact than just on your sport or work goals. Rather, it expresses itself in overarching bad mood, depression and lack of energy to do anything.

Who is really unpowered, will also find it tougher to get up to do quite ordinary things. If this occasionally happens for a short time, the following tips can help you to get back on track.

Everyone has a bad day or even a bad week… but if such condition lasts longer, then you should seriously consider visiting a specialist to get to the bottom of it.

My experience with lack of motivation

As just mentioned, everybody has bad days. That’s normal.

I used to pull myself off things again and again, and for weeks let my nutrition and training slide. These were often things in my private life that frustrated me but had nothing to do with my training or bigger goals overall.

Whether it was trouble with friends, family, in school or simply self-doubt. Unfortunately, I have often admitted that these things had a strong impact on other areas of my life. That cost me a lot of success and quality of life.

Ever since I started to work on personal development, my mindset and personality changed tremendously. I’ve become more and more aware that this doesn’t get me anywhere.

In addition, I have realized how I can act effectively against such emerging patterns of behaviour.

Decisive was my journey through New Zealand after I’ve finished college. I went travelling together with my best friends for 8 months in total.

During that time I had a lot of time to think about life, myself and what I might want to do in the future. I have read a lot of books on personal development that reinforced to think even more.

Thereout, I realized that our mind is the most powerful asset that we have. You control your feelings, emotions, and thoughts. You are in charge.

Of course, theory always sounds easier than practice, but it’s true.

Why our mind is the most powerful tool

At this point, I want to share an article with you. It demonstrates how our mind can work wonders if we use it correctly.

These tools may also help you to get back on track and overcome your self-doubt or any other issues. Be conscious that your thoughts control your feelings, emotions and eventually, behaviour.

Life is too short to waste time with negative things and thoughts. Dreams are meant to come true.

Studies found seven magnificent reasons that prove the incredible power of our mind.

1. Visualization creates results

Psychologist Alan Richardson made an experiment to prove the power of visualization. He gathered a group of basketball players and split them into three groups.

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The intent of this study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of visualization in how the players converted free throws.

  • The first group practised 20 minutes every day
  • The second group visualized themselves making free throws, but did not participate in practice
  • The third group did not practice or made visualization at all

The results were astonishing. The second group who only visualized free throws showed marked improvement, and almost nearly as accurate as the players of the first group.

Click here to check out the full experiment.

2. Smiling improves mood

Known as the ‘Facial Feedback Hypothesis‘, scientists have known for a long time that changing your body through actions as smiling, sitting up straight and relaxing, are followed by positive emotional responses.

One of these studies was conducted in the late 1980s.

The study looked like the following:

  • The first group held the pencil horizontally in their mouth, between their teeth, which physically forced them to smile
  • The second group held the pencil horizontally in their mouth using only their lips, which did not force a smile and actually caused somewhat of a frown
  • The third group (control group) simply held the pencil in their hands

During the experiment, all participants were asked to watch different cartoons and rate them on how funny they were.

As the results show, the first (or “smile”) group gave the cartoons much funnier ratings than the second (or “frown”) group. The third group fell somewhere in the middle between those two groups.

For more in-depth information about the study, click here.

3. Thought management lowers stress

Something incredibly amazing about the human brain is the following: it cannot tell the difference between real or imagined.

Don Joseph Goeway, the author of Mystic Cool: A proven approach to transcend stress, achieve the optimal brain function, and maximize your creative intelligence has a lot of experience in this area.

His work is outstanding. He developed the most simple and practical way to eliminate fearful thoughts and stress. Goeway calls it the ‘Clear Button‘, which works by distracting the primitive brain where fear occurs.

It works as follows:

  1. Imagine that there is a button in the center of your left palm; imagine that this button, when pressed, will send a signal to your brain to stop the fearful thinking.
  2. Press the button with your right hand as you become aware of your health.
  3. Take three easy breaths counting them out.
  4. Imagine a different colour for each number.
  5. As you exhale, relax at the present moment.

4. The brain can produce serotonin on its own

What is serotonin?

Serotonin, also called 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) or enteramine, is a tissue hormone and neurotransmitter. It occurs in the central nervous system, cardiovascular system and in the blood.

Serotonin is an essential brain chemical because it increase will power, delays gratification, and increases attention to detail.

If for whatever reasons your serotonin level is low, you will find yourself in some kind of lack of motivation that makes it hard to get things done, being active and controlling your impulses.

But the good news is, our brain is capable to produce serotonin on its own.

Here are three ways your brain can produce serotonin:

  • Sunlight. Due to the UV light; which when absorbed through the skin produces Vitamin D, promoting the production of serotonin
  • Massage. Studies show that women who received a massage twice a week boosted their serotonin levels.

5. People can “think” their way to releasing weight

A Harvard psychologist made an experiment with a group mostly overweight hotel maids. Those women did not regard themselves as physically active.

Ellen Langer and Alia J. Crum took several measures of the women’s basic fitness levels, which demonstrated that they had similar poor health conditions as basically sedentary people.

The scientists assumed that women’s viewpoint restricts them to lose weight.

In order to test their hypothesis, Langer gathered half of the maids and explained that they were exceeding the amount of exercise recommended by the surgeon general.

The other half of the maids did not receive any information.

After a month, Langer’s and his team returned to the hotel to analyse the results.

The results were astonishing. The average maid lost 2 pounds, her blood pressure dropped by 10 points. Eventually, by all measurements, the women were significantly healthier.

Click here to view the whole experiment.

6. Positivity and meditation prolongs life

Dr David Spiegel of Stanford University conducted a study consisting of 86 women in the late stages of breast cancer.

The test subjects were divided into halves. One group obtained handiest prescribed medical care, whilst the other group was given weekly guide sessions further to the hospital treatment.

Throughout those weekly classes, patients shared their feelings, socialized with other sufferers and had a superb environment wherein to deal with their illness.

As the results show, the women in the support group survived twice as long as those that did not. Thereout, it can be said that general feelings of helplessness and hopelessness tend to negatively influence the condition.

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7. The placebo effect

Lastly, the placebo effect. Placebos can be pills, medications, or procedures that resemble a real drug in appearance and taste without containing its active ingredients.

Research shows that placebos are at times even more effective than the actual medication. That sounds crazy, right?

It shows once more how tremendously our own thoughts, feelings, and emotions can exert an influence on us.

Click here for a full article from the Harvard magazine.

After this digression on how our mind influences our feelings, actions, and thoughts, let’s dive into the seven tips to overcome a lack of motivation.

Re-engage with your goal

Whenever you lost your focus and face a state of listlessness, then it’s a good time to re-engage with your goals. At this moment, you’re missing the drive to do something for it.

The question that arises is whether that is synonymous with your goal. Is your goal still the same as it was before? Do you still identify yourself with it or did anything change?

On the one hand, this will bring your goal to mind again and you being conscious anew. Often you just hide in such situations. This is also a great moment to overthink your goal and maybe make some adjustments if your long-term goals have changed.

With this in mind, you will be able to refresh your mind, being aware of what your goals are and evaluate whether it still aligns with your values and norms.

Engage with your Why

The second tip that I suggest you, is to engage with the Why behind your mission or goal. Many people set goals and take on things without actually being aware of why they initially started.

However, this strong emotional attachment to your goal is what leads to great dedication and passion. That’s what helps you to keep up in difficult times and pursue your goal.

It’s that simple. Whenever you feel demotivated and anemic, ensure to bring the reasons why you’re doing this to your mind again.

Think about what your lack of motivation has in common with your goal

Without digressing too deep, think for a moment what the reason for your lack of motivation is.

Why can’t you manage to overcome it? Why do you have difficulties to keep up and push forward?

Just ask yourself if this has anything to do with your (athletic) goals or any other goal that you strive for.

Most likely, this will not be the case.

But if that’s the case for you, then you should take some steps back and reevaluate what you really want in your life.

Release your tension and set an intention.

Remember that exercise is good for you

If you’re not aware that exercise is healthy and good for you, bring it to your mind again.

Sport does not only has a positive effect on your body but also on our psyche. Moving, training, running will help you feel better.

Whether you work out in the gym, go for a run in the park or playing basketball with your homies, that’s up to you.

Physical activity helps me to release stress throughout the day and reset my focus again. It clears up my mind and energizes my body.

Especially for people who sit most of the time during the day, compensation through activity is even more crucial.

Even if it’s just a short run during your lunch break or standing up every 30 minutes, it will help you to feel better and happier.

In addition, the positive feelings of having done something once you overcome your listlessness can make a great difference.

Imagine how you suddenly feel 50% better after just a small training session. At least for the next few hours, that’s not unrealistic. Does that sound good to you?

Get moving guys and always keep in mind, we only have this one body!

Visualize your goals

As already mentioned earlier, visualization is a powerful tool. The brain cannot distinguish between real and imagined things.

Man visualizing his goals

If you want to find the urge to work on your goals, it can help a lot to imagine how you achieved them.

It is important that you do this as realistic as possible. Imagine how you achieved your goal.

How does that feel? How is it for you to be in that situation? What do you associate with this situation?

In this way, your goal manifests even deeper in your subconscious mind. If this envisaged situation attracts you, then your subconscious mind helps you to experience it in your real life.

Eventually, this enables you to finally overcome your lack of motivation. Work for your goals, giving up is not an option. Never.

Connect with other people

You may not be aware of this, but you do not have to go all alone through the swamp.

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If you don’t have one yet, look for comrades that have the same or similar goals.

If you already have one, call them for support. Be sure, they will be glad that you approached them with your problem. A good partner will listen to you and help to find a solution on how to overcome your listlessness.

In return, if your partner would have troubles, you would do the same for him, no matter what.

Friends and family are the most important support in life. Surround yourself with people who lift you up rather than dragging you down.

Do something for just some minutes

It feels good to get things done, right?

I recently watched a video about time management, accomplishing all the things that need to be done. Working off your To-Do list.

Man running on a street

What did he recommend? Well, a lot but I’ll refer only to one of his tips.

If you know that you can get a certain task done within 2 minutes, do it right now.

Get it done, don’t postpone or delay it.

Robert Collier once said:

“Success is the sum of small efforts – repeated day in and day out”.

Be consistent. Take small steps every day and you will get closer to your goal.

As Bill Gates said:

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years”.

This is also true for days, weeks or months. Don’t underestimate what you can achieve in one month if you work for it every day.

Do something for 5 minutes. You can always overcome your lack of motivation with some willpower to do something for 5 minutes.

Even if you feel like you can’t get up at all, remember why you started and commit to at least 5 minutes.

After the 5 minutes, you can then think about whether you might pull it off.

Oftentimes, you rediscover the joy while exercising and keep doing but even if you stop after 5 minutes, you have at least recorded a small victory.

This will make you feel better and more satisfied because you did something, you overcame your listlessness.

Try it!

Now it may be only 5 minutes but with some practice, you will work your way up until you reached your goal.

Next time it will be 10 minutes, after some more days/weeks 30 minutes and sooner or later you’ll be doing 90-120 minutes workouts in the gym again.

You can do it. Stop thinking, start acting.

Conclusion

Everybody has bad days, that’s normal. Don’t be too hard to yourself, don’t panic when sometimes things don’t go as planned. That’s just how life and plans are. Get used to it.

It is necessary to take some days off every now and then.

But apart from that, let’s recap how you can overcome your lack of motivation and recharge your energy to work for your goals.

  • Re-engage with your goal

The question that arises is whether that is synonymous with your goal. Is your goal still the same as it was before? Do you still identify yourself with it or did anything change?

Think about if your goal is still aligned with your values.

  • Engage with your Why

Engage with the Why behind your mission or goal. Many people set goals and take on things without really being aware of why they initially started.

  • Think about what your lack of motivation has in common with your goals

Why can’t you manage to overcome it? Why do you have difficulties to keep up and continue?

Just ask yourself if this has anything to do with your (athletic) goals or any other goal that you want to accomplish.

  • Remember that exercise is good for you

If you’re not aware that exercise is healthy and good for you, bring it to your mind again.

Sport does not only has a positive effect on your body but also on our psyche. Moving, training, running will help you feel better.

  • Visualize your goals

As already mentioned earlier, visualization is a powerful tool. The brain cannot distinguish between real and imagined threats.

If you want to find the urge to work on your goals, it can help a lot to imagine how you achieved them.

  • Do something for just some minutes

It feels good to get things done right?

Do something for 5 minutes. You can always overcome your lack of motivation with some willpower to do something for 5 minutes.

Even if you feel like you can’t get up at all, remember why you started and commit to at least 5 minutes.

I hope this article was helpful for you to overcome your lack of motivation and start working on your goals again.

Share it with your friends, family or acquaintances who struggle with keeping up on their goals.

What is your favourite tip when everything feels tough and you cannot motivate yourself to get up?

Thanks for reading, guys

Claas

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Claas

Claas

Hi, I'm Claas. I am a passionate fitness and performance lover. For several years I have been training and developing my personality with dedication, ambition, and commitment to pursue my goals. During this time, I already had the opportunity to support many friends, family members and athletes on their journey to achieve their goals, both athletic or performance driven. Whether about nutrition, training, performance or self-development, for the last few years I was able to steadily improve my knowledge to provide our clientele with all my experience. I believe the key to a happy life, to pursue your goals, overcome challenges and convert your dreams to reality, is based upon mastering our four underlying four pillars; nutrition, fitness, productivity, and mindfulness.

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