We think a lot about what motivates us to take action and move towards our goals. What about the things that de-motivate and prevent us from going forward? What gets in motivation’s way? By taking a look from this challenged perspective, we can begin to identify and remove some of our obstacles.
1. Abundant Choices – When the options are too plentiful, it can overwhelm us to inaction. The thought of moving ahead becomes exhausting.
Tip: Narrow your decisions to just two or three options. Pretend you have blinders on and ignore the extraneous input. If you’re still stuck, ask a friend to be a sounding board.
2. Fear of Failure – Perfectionism or being afraid of not doing something correctly, can stop us from moving forward.
Tip: Perfectionism isn’t possible. Failing is an essential part of the journey. We learn by trial and error. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Test out this alternate perspective.
3. Fear of Success – Low self-esteem can compromise your view of success. You might doubt that success is possible, and be frightened to attain it.
Tip: Look to the past. Acknowledge your small and large successes. Look to the present. Watch for current successes. Practice noticing and appreciating your wins. Build off those to reduce your fear and boost your confidence.
4. Lack of Clarity – When we don’t know what step is next or why we’re doing what we’re doing, we can easily get de-motivated.
Tip: Take a step back. Set aside time to revisit your projects, goals and values. Perhaps there has been a shift in the parameters and it’s time to make adjustments.
5. Exhaustion – Sleep is essential for proper brain and body function. When we’re exhausted, it’s difficult to remain motivated.
Tip: Review your current sleep patterns and needs. Consider if lack of sleep is contributing to you feeling unmotivated. Make the necessary adjustments.
6. Comparison – Focusing on how we do or don’t measure up next to our colleagues, family, friends, neighbors or whoever, can only bring on unproductive thinking. This is a sure fire formula for de-motivating ourselves.
Tip: Forget about the “grass is greener” concept. It never is. Instead, be grateful. Focus on your gifts, successes, dreams, and desires. Build a life that works for you.
7. Excuses – We all make them. They are the negative messages we repeatedly tell ourselves, which prevent us from doing. We say things like, “I’d like to do ‘x,’ but I’m too tired or busy or not smart enough or…”
Tip: Set the internal alert. Become aware of the excuses that are not useful, real, or true. Begin challenging them when they appear. Reframe the dialogue to the positive.
8. Drudgery – Routines can be useful, but they can also become so mundane that we are de-motivated to maintain them.
Tip: If you are feeling bored, find ways to add the fun factor back into the equation. Would playing upbeat music, introducing pleasing colors, or bringing enervating scents into your environment make a difference? How about a change in the pace or sequence of the routine?
9. Patience – We expect so much of ourselves and want instant results. When things aren’t happening as fast as we think they should be, it can de-motivate us to continue.
Tip: Striving to achieve, become, and do takes time. Extend yourself the gift of patience.
10. Distractions – When your attention is pulled in too many directions, we can lose focus and motivation for working on what’s most important.
Tip: Pay attention to the “distraction-makers.” Are you being interrupted by people, sounds, emails, and phone calls? How can you minimize the distractions during certain times of your day? Recently, I turned off all the dings and alerts on my electronic devices. The positive affects on my focus, productivity, and motivation have been noticeable.
We’re human. We all experience times when our motivation wanes. Understanding which are your most challenging areas and implementing some of the strategies discussed will help get you back on track. Come join the conversation. What de-motivates you? What gets you unstuck?