Causes Of Lack Of Motivation And How To Overcome Them

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated July 12, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Motivation can be a powerful force that often drives us to achieve our goals and aspirations. However, individuals may experience lapses in motivation that leave them feeling uninspired and lacking the drive to pursue their dreams. Boredom, stress, burnout, feeling overwhelmed, and a lack of clear goals can lead many people to a lack of motivation. Setting small, achievable goals, practicing self-care, changing your environment, and turning to others for inspiration can be helpful in regaining motivation. In some cases, underlying mental health issues may be at least partially responsible for a lack of motivation. If this may be the case for you, working with a licensed therapist in person or online can be beneficial.

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Therapy can help you overcome motivation issues

Common causes of lack of enthusiasm

Burnout: Burnout is generally a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion that can be caused by prolonged and excessive life and/or work stress; it often develops over time. It can lead to a lack of achievement motivation, as individuals may not have the energy or drive to tackle new tasks or projects. Burnout may occur in any area of life, such as work, school, or personal relationships.

Stress: Stress is often a normal response to challenging situations, but it may negatively impact your motivation when it becomes chronic. Stress can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and fatigue, which may make it difficult to find the motivation to tackle even the most basic tasks.

Boredom: Boredom can be one of the major causes of feeling unmotivated, especially when individuals are stuck in a routine or sense that their current tasks or projects lack meaning or purpose. A lack of stimulation and excitement can lead to apathy and disinterest, which may make it challenging to find the motivation to complete tasks.

Feeling overwhelmed: Overwhelm can be caused by several factors, such as a heavy workload, a lack of support, or personal problems. When individuals feel overwhelmed, they may feel unable to cope with the demands placed on them, potentially leading to a lack of motivation and a sense of hopelessness.

Lack of clear goals: Having clear and specific goals may be an answer to having motivation. A lack of clear goals can lead to confusion and uncertainty, potentially making it challenging to find the drive to pursue your aspirations. Finding the motivation to take action can be difficult without a sense of direction or purpose.

Understanding the root cause of your lack of motivation can help you identify the best approach to regaining motivation.

How to identify when you are experiencing a lack of motivation

Recognizing when you are experiencing a lack of motivation may seem like an impossible task, but there can be some simple signs to indicate your current state. These may include the following:

  • Difficulty getting started on tasks or projects
  • Procrastination
  • Lack of energy and enthusiasm
  • Disinterest in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Negative self-talk and self-doubt
  • Increased absenteeism or tardiness
  • Strategies For Overcoming Lack Of Motivation

Setting small and achievable goals may help break down larger tasks and projects into manageable chunks, which can restore a sense of control and accomplishment. This feeling of regained control can provide a sense of purpose and motivation to continue working toward larger goals. 

Self-care can be ideal for maintaining overall well-being, and it may play a key role in overcoming a lack of motivation. Prioritizing self-care activities, such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep, can improve energy levels, reduce stress, and improve your mood, potentially making it easier to find the motivation to tackle tasks and projects.
A man and woman sit together on the couch in a brightly lit room. The blonde woman who is in deep thought rests her chin on her palm, not facing the man, while the man with a content expression looks down at his phone.
Ilona Titova/EyeEm

Finding inspiration from others is also likely to be a powerful motivator. Reading about the achievements of others, listening to motivational speeches, or talking to people who have overcome similar challenges may provide inspiration and a sense of perspective.

Changing your environment can be an effective way to overcome a lack of motivation. This may include reorganizing your workspace, taking a walk outside, or working in a different location. A change of scenery should help to break up the monotony and stimulate the brain.

If a lack of motivation persists, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a licensed professional. A mental health professional can help you identify the underlying causes of your lack of motivation and provide strategies and support to overcome it.

Benefits of online therapy

For those who are lacking motivation, especially when it may be brought on by stress, burnout, or mental health issues, online therapy can be a useful remedy. Online therapy is often more convenient and available because it empowers people to get the help they deserve from the convenience and comfort of their own homes. Additionally, it can eliminate the need to take time off from work or other obligations by allowing individuals to schedule sessions outside of traditional office hours.

Effectiveness of online therapy

As online therapy is still considered somewhat new, many people question whether it’s as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy. The body of research concerning online therapy’s effectiveness has been growing, and this study states that there’s generally no difference between the efficacy of online therapy and in-person therapy. Either option can be an excellent tool for those who want to overcome their lack of motivation with the help of a licensed therapist. 

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Therapy can help you overcome motivation issues


People have different motivation levels and even people with a high degree of intrinsic motivation may feel a lack of motivation in certain circumstances or stages of life. Learning to cope, even excel, when lacking motivation can further your personal development. Motivation at work may diminish for individuals working from home. And motivation for life may wane for those who spend a long time on social media. If you lose motivation easily and wish to increase motivation, working with a professional therapist may help.

  • Self-care activities, such as exercise, healthy eating, and adequate sleep, may improve energy levels and reduce stress, which can make it easier to find motivation.
  • Finding inspiration from people who have overcome similar challenges or listening to motivational speeches may provide perspective and serve as a powerful motivator.
  • Changing your environment by reorganizing your workspace or walking outside can stimulate the brain.
  • Online therapy may benefit those lacking motivation as it can be more available and convenient than traditional in-person therapy.

Struggling to find motivation in your life?
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