What's Lack Of Motivation And How To Overcome It?

Updated August 2, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

What Causes Feelings Of Demotivation?

Just about everyone has experienced a lack of motivation or drive at some point in their life.

Really, it’s quite easy to not have motivation. After all, it’s the path of least resistance and it also isn’t necessarily natural to always feel motivated. Nonetheless, to optimize our personal development and well-being and stay on top of mental health issues, it’s important to know how to overcome those times when you simply lack motivation with the help of online therapy.

There is a lot that can be accomplished in life if we are motivated to get it done. But if you are in that place where you are having a hard time caring because you lack motivation, one of these six reasons could be behind your decrease in motivation.

So, put this article on your to do list for right now in order to know how to boost your motivation levels, practice self care, and help become the best you that you can be.

1. Not Doing Enough

Lack of Motivation Can Lead to Other Problems Like Depression - Don't Let It

This might seem like an odd statement, but it’s true. If you’re feeling unmotivated, it might be that you aren’t doing enough. If you simply decide to get started on some activity, even if you don’t feel like it, your motivation might find you.

Find An Activity To Occupy You And Increase Motivation

Newtons’ first law states that an object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion. That can apply to people, too. Have you ever had a Saturday where you just stayed home and did nothing?

Maybe you stayed in your pajamas for the day and just sat on the couch and binge-watched one of your favorite shows. You weren’t sick; you were just “relaxing.” How did you feel during that day?

If you are like the majority of people, by the end of the day, you were tired. That may seem odd, because you did nothing for the entire day, but it’s true.

You did little activity for the day, and yet somehow it seemed to suck the energy out of you. You weren’t in motion, and it caused you to want to stay that way.

On the other hand, have you ever had a day where you had a jam-packed schedule? You had a lot planned, and you were able to continue moving from one activity to the next.

If you’re experiencing low motivation, try doing the exact opposite of what you want-try getting started on something. Once you’re active, you might find it’s easier to keep going.

2. Depression Can Contribute To A Lack Of Motivation

Depression tends to steal your energy and motivation. This is true with even mild depression. When you’re struggling with depression, it can be difficult to find the motivation to complete the normal tasks of daily life. That means it’s a struggle to clean the house, or pay the bills because you don’t care.

Getting Help For Your Depression

If you think you’re dealing with depression, there are a few things you can do to try to improve your motivation.

The first is to talk to a therapist. BetterHelp has therapists you can see online instead of in person. They can help you uncover the cause of your depression and determine a plan of action to help address your lack of drive.

You also should decide what issues need the most attention. For example, it’s necessary to pay your bills on time. Learning to play the piano can wait. Determine what must be done now.

When you’re depressed, it’s important that you celebrate all your successes even if they feel small. That means if you pay a bill on time, you can count that as a success and feel good about it.

Do not allow yourself to feel like you have to wait until life is perfect before you can feel good about your accomplishments and your motivation.

3. Feeling Overwhelmed And Not Motivated

Sometimes when you have a lot to do and feel overwhelmed, your body and mind shuts down. Instead of figuring out the details, it feels better to do nothing. We discussed how doing nothing can cause a lack of motivation, but it works the other way too.

Unmotivated behavior can result from having too much to do. When you feel like there’s so much to do that you can’t possibly get to it all, you might not want to even get started, resulting in lower levels of motivation.

Breaking Tasks Down To Fix Your Lack Of Drive

If this is you, try breaking your tasks into small pieces to overcome a lack of drive. Here’s an example of how you would break up a larger task:

Think about planning a vacation. If you add “plan vacation” to your to-do list, it can feel overwhelming. It can also feel discouraging because you aren’t going to be able to cross it off your list after working on it for a small amount of time.

So you need to break it into chunks, like:

  • Brainstorm ideas for where to go on vacation

  • Choose a destination

  • Select the travel dates

  • Make a list of friends to invite

  • Research hotels

  • Book the flight

The list could go on, but you get the point. When you split up your big tasks into smaller tasks, you have items you can accomplish in a short amount of time, resulting in higher levels of motivation.

As you accomplish each small task, you’re moving in the direction of completing your big task. Your detailed list will help your mind to rest because you can see exactly what needs to be done.

As you complete each small task, you’ll achieve the victory of crossing it off the list. And before you know it, you’ll be on your vacation.

4. Trying to Please Everyone Can Exhaust Your Motivation

If you’re a people pleaser, you’ve most likely experienced a lack of motivation before. When you’re busy trying to keep everyone else happy, you can’t identify your own wants and needs.

When you have no idea what you want, there’s no reason to have motivation. Being motivated to please others will only carry you so far. You’ll be stuck with feelings of demotivation, and you won’t know how to get out of this cycle of your lack of drive.

It’s hard to be motivated to achieve someone else’s goals, but when the goals are yours, it’s a different story. It’s important to stop trying to please everyone.

If you try to please other people all the time, you’re going to let yourself down constantly. That’s not a way to live. Learn who you are and what you want to do.

Set your own goals and then create your path. Don’t worry so much about what others think. These are all easier said than done, but a licensed mental health professional can help you develop concrete tools to help you get there.

5. Having a Fixed Mindset

There are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth. If you have a fixed mindset, you tend to believe you don’t have control over your potential. You believe your abilities are preexisting, and that new skills and intelligence can’t be developed. You live by a “this is it” kind of thinking.

If you have this mindset, you might be feeling unmotivated. After all, if things “are what they are” then why would you be motivated to try to make them anything different? What would be the point of investing time into learning something new when you believe it’s impossible?

To overcome a fixed mindset, you need to focus on having a growth mindset. People with growth mindsets believe they can learn new skills and increase their understanding.

They view experiences as opportunities to grow. They welcome critiques and feedback, even when it’s negative, because they know it will benefit them. This is empowering and motivating because you believe you have the ability to control your destiny.

6. You Settle for Less

Being content with what you have in life can be a good thing, but it can also lead to a lack of motivation. If you’re content and feel like you’ve settled in life, you aren’t going to be motivated to try new things. You believe you’ve gotten everything you can, so what would be the point of working for anything else?

If you want to improve your motivation, you need to realize you can have more in life. It’s good to be content with what you have, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be striving for something better.

You Can Overcome It

Lack of Motivation Can Lead to Other Problems Like Depression - Don't Let It

If you’re dealing with a lack of motivation?”, it’s important to identify the cause. Then you can determine the necessary steps to overcome it. If you’re depressed, reach out to someone for help.

If you’re too busy, take time to get organized and prioritize your schedule. If you aren’t doing enough, choose a few tasks to accomplish, even if you don’t feel like it. And if you aren’t sure why you’re struggling so much, talking to a counselor can help.

Conclusion On Lack Of Motivation

A therapist can help you identify and overcome your obstacles. And one obstacle for those with low motivation is getting out the door. This is when BetterHelp’s online counseling is beneficial.

It allows you to get the help you need without having to travel to an appointment and see someone in person. Read below for some reviews on our counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

“I’ve been working with Dr. Butler for a few months now and I’ve seen tremendous change in how I view my problems and strengthen myself to tackle them. Have really enjoyed working with him and his very open and positive attitude is always a pleasure. I leave every session energized and motivated.”

“Maria is a lovely therapist who helped motivate me to make some changes in my life such as pursuing school and employment.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you fix unmotivated behavior?

Sometimes, feeling motivated may be your psychological challenge. You shouldn’t feel too bad about this because there are steps you can take to overcome your unmotivated behavior. When you are unable to stay motivated or go through a lack of motivation often, you should do your best to remember exactly what you want to accomplish and why. For example, if you want to learn how to do something new, such a learning how to cook or picking up a new language, be clear on what your goals are and how you expect to meet them. Once you have a strong plan for your goals, it may be easier for you to stay motivated to continue. Moreover, if you are trying to earn a promotion, remember the raise you will receive or the office upgrade you are hoping to obtain. These things may help you stay motivated when it seems like a goal isn’t attainable. Splitting up your main goals into smaller, achievable goals can be an effective tool for staying motivated. It’s pertinent to seek professional help when feelings of motivation are affecting the way you live your life. Also, if you find that you are still struggling to find or increase your motivation, speaking with a licensed therapist can help. A therapist can help you uncover the underlying cause of no motivation, address the cause directly, and assist you to feel motivated.

Does ADHD cause unmotivated behavior?

ADHD can cause unmotivated behavior, which may be experienced by children or adults. People with ADHD have a lack of dopamine, which is thought to be the reason they are unable to stay motivated. If people are unmotivated and there is little they can do about it, they may want to consider getting checked out by a doctor, to ensure that there isn’t something going on that needs to be resolved.

What is another word for a lack of motivation?

There are many terms that someone may use when they are talking about a person with a lack of motivation. These include unambitious, procrastinating, lackadaisical, and directionless. When you are experiencing issues with motivation, you may want to look at motivation quotes or motivational videos. These can give you an incentive to work on your goals again, find motivation, and incredibly start to stay and feel more motivated. Remember that it’s impossible to increase your motivation if you’re not motivated at all.

Why do my employees have insufficient drive?

When you are wondering why your employees cannot stay motivated, there are a few factors to consider. In some cases, their workload may differ from other people on the team, they might not feel like they are getting recognition for their work, they might be having problems in their life, or they may simply feel like their boss or manager likes other people more than them. Any of these things can cause a worker to lose motivation and not want to work as hard as they used to.

How important is challenging work to motivation?

Challenging work can be a great way to motivate employees to do their best at a certain job or task. If you have noticed that people on your team feel unmotivated, giving them tasks that are challenging should be able to promote productivity and perhaps allow employees to stay motivated. Of course, you will need to make sure that the work is able to be completed. If it is too difficult, then people will likely be unable to stay motivated and may not want to try very hard to complete the work. In other words, difficult or nearly impossible tasks may lead to you feeling unmotivated. Therefore, in order to make such tasks doable and interesting, you must instill a sense of motivation in your employees and consistently offer incentives that can help them with their mood and motivation.

How do you motivate a demotivated person?

The Problem with mood and motivation can interfere with people’s day to day activities. Fortunately, there are ways to help those that find themselves in such a condition. In general, if you want to motivate someone that is sometimes unmotivated, you may want to begin to encourage them. You can show them motivational videos or motivational quotes and offer them kind words whenever you see them complete something. It can be difficult to stay motivated all the time, so upon occasion, people may need to be reminded or given the sense of motivation that they are doing a good job or given an incentive to try harder.

Why does laziness happen?

Laziness and a lack of motivation can have a number of causes. One is that a person is overwhelmed. When someone feels like they have too much to do, they may not actually be able to accomplish anything at all. Another reason someone can’t stay motivated is that they are completing a task they simply don’t like. They may think the work is boring or tedious and are basically uninterested in it. A person can feel unmotivated when they are content with the way things are as well. This might be a good thing or a bad thing. When people are able to find a good balance, it will be easier to stay motivated. There are ways to do this, no matter who you are.

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