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How To Get Motivated (When You Don’t Feel Like It!)

Understanding Motivation

Motivation is a vital force that drives our actions, and people can lose it for many reasons. When we feel sad, overwhelmed, fatigued, etc., it’s easy to want to give up. But you can learn how to get motivated again, even if it feels impossible.

This guide contains a step-by-step action plan to help you regain your motivation so you can become your best self again.

However, if you lack motivation and don’t clearly understand what motivates you, any attempts at self-improvement may fall flat. It’s essential to tap into intrinsic motivation to bolster your self-motivation, overcome procrastination, and maintain progress in your personal development.

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The Power of Intrinsic Motivation

Intrinsic motivation stems from within you. It’s the sheer joy or challenge you feel when undertaking a task rather than doing it for an external reward. This inherent satisfaction of the activity is what propels you forward. 

Numerous studies show that intrinsic motivation often leads to a deeper commitment and enhanced creativity. 

Contrarily, extrinsic motivation relies on outside incentives like money, grades, or acclaim. While these external rewards can be big motivators, they may also undermine the intrinsic reward of the activity. This leads to decreased interest and performance when the rewards are removed.

Therefore, you develop intrinsic motivation when your work aligns with your values and interests. This alignment creates resilience and persistence in the face of challenges. Educational psychologist Carol Dweck’s research highlights the role of intrinsic motivation in a growth mindset – the belief that abilities can be developed through hard work. 

This mindset is what breeds success in those who strike out on their own to start new work ventures. The change from external motivating factors (a paycheck with financial stability and benefits) to spending time doing something they love is a powerful motivator for success.

Coincidentally, intrinsic motivation can also enhance well-being. A study published in the ‘Journal of Personality’ tells us those driven by intrinsic goals experience higher satisfaction levels and joy compared to those motivated by extrinsic rewards. Thus, nurturing your competence and autonomy fulfills your critical psychological needs for long-term happiness and effectiveness.

Bored man -how to get motivated

Fueling the Flame Within

You can boost your intrinsic motivation levels by focusing on reshaping your actions, mindset, and overall lifestyle. Start by setting tasks that closely align with your interests and passion. Projects that resonate with your core values facilitate a deeper sense of purpose and drive.

Additionally, split large goals into manageable chunks, as small wins build the confidence necessary for sustained effort.

Shifting your perspective plays a vital role in nurturing intrinsic motivation. Adopt a learning attitude rather than fixating on immediate results. Learn to see challenges as opportunities to grow, and don’t let setbacks derail your progress. Instead, view them as learning experiences that can fortify your approach moving forward.

Finally, mold a lifestyle that supports your intrinsic motivation. This could involve building a supportive social circle that encourages your ambitions or creating daily routines that prime you for success. Include activities you love, even those not related to your goals.  

These actions help you to maintain overall happiness and prevent burnout. Remember, intrinsic motivation thrives in an environment where there’s a healthy balance between focused work and personal joy.

Identify Personal Values and Goals

To learn how to get motivated by boosting intrinsic motivation, start by pinpointing your core personal values. Think about experiences that bring you joy, moments you find deeply fulfilling, or the times you felt the most proud of yourself. Jot these instances down because they offer clues to what you value. 

Next, from your reflections, generate a clear list of your fundamental values, such as creativity, a sense of community, or mastery of a skill.

With your values in hand, turn to goal setting. Goals that resonate with your personal values spark your internal drive. Create SMART goals that relate directly to your values, ensuring they’re specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound.

For example, if ‘community’ is a value, set a SMART goal to volunteer a certain number of hours each week at a local charity.

Syncing goals with personal values builds a roadmap that’s rooted in your authentic self. It becomes easier to channel your intrinsic motivation as you pursue what genuinely matters to you. This synchronization drives consistency in your actions and fortifies your will to overcome obstacles, as you’re not just chasing an external reward but fulfilling your inner purpose.

Man on floor hasn't learned how to get motivated

How many times have you felt like this guy?

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

growth mindset is the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. This perspective thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of one’s intelligence but as a springboard for growth and stretching existing abilities. Adopting a growth mindset fuels intrinsic motivation, as it shifts your focus from a fear of failure to a desire for learning and personal development.

You can create a growth mindset by first recognizing your thought patterns. Acknowledge when you think in a fixed mindset, such as, “I can’t do this.” Then, reframe these thoughts to align with a growth mindset, like, “I can’t do this yet.”

When seeking how to get motivated, understand that the value of such small language changes can dramatically increase your adaptability to challenges. This self-positivity encourages renewed perseverance and resilience.

Another key step is to value the process over the end result. Praise your effort, strategy, and progress rather than fixating on success or failure.

Analyze obstacles as opportunities when they occur. Ask yourself what can be learned and how you can improve from these experiences. This reflective practice nurtures intrinsic motivation by underscoring the importance of continuous learning and personal growth.

Additionally, seek out constructive criticism and view it as beneficial feedback, not an attack on your abilities. Ask for input, listen actively, and use the information to make improvements in your thought processes, goals, and actions. This positive view of feedback enhances your intrinsic motivation and propels you forward toward your goals.

Creating a Rewarding Environment

Your environment impacts your internal drive. Create a positive environment by eliminating factors that sap your energy and using elements that reinforce your commitment. 

Start by decluttering your space to enjoy a tidy area from distractions. Regularly update your setting with inspirational visuals, such as quotes that resonate with you or images of your goals.

Surround yourself with supportive individuals who encourage and share your efforts and enthusiasm. These personal and professional relationships can offer the encouragement you need if your motivation falters.

Furthermore, if possible, match your environment to align with your goals. For example, if fitness is a priority, keep exercise equipment visible and readily accessible. When pursuing educational achievements, organize your study area for maximum productivity with all needed resources at hand.

Invest in tools and technologies that streamline your efforts and save you time, such as a great planner. Staying organized keeps frustrations at bay and allows for smoother progress towards your goals.

Additionally, maintain a positive self-environment by routinely repeating positive affirmations and self-talk. These elements act as internal reinforcements, bolstering your mental environment and cementing your resolve. Creating the right environment allows you to build a foundation that nurtures your intrinsic motivation and propels you toward your goals with every step.

Organized workspace for motivation

Kick-Start Your Motivation

Finding the will to learn how to get motivated can be challenging. You can boost your motivation with nine simple strategies that will propel you forward, even on low-energy days. These recommendations create the momentum you need to get tasks done and pursue your objectives with new energy.

How to Get Motivated: 9 Proven Strategies

  1. Set Mini Goals: Break down large tasks into tiny, manageable goals. Your goal will seem less intimidating and provide you with quicker wins.
  2. Organize Your Space: A cluttered environment can sap your energy. Tidying up and creating a dedicated workspace allows you to establish a clear, distraction-free zone.
  3. Visualize Success: Take a few moments to envision completing your task. Imagine the benefits and the sense of accomplishment. This technique often generates the enthusiasm you need to begin.
  4. Seek Inspiration: Read an article, listen to a podcast, or watch a video related to your task. The insight gained from others often sparks your drive and engagement.
  5. Time It Right: Set a timer for a short amount of work, usually 25 minutes. Knowing there’s an end in sight makes starting less daunting. You might find yourself continuing beyond the timer.
  6. Reward Yourself: Plan a small reward after you’ve worked on a task. It doesn’t have to be significant—just something to look forward to as an incentive for your actions.
  7. Change Your Environment: Shift your surroundings to refresh your mindset. It can be as simple as tidying your workspace, moving to a different room, or walking outside. A new environment can stimulate your senses and renew your energy.
  8. Enlist Accountability: Share your goal with a friend or colleague who will check on your progress. Knowing someone is rooting for you and expecting updates can be an encouraging motivator to stay on track
  9. Commit to Learning: Approach your tasks with a learning and growth mindset. Identify what skills or knowledge you’ll gain along the way. Also, view challenges as opportunities to learn rather than failures or obstacles to success.
Smiling woman with thumbs up

Concluding How to Get Motivated

You have the power to transform your life through the self-motivation nestled within you. But remember, the journey to maintaining motivation is laden with challenges and triumphs. Thus, engaging with the strategies above will help keep you motivated and moving forward during difficult times.

Motivation is an infinite quest, not simply a fleeting goal. It goes beyond quickly achieving specific objectives and shapes the way you approach each task and hurdle. Commitment to this ongoing process reaps rewards that are deeply satisfying and self-fulfilling.

Persevere, stay the course, and understand that you’re growing and learning how to get motivated for continual improvement. It’s not just about reaching the peak but enjoying the climb. Your journey for motivation doesn’t end; it shapes the contours of your life’s story.

Savor the pursuit, for it is where your transformation happens. With consistent effort and reflection, you’ll find that what once seemed insurmountable becomes manageable, and every small victory fuels the next. Your path awaits—embark upon it with courage, determination, and an open mind.

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  1. This is a great post…so many fantastic tips…have bookmark this for those times I feel unmotivated…as reading this with all the tips…actually helps motivate me thank you

  2. Thank you for this nice post. One thing that has helped me is to surround myself with motivated people. Maybe it’s easier said than done, but it’s possible to reach out to like-minded networks and groups. I will share this post with my network that works with similar topics.

    1. I appreciate you reading and sharing my post! And I like how you reach out to others for support when you need motivation. Thank you for commenting, Santiago.

  3. I enjoyed reading this post so much! I had never thought about motivation so deeply and never realised about the two types: intrinsic and extrinsic. Thank you very much for sharing this and for the tips about how to get your motivation going!

  4. I love this! I can definitely relate – there are days when it’s hard to focus and get motivated. Thanks for the tips!

  5. I can so relate to this right now. I’m normally quote motivated, but major recent changes have brought on stress and a major lack in focus (life as a military spouse). Thank you for these tips on how to increase motivation!

    1. I so appreciate all of the sacrifices that military families make for our country. Thank you for that, Jenna. I hope life returns to an even keel, for you, very soon!

    1. Jimmy, you really seem like a great guy and I admire what you are doing. My next blog is about that very thing. It is coming out this Sunday and is very detailed on finding joy. I hope it helps you.

  6. I love this post! I am currently moving houses right now and trying to keep a business going. I totally need the motivation, and I totally feel like that guy laying on the floor haha.

  7. Great article. Motivation is something that most people struggle with from time to time. Thanks for sharing these tips. It will certainly help demystify why we struggle with motivation in the first place. Oh! and the video was awesome.

  8. Amazing post! You’re right motivation is strongly related to ones mood and emotions, I try my best to keep myself motivated by doing some of what you suggested but sometimes it can be too much for me so I just take a break. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  9. Excellent post! It’s a perfect side by side to my post on productivity today! Motivation is an important topic and you really nailed reasons we may not be feeling motivated as well as how to increase motivation.

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