No Motivation. Is it a problem?

Do you feel tired and sluggish during the cold winter months? Do you find yourself struggling to get out of bed?

Sometimes, no motivation isn’t a problem and other times it can be a symptom of a bigger problem.

Whether you can’t get motivated to clean your house or you just aren’t feeling motivated to get in shape, a lack of motivation can be one of the biggest obstacles stopping you from reaching your short and long term goals.

For example, if you’re a perfectionist, your lack of motivation may stem from the fear that you won’t complete a task flawlessly. Until you address this need to be perfect, your motivation isn’t likely to increase. At other times, your lack of motivation may cause you to procrastinate. And the more you procrastinate, the less motivated you feel. In this case, improving your motivation to get work done can help you feel better and perform better throughout the day.

What causes a lack of motivation

It’s important to take a few minutes to consider why you might have trouble motivating yourself. Here are some common reasons for a lack of motivation:

  • Diet. Sometimes a lack of motivation can stem from a weak diet. It can be tempting to skip meals or eat too much of the wrong kinds of food. But what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel. (See the national Mind pages on food and mood for more tips.)
  • Avoidance of discomfort. Whether you don’t want to feel bored when doing a mundane task, or you are trying to avoid feelings of frustration by dodging a tough challenge, sometimes a lack of motivation stems from a desire to avoid uncomfortable feelings.
  • Mental health Problem. A lack of motivation is a common symptom of depression. It can also be linked to other mental illnesses, like anxiety. So it’s important to consider whether your mental health may be affecting your motivation level.
  • Self-doubt. When you think you can’t do something—or are convinced you can’t tolerate the distress associated with a certain task—you’ll likely struggle to get started.
  • Burn Out. When you have a lot going on in life, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed. And this feeling can zap your motivation.
  • Lack of commitment to a goal. Agreeing to a task simply because you felt obligated, or declaring a resolution out of peer pressure, may mean your heart really isn’t in it. And you likely won’t take action when you aren’t committed to your goal.

These are just a few common reasons why people sometimes lack motivation. You might find that your lack of motivation stems from other issues, like the fear of what people think or a desire to please everyone.

What can I try to help?

Act as If You Feel Motivated

You may be able to trick yourself into feeling motivated by changing your behaviour. Act as if you felt motivated, and your actions may change your emotions.

For example, rather than sit on the couch in your pyjamas all day waiting for motivation to strike, get dressed and get moving. You might find that taking action will increase your motivation, which makes it easier to keep going.

A Word From You in Mind

Carefully consider the underlying thoughts and feelings that are affecting your drive. Sometimes it can help to talk to someone about this. Everyone struggles with motivation issues at one time or another. The way you respond to your lack of motivation is what matters. Be kind to yourself, experiment with strategies that increase your motivation, and reach out for support if you need it: