What to do When You Lack Motivation

By Chris Hammond, MS, IMH

Ok, admit it. Some days you completely lack motivation to do the things you know need to be done. It’s not like you don’t know what needs to be done or lack something to do; it’s that you have zero desire to do it. In fact if you lined up all the things that need to be done you could actually spend your entire vacation time doing them and the list still would not be complete.

There are clothes in the washer than need to be moved to the dryer so they won’t get mold on them and have to be washed again, but you still don’t do it. There is a report you have to complete and a pending deadline all too soon but nothing you write makes sense. There is a crack in your windshield that has been there for days, weeks, months or dare I say years but you have not gotten it fixed. There is a friend you know you should contact because they are going through a rough time and you love them dearly but you dread the conversation. Or there is my personal favorite, you know that it is time for an annual check-up (truth be told that time was really five years ago) but you won’t make the appointment.

Sound familiar? Having read more self-help books and listened to more motivation talks than you can remember still is not helping you to do the very thing you don’t want to do. So instead of following an old slogan like “Just do it”, try this instead.

Rest. Maybe you are burned out and just need some rest. Take one day off and do something fun to rejuvenate yourself.

Play. Play with a toy, a game, or go to a park. Just distracting yourself can be helpful.

Draw. Did you ever doodle or draw as a kid? Try doing that and see where your mind takes you.

Phone. Call a friend (not the one you have been dreading) but another one that makes you smile.

Encourage. Try to encourage someone else and be helpful to them. Taking the focus away from yourself for a while is useful.

Laugh. Watch an old sitcom that makes you laugh out loud. Laughter is good for the soul.

Thanks. Give thanks to God for the blessings in your life. Don’t put in a request, just be thankful.

Change. Go for a walk, take a drive or go to a different room, do something to change your environment. Sometimes this alone is helpful.

Exercise. When you are unmotivated to do other things, exercise seems like a good excuse. Use it to push your body and cleanse your thoughts.

Think small. Just doing one small step of your task list or project can be enough to inspire you to complete the larger item.

The bottom line is that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if that something has nothing to do with your “To Do” list. When you are not motivated to do the things you need to get done, just doing a little thing can make a big difference in the end.


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"Reprinted with permission from the LifeWorks Group weekly eNews, (Copyright, 2004-2011), To subscribe to this valuable counseling and coaching resource visit www.LifeWorksGroup.org or call 407-647-7005"

About the author- Chris Hammond is a Registered Mental Health Counselor Intern at LifeWorks Group w/ over 15 years of experience as a counselor, mentor & teacher for children, teenagers & adults.

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