There are plenty of different ideas and opinions on the subject of motivation. Some people see the condition as a genuine psychological problem deserving of scientific study and research. Others approach the issue philosophically, attempting to delve into the metaphysical to gain insight and comprehension.
There are also those who see people suffering from no motivation as the consequence of privilege or ineptitude — the idea being that they are spoiled, incapable or foolish and immature.
In truth, all of these are true, in one way or another. A person having no motivation can have a mental imbalance or possess a disconnect between their true desires and their ability to act — or they’re just lazy.
In the end, it depends on the person and their specific circumstances, but there are a few warning signs, identifiers and overall suggestions that can help people move in the right direction.
Motivation: The Definition
What is motivation exactly, anyway? Technically, the pursuit of any goal or success requires motivation. It’s a drive that pushes you to get something done. With motivation comes the following traits and characteristics:
- A sense of direction
These are all qualities people like enterprising entrepreneurs, business leaders and idealists possess. When a person has no motivation, however, they can end up in a rut, so to speak, and find it difficult to accomplish anything.
What Can Cause a Lack of Motivation?
When someone loses motivation, it can be because of a variety of reasons. Some people lack motivation because they do not know where to start — for instance if their to-do list is daunting. Others are filled with self-doubt, stemming from childhood or from some specific trauma or event. Events such as failure, loss or negativity can drain a person’s motivation to move forward or onward.
It all comes down to identifying what’s stopping your motivation from catching hold and spurring you forward. Productivity does not simply fall out of the sky. It’s the product of meaningful work and focus. Just because you go through the motions doesn’t necessarily mean you’re accomplishing anything — in other words, activity does not always equal progress.
Lack of Motivation and Depression
The two are not necessarily synonymous with one another, but there’s a connection that can’t be easily ignored or overlooked. You may suffer from a lack of motivation at any given time for a myriad of reasons, but if you are suffering from depression, then having no motivation is common.
Depression drains motivation completely and utterly, which explains why depressed people often find themselves sitting in unfinished tasks and half-completed plans. Depression stops you from being getting active or even caring about the future. There are many remedies for mental health recovery, though — and overcoming depression can also help you be more motivated.
Lack of Motivation vs. Laziness
Motivation, by definition, means a desire or willingness of someone to do something — a trait in complete opposition to the mindset of laziness. If you are unmotivated to start or complete a task simply because you do not wish to undertake the work, then you aren’t suffering from depression or a lack of inspiration — it’s likely laziness instead.
The first step in solving laziness will be your recognition of it. After recognizing and admitting laziness is the contributor to your lack of productivity, things become easier to manage.
Having admitted to laziness, you have to force yourself to overcome it. The more you force yourself to operate against that particular mindset, the more motivated you become to continue to work and persevere. By freeing yourself from laziness, you will inevitably fuel motivation.
How to Increase Motivation
Outside of depression and laziness, there are times when you simply have no motivation to move forward in one way or another. These situations usually come from negative experiences that can and will affect you. Too many rejections or failures can diminish your motivation or kill it entirely. The same effect can occur from negative reinforcement or criticism.
No matter the reason or issue, motivation can be restored or reinforced through proper planning, execution and a few other additional measures that ensure consistent and meaningful productivity. Let’s take a look at four of them:
1. Set Goals
One proven method of curing a lack of motivation in most cases is by having a clear set of goals. Project plans can be changed in accordance with varying situations or challenges, but generally, your goals remain the same. If you have these goals clear both in your mind and written down, you keep yourself focused, despite any possible setbacks or delays — and your motivation to continue will remain steady and strong.
This does not only pertain to your overall goals, either. Try to identify smaller, easy-to-meet goals to achieve on a daily or weekly basis. By making sure you, your partner or business teams experience a steady stream of small achievements, you positively reinforce the motivation you will need to meet the long-term goals you’re trying to meet.
2. Keep Your Goals Realistic
If you set unrealistic goals for yourself or your team to meet, there’s a chance you will succeed, but there’s also a chance you will fail. A great goal can provide great motivation, but if something is too complex to complete or too daunting to overcome, then your production rate will begin to slow. This, in turn, will affect your motivation to finish.
Thankfully this situation has a simple solution: simplicity. Keep your goals as simple as possible, whether short- or long-term. In fact, when you write out your goals, they should be one sentence long each — this way even if the work required to meet these goals turns out to be difficult or complex, you will not become impatient with the process. This preserves your motivation to reach the end or conclusion of your goal.
3. Keep Things Organized
Chaos can become a distraction and a hindrance to production. When you order your thoughts, your goals, your processes and your resources, you remain focused on what you intend to do and not what surrounds you.
Oftentimes, motivation gets diminished by interruptions just as much as it does by negativity, failure, depression or impatience. With proper organization, your rate of production will not only be significant, but it’ll also be consistent, too.
4. Maintain Self-Confidence
If you don’t believe you can do something, you won’t feel the need to try. Motivation is tied directly into what you think of yourself and the infrastructure that surrounds you. It’s a concept that has scientific truth behind it: What we think about ourselves will often become real or true, and it’s important you think the best of yourself to remain motivated.
These various elements and ideas are only a few solutions to consider when suffering from a lack of motivation or less-than-optimal productivity. Remember that in the end, you control your motivation. Outside situations can and will affect you in various ways, but you will ultimately determine how far you go, how productive you are and whether or not you succeed in your ambitions.
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