For many of us, motivation can be elusive. Sometimes – not always at the most convenient – we feel invigorated and enthusiastic. We can produce fantastic work, make time for our loved ones and hobbies, and look after our minds and bodies, seemingly without effort. But when this inner fire retreats, it can be difficult to regain. This can leave us feeling confused about where our passion lies and discouraged about our own capabilities.
Motivation isn’t always consistent, and feeling unmotivated can stem from a myriad of factors, including stress, a lack of clear direction, apprehension of change or failure, and not having clear-cut goals. Fortunately, there are ways to nurture and reignite our passions.
Why can’t I get motivated?
Originating from the Latin term “movere,” meaning “to move,” it embodies the fusion of motive and action. Motivation, an active force, significantly shapes various facets of our daily existence.
Many factors can cause you to feel a lack of motivation, and setting aside time to really consider why you are feeling unmotivated can help you energise and reconnect with purpose. Here are a just few examples:
- Keeping setting unrealistic, unachievable goals that result in disappointment
- Some aspects of your life experience of relationships are draining your energy
- Not feeling like you’re in the driver’s seat – lack a sense of autonomy, choice and empowerment
- You might be working hard at something you don’t feel aligns with you
- Keeping the safe, comfortable and familiar even if it limits you
- Avoid the stress of change, leading you to feel like you’re “coasting” without really growing as a person or as a professional
- Going through loss and grieving
- Struggling with confidence and self-esteem
By figuring out what is behind your lack of spark, you can discover what you need to re-energise your motivation.
The types of motivation
Motivation is driven by many different things, which tend to fall within two categories: intrinsic and extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation includes the things which motivate you to gain internal rewards, such as learning, feeling good or gaining purpose. Intrinsic motivation aligns with your personal needs and morals and supports your interests and goals.
Extrinsic motivation, on the other hand, includes things which drive you to gain externally validating rewards such as praise from others or money.
Areas or domains where motivation plays a significant role include:
- Personal development: Motivation drives individuals to pursue self-improvement, setting goals and striving to achieve them.
- Workplace fulfillment: Motivation affects employee productivity, job satisfaction, and organisational engagement levels.
- Education: Motivation impacts learning outcomes, academic performance, and the willingness to engage in educational activities.
- Health and wellness: Motivation influences behaviours related to fitness, diet, and overall well-being, impacting lifestyle choices.
- Relationships: Motivation plays a role in forming and maintaining relationships, driving social interactions, and fostering connections.
- Creativity and innovation: Motivation fuels creativity and the drive to explore new ideas or solutions.
- Goal-setting and achievement: Motivation is crucial in setting goals, staying committed to them, and achieving success in various endeavours.
- Emotional regulation: Motivation can affect emotional states and the ability to regulate emotions in response to different situations.
- Social causes and activism: Motivation drives individuals to engage in activism, support social causes, and work toward societal change.
- Personal projects and quality time: Motivation influences the pursuit of hobbies, interests, and personal projects, driving passion and dedication in these areas.
Setting the foundations for motivation
If you aren’t in a place, mentally, emotionally and physically, to work towards your aspirations, gaining motivation can be an uphill journey. Often, experiencing a lack of motivation can speak to more comprehensive or underlying struggles, especially if your once-burning passion seems to have disappeared overnight. When we’re overstretched, feeling depleted or have too many demands in other areas of our lives, we’re essentially running on empty – and in the same way, we can’t make a long car journey with no fuel, we also can’t push ourselves to grow without the internal resources to do so.
These resources could be physical – we need quality sleep, social fulfilment, a nourishing diet and regular exercise to perform at our best. They could also be mental or emotional resources – if we are experiencing difficulties in our relationships, grieving or experiencing high or prolonged levels of stress, this can also lead to a lack of motivation. It’s important to give yourself the space and time to ensure you are well before pushing yourself in other areas; you can’t build on unstable foundations.
How counselling can help build motivation
Counselling and therapy can support you in identifying the causes of your lack of motivation and help you find ways to regain your interest and passion. Therapy can also be transformative in reframing thinking and behavioural patterns which lead to a lack of motivation, steering you back towards your intended path. A skilled, compassionate integrative therapist can also aid you in reducing the stressful emotions and thought patterns entwined with your difficulty in re-motivating yourself. These thoughts can often weave a negative association around your aspirations, and therapy can help you to untangle and overcome these obstacles.
There are some actions which can help with motivation more generally speaking. These include:
- Looking at the bigger picture: What is behind your actions? Is it a desire to succeed? Making the world a better place? Supporting others? Hone in on what you really want, and write this down somewhere you can access it easily when you’re struggling to motivate yourself.
- Looking at your values: What morals are key to your identity? Do your goals align with these?
- Avoiding negative overthinking: Mindfulness and meditation can help to identify and reframe negative or spiralling thoughts. If you are struggling to do this alone, a trained therapist can support you in learning to examine and discard unhelpful thought patterns.
- Seeking professional support: By working with a counsellor or therapist to identify your goals, challenges and blockers, you can set a clear path towards your desired accomplishments, with support and guidance when you feel stuck.
- Rewarding yourself: This links back to the intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors. What rewards will genuinely drive you? For some, this will be a sense of purpose, for others, a slice of cake. Work with your brain to build positive associations between what you are trying to do and how you will get there.
- Setting goals: By identifying clear markers for when you have reached a milestone, you create a sense of success.
- Working with others: Whether it’s joining a community, engaging in shared activities, or just sharing your journey with loved ones or colleagues, you can harness external influence to aid you when you need it.
Remember, motivation isn’t consistent for anybody. We all experience natural ebbs and flows when it comes to inner drive, and there are times when pushing ourselves isn’t the right course of action. The key takeaway is to maintain a connection with the deeper meaning behind why you’ve set yourself your goals, and what you want to gain from them.
Talk with a Leone Centre Professional
If you do feel like you need some help and support, our Leone Centre professionals are available 7 days a week. Call us on 020 3930 1007. We can also provide fast track therapy.
We can offer in-person counselling in London appointments at our head office in Fulham and our offices in Kensington, Wimbledon and Belgravia, We also service Victoria, Putney, Chelsea, Knightsbridge, Mayfair, and City of London.
In addition, we offer Online Therapy appointments wherever in the world you are located, should this better fit around your existing commitments or if you are not able to attend an in-person appointment.