If you feel like you’ve lost motivation recently, take a moment to think about what it’ll take to get back on track.
We all experience ups and downs of motivation. It’s perfectly normal, but it can become a problem when it derails you from your goals
1) What does motivation mean to you?
The first question you should ask yourself is what motivation means to you.
Think back to the last time when you were motivated: what were you doing, feeling and saying to yourself that resulted in a sense of motivation ?
Next think about what are you doing, feeling and saying to yourself NOW, when you have a sense of lost motivated?
It’s important to get some clarity on what it means to you because it’s different for all of us.
If you just wrap up your thoughts and feelings with the ‘I’m not motivated’ story, you’re likely to miss signals that it’s on its way back.
2) Up and down the scale
Mark yourself on a scale of 1-10 with how motivated you are feeling right now.
Why did you choose that number?
How come you didn’t pick a lower number?
A 2 or a 3 are pretty low, but why not a 1 or a 2?
And if you did pick 1 (or 0 even!), could you imagine feeling any less motivated than you are right now? (hint: if the answer is yes you’re probably at a higher number than you originally thought!)
By acknowledging that you do have some things still going in your favour, you’re start to give the ‘I’m not motivated’ story some substance.
What would it take to nudge your motivation up by ONE point?
Motivation ebbs and flows, but it’s not usually a binary on / off.
Some days we feel more engaged with our goals than others, but it’s a sliding scale rather than black or white.
What would it feel like if you were just a bit more motivated? How could you take your score just ONE place up the scale; from a 5 to a 6, or from a 2 to a 3?
When you’re not feeling the love for your goals it can seem like an impossible task to get back to the buzz of 100% fired up.
But shifting just a little way in the right direction can often be enough to get things moving again.
3) Reconnect with WHY
Sometimes when we’ve lost motivation for a goal it’s because we’ve forgotten why we’re pursuing it in the first place.
Go back to the beginning and remind yourself what it was about the goal that was so important to you.
Creating a compelling vision of a future version of you and clearly defining a powerful reason why you want to get there can make it easier to reconnect to your motivation when you feel it start to dip.
4) How much of a problem is it?
Sometimes we feel like we should be chasing a goal because everybody else is, and then beat ourselves up for not feeling motivated with it.
But if you weren’t pursuing something right now, how much of a problem would that be?
Sometimes a loss of motivation is a sign that we’re on the wrong path.
A few years ago I set myself the challenge of running a sub-50 second 400m.
It had been my main event at university but I never quite managed to break the barrier.
I wanted to see if I could run faster in my 30s than I was in my 20s, so I set about training on the track twice a week.
I kept it going for about 3 weeks but quickly found my motivation lacking.
I tried to reconnect with my original purpose for taking on the challenge, but it wasn’t compelling enough to warrent the horror of running endless 300m repeats all by myself.
So I quit, and shifted my focus to a new goal that I felt much closer to.
Lost motivation can be a sign that you’re leaning your ladder up against the wrong wall.
5) Is motivation necessary?
If we relied on the buzz of motivated to take action, we’d never achieve a thing.
Instead of trying to sustain motivation, focus on building habits and creating routine.
You don’t get excited about brushing your teeth twice a day, yet you still do it.
Not feeling motivated to do something doesn’t have to be a reason to not do it.
Getting out of bed at 6am to go for a run in the dark isn’t everybody’s idea of fun, but people still do it despite not waking up motivated.
If your perceived lack of motivation is stopping you from taking action, what simple habits or routines can you start to develop to get going again?
6) Where is your focus?
You can’t get a result you love by doing something you hate.
If your focus is solely on the expected outcome, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever fall in love with the process.
The actions you take are the manifestations of who you want to be.
The result may be how you’re measured in the real world, but it’s the daily grind of small consistent actions that carve the image in your mind of who you really are.
Don’t just see the top of the mountain, see the mountain.
Define what motivation means to you.
What would need to happen to increase it by a small amount?
Why is your goal so important in the first place? If it’s not compelling enough, consider that it might be the wrong goal for you at this time.
Build habits and routines rather than relying on motivation to drive your actions.
Focus on the process rather than the outcome.