If you lack motivation in life, say goodbye to these 6 habits

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I’ve always found motivation to be somewhat elusive and unpredictable.

Some days it’s there, but others it’s notably absent.

Whilst we can’t always control that, we can lean towards the habits which support it.

And that means turning our backs on the things that are doing us no favors.

1) Not getting enough sleep (but not sleeping too much either!)

There’s a Goldilocks spot in between the two that’s just right.

Yours may well be different to someone else’s. But generally speaking, the right amount of sleep is between 7-9 hours a night for most of us.

It can seem like such a little thing.

We imagine that our lack of motivation is caused by something far more existential than not getting enough shut-eye.

Maybe it is, but don’t underestimate the importance of the fundamentals. Sleep is vital for body and mind regulation.

When you don’t get enough you aren’t operating at maximum capacity. And that can impact everything from your productivity to your mood.

On the other hand, when we are feeling a bit down and depressed we can create a habit for oversleeping.

It becomes a way of avoiding the waking world and all its responsibilities.

That’s why it’s equally important to not overindulge and keep an eye on how many lie-ins you have.

It’s going to help if you can start your day the right way:

  • Getting straight out of bed when your alarm goes off
  • Making your bed and getting dressed
  • Creating a supportive morning routine

2) Moaning and complaining

Shall we be honest?

Having a little winge every now and then can be quite cathartic.

Getting your gripes out about your taskmaster boss may relieve your frustrations. But complaining can quickly become an insidious and habitual problem.

One which is inevitably demotivating.

When the world is such an annoying and unfair place to live, why even bother?

When we engage in complaining it releases the stress hormone cortisol into our system.

Not only that, but it’s actually rewiring your brain for negativity. So we start to train ourselves to have a gloomy outlook.

So perhaps we should all heed the words of psychologist Jeffrey Lohr, who has studied venting:

“People don’t break wind in elevators more than they have to. Venting anger is…similar to emotional farting in a closed area. It sounds like a good idea, but it’s dead wrong,”

Trying our best to cultivate a positive mental attitude is going to do a whole lot more for your motivation levels.

3) Getting lost in distractions

No one has ever found the motivation they were needing by scrolling through their Facebook feed.

Let’s be honest, we’re not really looking for inspiring content, we’re just looking for a way to numb the boredom.

But not all pleasant distractions are equal.

Some in the long run are going to rob your motivation from you. Ones that do include:

  • Social media
  • TV
  • Shopping
  • Playing with electronics

They take our attention away from the job at hand.

But it is still important to take breaks and make time for self-care.  So the trick is to choose activities that work better at recharging your battery:

  • Gentle exercise
  • Taking a walk in nature
  • Meditation
  • Breathwork
  • Reading
  • Listening to music/podcast

4) Giving up too soon

In the introduction, I mentioned motivation’s annoying habit of waning just when you need it most.

Curious to understand why this happens, I did some digging.

Research has found that when we reach the middle of something (a goal or a task) that’s when we’re tempted to give up.

The reason being — both the enthusiasm we felt in getting started and the enthusiasm we’ll feel at accomplishing it feel too distant.

This gives the impression that our efforts aren’t paying off. And what can be more demotivating than that?!

The point is that they are, we just don’t feel that way.

That’s why cultivating greater patience, tenacity, and perseverance is key.

It’s no coincidence that these are qualities that the most successful people in society have developed.

If you feel like you can’t be bothered there’s a lot to be said for simply keeping on going.

It’s also a good idea to find ways of appreciating and recognizing your small wins so that you feel encouraged along the way.

5) Being disorganized

I have a love/hate relationship with routine.

The freedom lover in me feels very easily tied down by it. There’s nothing worse than obligation and the burden of what I “should” be doing.

But no matter how restrictive I find a routine, I know that I also need it sometimes. Without it, I’m not sure if I’d get anything done.

Because I’ve found that waiting for inspiration and drive to magically strike on their own doesn’t work out for me.

Only on very infrequent occasions has some sort of mystical stirring to take definitive action ever materialized.

99% of the time, we need some systems and support in place to make things happen.

When we’re disorganized we may be more prone to indecision, procrastination, overwhelm, and a general lack of focus.

So maybe you’re not as lazy as you think, but you could do with creating a little more order out of the chaos.

6) Chasing the wrong things

Finding life purpose and meaning is important to our well-being and satisfaction.

When we don’t know what we want, it’s hard to find the drive within us. Yet it’s so incredibly common to not feel like you’ve found your purpose yet.

In the pursuit of discovering it, we can get a little waylaid.

We get lost chasing the wrong things. Or we get fooled into thinking that happiness and contentment are hiding in places that they’re actually not.

It’s a common trap.

But when we chase the wrong things, it strips us of our motivation. When we set the “wrong” goals for ourselves, we take little joy in getting started with them. 

We may feel a lack of clarity and pretty wishy-washy about what we’re doing it for. We’re not in touch with our reasons “why”.

Our plans may be lacking in the challenge we need in order to feel stimulated, so we’re not exactly excited to sink our teeth into them.

Or we may be avoiding what we really want out of fear.

That’s why it’s a good idea to check in with your desires, goals, and plans and see whether they’re serving you.

The worst thing you can do for your motivation levels is beat yourself up

Whenever you feel lacking in motivation it’s important to practice self-compassion.

Coming down on yourself hard isn’t going to spur you into action. It’s just likely to burden you with more guilt, shame, and anxiety.

And so you reinforce a vicious cycle that becomes even more demotivating.

Instead, get curious about your motivation levels and what impacts them. That way you can better support yourself in what you need.

And above all else, cut yourself some slack. Offer yourself kind words of encouragement instead of harsh self-criticism.

Louise Jackson

My passion in life is communication in all its many forms. I enjoy nothing more than deep chats about life, love and the Universe. With a masters degree in Journalism, I’m a former BBC news reporter and newsreader. But around 8 years ago I swapped the studio for a life on the open road. Lisbon, Portugal is currently where I call home. My personal development articles have featured in Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Thrive Global and more.

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