You’ve probably noticed how hard it is to be motivated all the time. So the question is “How to get motivated when you really don’t feel like it?”
Some of us are more motivated than others but we all go through these phases where we have ZERO motivation. I remember being the laziest student during my first degree. I would sleep in everyday, miss tons of lectures and didn’t have any motivation to study. Then, three years later, in my second degree, I completely turned it around. Now, I’m super motivated (of course not everyday but most days), wake up early, plan ahead and therefore I’m also much happier and experience less stress.
So even when you’re at a point in your life where you feel completely unmotivated, know that it’s totally possible to turn everything around.
In this article, I’m going to show you how but let’s first dive into “motivation” and where it’s coming from.
Where does motivation come from?
I think one of the most common misconceptions is that you can somehow “produce” or “fabricate” motivation. You will hear people say “ I will go to the gym when I have enough motivation”.
However, motivation is not something you naturally produce or a source you can pull from, but actually the RESULT of doing something, for example a habit or a routine.
When we look for motivation as a requirement to do something, we will end up feeling disappointed in ourselves because we most likely won’t show up.
Let’s take the example of going to the gym. When you wait for motivation to go the gym, you will probably never go there. However, when you CHOOSE to show up instead of waiting for the motivation to come naturally, it works out a lot better. Then you choose to go to the gym for 6 days and on the 7th day, the motivation finds you because you have made a habit out of it. We also become more motivated when we can feel that we’re getting better at something. So, we can resume that motivation is a conscious choice we have to make.
Start somewhere and then go from there
Especially, when we are just getting started because it’s the hardest part. Imagine you tried to get into a workout routine again after two years of pausing. Showing up will definitely be the hardest part but once you make the decision and follow through, it will get easier and you will feel motivated because you’re getting better at what you’re doing.
I used to be so lazy and inconsistent when it came to working out or going for run. Honestly, the only thing that helped was starting SOMEWHERE and not judging myself whether it was “good” or “bad”. When you develop a growth mindset, don’t label what you’re doing and just be proud of yourself for showing up.
You might ask yourself “What the hell is a growth mindset?” So let me explain it to you.
This concept was developed by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck and you can read all about it in her book “Mindset”
Having a fixed vs. a growth mindset
The “fixed mindset”
People believe that their talents and qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. They think that talent alone leads to success and that therefore effort is not required. When it comes to challenges, people with a fixed mindset avoid them at all cost because it might make them feel like they’re not talented or smart. So when things get tough, they use interest quickly and give up early.
The “growth mindset”
People with a growth mindset have the belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. So they like challenges and you could say that they even thrive in them. They want to stretch themselves because they know that they will grow and learn more. With this kind of mindset, even doing the hard things is more fun because you’re not judging yourself based on the result, but on the effort you put in.
I used to have such a fixed mindset. I would think I’m talented in “X” but will just never be good at “Y”. This even held me back from starting a blog because I thought “I like writing but I can never pull off the technical aspect of it.” Since developing a growth mindset, so many things have changed. I’m also a university student and my growth mindset made me take harder courses, learning more and enjoying the process at the same time.
Now let’s start with some practical things you can do when you don’t feel motivated but really want to get things done.
4 Ways To Get Motivated When You Really Don’t Feel Like It
1. Find an accountability partner
Most people work best when they have to fulfil external expectations. This could be in a job where they have to show up, in sports teams or meetings. So one of the most effective things to do is finding an accountability partner. Taking that first step is always the hardest and having someone who holds you accountable, can make it much easier for you.
You and your accountability partner agree to daily or weekly feedback sessions to share wins and talk about your current challenges.
Here are some benefits of an accountability partner:
- It’s a win-win situation. You coach someone while receiving value in return. Both of you can learn from each other
- It’s a very personal form of accountability. As we all know, there are many accountability apps out there but they don’t work for everyone because not sticking to your schedule on the app usually doesn’t end up having negative consequences.
2. Develop a pre-game routine
You will often find that if you can’t get motivated in the beginning, the motivation often comes after starting. The best thing to do here is to develop “mini-habits” that trigger the actual habit, a so-called pre-game routine. These habits need to be so small and easy that you almost cannot say “no” to them.
Here are some examples:
- Your studying routine could start with packing your bags for the library
- Your workout routine could start with laying out your workout clothes
Something as simple as that can then trigger your actual routine and make starting, which is the most important thing, a lot easier.
3. What is the cost of not doing what you wanted to do?
When we think about doing something daunting, we often only think about the struggle and how hard it will be. This then leads us to not doing it because we often don’t want to leave our comfort zone.
Instead of thinking about the struggle, think about the cost of inaction.
Ask yourself “What will not doing this thing cost me in one month/one year/five years?”
At least for me, it serves as a huge motivator because I never want to regret something.
You might also like: 3 Mindset Shifts That Will Change Your Life
4. Never forget why you started
When trying to reach a goal, it’s so important to have a strong “why” and keep it in mind when things get tough. It’s very likely that you have a reason why you started what you’re doing right now.
Let’s say you are studying a degree at university, there is probably a reason why you started. Maybe your degree is necessary for a specific career you want to pursue or you started going to the gym because you want to feel healthier.
However, if you cannot figure out a “why” at all, it’s very likely that you’re just doing something because of societal pressure of social status. So if possible, I highly recommend doing something else and even if you might be thinking now “No, it’s not possible”, there is always a way.
You can also watch this motivational video
I hope these tips helped you to get more motivated. The most important thing is really to just START and once you established a routine, motivation will come to you as a by-product. So whatever you need to get done today, start small, no matter how small but please start. Also start developing pre-game routines. Whenever I want to write a blog post, my pre-game routine is to just take notes and structure it. Once you started, it somehow is much easier to proceed.
I believe in you and have a beautiful day,