Ruts happen. We all know the tug that extra baggage can impose when we fail to shed the stress and negativity we pick up during our worst days. Demotivation can strip us of every bit of our momentum, even stop us in our tracks if it becomes heavy enough. Finding the inertia to continue forward may feel all but impossible.
Loss of motivation happens to the best of us, and it might even drag us down for a short while. The key is minimizing its effects, which means tackling it as early as possible.
Pinpointing the Cause
We often feel a lack of motivation as a symptom of other issues that are affecting us. Often, if we can determine what exactly is sapping our energy, we can form plans to tackle it and shift gears back to our more productive selves.
Common sources of lost motivation include:
- Fear can hold us back in unexpected ways, freezing us in our tracks even when we want nothing more than to push forward.
- Unclear goals make setting a direction and sticking to it difficult, which can lead to discouragement and disappointment.
- Self-doubt can keep us from trying at all, holding us back with self-imposed limitations.
- Loneliness may chip away at self-worth and sense of purpose. Even introverts need interaction with other human beings.
- Burnout is the result of too much work and too little self-care.
- Feeling undervalued can steal the steam from even the most motivated of individuals.
- Conflicted feelings, over personal ideals, for example, can also take a major toll.
Once we have an idea of what’s causing the issue, we can begin looking for ways to turn it around. We might find it helpful to clarify our goals and then list the steps it will take to reach them, or we might need to address specific problems that are underlying how we feel.
Actions some people may find helpful include:
- Practicing self-assertion can improve self-esteem and help fortify our path. This skill may require some patience; role-playing with a trusted person can be helpful.
- Facing fears is often harder in our minds than in actual practice. It’s okay to be afraid — but it’s not okay to let that fear hold us back. Every fear we face and survive adds strength to our resolve.
- Seeking new challenges to fill old gaps engages the mind and adds exciting, new goals to work toward, and a sense of accomplishment can jump-start enthusiasm for other endeavors.
- Taking personal inventory on personal values, goals and life choices can go a long way in determining if it’s time for a change in career, location or lifestyle.
- Shifting gears can offer a breather when the rut gets to be too much. Try tackling a project that’s been sitting on the back burner, asking for that promotion at work, or just setting aside some time to enjoy a nice day.
- Seeking help, if needed, for grief, loneliness or burnout. Self-care can go a long way, but sometimes we face issues that are simply beyond our personal scope.
Demotivation always has some type of void at its root; when we find effective ways to fill it, the inspiration we’ve been missing and the energy to carry out our ideas will return.
The demotivation cycle can be tough to kick, especially when we’ve dug ourselves into a rut. The first step is always the hardest, because it must break past the immobilization trapping us, but the work gets easier from there. In many cases, breakthrough comes when we fully explore one vital question: How badly do I want this? Of course, will alone isn’t likely to pull us free, but it’s a necessary component to self-improvement — and combined with the right tools and a little patience, contentment and productivity are possible once more.
Inspiration awaits, and the roadblock isn’t nearly as formidable as it looks. You just need a game plan. How will you carve your path?