Motivation is a strange thing. It is the inner drive towards a particular goal and is the very thing that keeps you persisting and pushing through. In many ways, motivation is what gets us out of bed in the morning as we are motivated to succeed at our jobs, receive a salary and pay our bills.
Motivation carries with it energy and drive and is one of the most important factors in achieving success. However, motivation is not just a simple concept – there are different types or levels of motivation that are driven by different factors. For example the man who has recently found out he has heart disease will be motivated to stop smoking in a different way and intensity than the man whose wife has asked him to stop. Similarly, the single mother may be motivated in a different way and intensity to land a promotion than the mother who doesn’t really need to work.
Nonetheless, we all need motivation to get us up and moving and achieving our goals, whatever those may be. Losing motivation can be a devastating experience and means losing enthusiasm, drive and ambition. There are a variety of reasons for lack in motivation and one needs to explore the recent events that have led to the loss in motivation, including the use of alcohol and drugs as these can result in apathy (the nemesis of motivation). One also needs to look at how long this loss of motivation has been going as lack of motivation is often a clear symptom of depression and anxiety, which would need to be treated.
Seeking help in the form of counselling from a psychologist in this area can be very beneficial to identify the contributing factors to the lack of motivation. Working at getting your motivation back is not a simple task and, if there is an underlying issue such as depression or drug abuse then those issues will need to be addressed. However, having said that, we sometimes feel demotivated when the going gets tough, when we feel stressed or overwhelmed by a particular task or goal or when we are simply burnt out.
Addressing these factors can help you regain your motivation. Self-care is probably the best fuel for motivation. Making sure you are rested and well nourished, as well as having some fun and good rewards for your hard work are important elements to keep you going when the going gets tough. If the task or goal seems overwhelming and unachievable, get a bit more realistic about what you are setting yourself up for. Break the goal down into smaller achievable parts that can keep you feeling like you are progressing and getting somewhere.
Often we just need a little taste of success to keep motivated, so setting smaller goals will help this along. Remind yourself of where you want to be and create a “vision board” to keep your sights on the goal. Knowing where you want to be will also re-ignite the motivation to get there. If you need support, feel free to contact our psychologists today for assistance!
Delaney is a senior registered psychologist working with people of all backgrounds and with a special interest in LGBTI+ people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, and Indigenous people.