By Gena Anderson
This year started well. I was motivated to feel, look, and do better. I cut out excess spending and sugar, making my waistline smaller, wallet fatter, and by mid-February my overall health was noticeably better. Unlike the typical quickly fading resolution, I stuck with my efforts for several months.
But then March came, and my motivation left. I found myself sleeping in and skipping workouts. Sweets found their way back into my pantry, and subsequently, my belly. My time in the Word decreased and time-wasting increased. Taking note of my declining desire to pursue my passions, I spent some time considering why this happens.
Why do we lose our motivation?
The last few weeks I paid attention to my attitude, the words and attitudes of others, and the knowledge I already have regarding motivation. This was not difficult since I spend most of my days motivating others to better their health. Funny how sometimes things we perceive as unclear come into focus when we look at them. I’ve taken what I gathered and observed, and sorted it into six topics that often decrease motivation, and just might be killing yours.
Simply stated, if we are tired we need to rest. We all have seasons where we push to meet a goal and work harder on a project than we normally would, but that cannot be every season. If you’ve lost your motivation, try spending some time focusing on rest. Prioritize a weekly Sabbath. Plan daily time to relax. Making rest a priority makes us able to work, and going too long without rest will rob us of our desire to do anything worthwhile.
Lack of Accomplishment
When we put in the work but do not progress as expected it’s discouraging. Whether you are starting a business, learning a skill, or improving your health, accomplishment is motivating. If you find yourself saying “I give up” you are probably in need of a short term win. Lack of accomplishment is not an indication to stop if you know you’re aiming at the right target, but it might be a call to evaluate your methods and try something new.
We have all been there. We know what we want to do, what goals we want to reach, but we become paralyzed by the what-ifs. What if I fail? What if no one notices? Or worse, what if they do and they don’t like what I’ve done? If you are second-guessing every step, over-thinking every decision, or procrastinating moving forward you are likely letting fear dictate your actions. Consider what might be the root of your fear, because acknowledgment is the first step to overcoming any obstacle. Once you know what you’re afraid of it often seems less scary, and it loses its power to crush our motivation just a little more each time we face it.
I help people lose weight and a common obstacle is lack of direction. People come to me with half thought out plans to get fit using pills and potions, a new gym membership, and the latest fad diet. They throw these things together and make the fitness version of trash can punch and then quickly lose hope when they don’t succeed. Components of their plan certainly have value, if utilized in a realistic and specific manner. We change the goal from “lose 25 pounds as quickly as possible” to “exercise for 30 minutes three days per week,” and “eat one serving of vegetables every day,” instantly they feel motivated. The difference is I have replaced their big and ambiguous goals with specific and realistic ones that will move them in the direction they desire.
God created us to work together. If we work alone too long it can get discouraging and we can get distracted. If it has been a while since you shared your thoughts and dreams, or partnered up to take a next step, maybe it’s time to phone a friend. We may have personal ambitions, but sometimes it works better to walk alongside other people to see those ambitions come to fruition.
Sometimes we lose motivation due to self sabotage we like to call bad habits. Drink too much? That’s a motivation robber. Have a bad diet? That’s a sure way to function at your lowest proficiency. Not getting enough sleep? Many times my motivation is increased from one day to the next through a good night’s sleep. If there is something you are doing that is stealing your motivation, address it. Then, see what happens when you replace that unhealthy habit with something better.
The best way to recover stolen property is to identify the thief. What is stealing your motivation? And what are you going to do to get it back?