Motivation. It's the impetus behind one's wants, needs, and actions, and gives direction to our behaviours. Of crucial importance to our success and achievement, it breathes life to our drive and passion. But what happens when we find our motivation faltering? When we feel as though the metaphorical 'wind beneath our wings' vanishes?
Recently, a good friend asked me a very direct and poignant question, "In your professional opinion, how would you go about helping someone who says they've got no motivation or desire to do much, and are generally unhappy?" There are many facets when exploring a lack in motivation, but to ultimately remedy the situation, one needs to discover the why behind the absence in order to begin moving forward once more. Often, some outside factor impinges upon us, and we latch onto it; typically, it lasts briefly, and the change in our motivation and behaviour becomes self-imposed. Perhaps you were put down; maybe your relationship ended; you may have gotten a new boss at work who has changed your opinion of your job. Regardless of the factor, something has affected your willingness to motivate, and tracing the pattern back to its source will help in improving your lot.
When peeling back the layers in an attempt to understand the 'why' behind a lack of motivation, it is important to think back to a time when you were motivated and driven to succeed. Whilst not always the easiest exercise, if you can pinpoint the last time you were motivated, you can find clues as to what pulled you off track. So often, those external factors I spoke about above prey on our fears (of success, failure, etc.) and perceived deficiencies (lack of self-confidence or self-worth, etc.). They happen, and we hold onto them, because unfortunately, it's often easier to believe the 'bad' things about ourselves than the 'good'. The result is a downward spiral in our emotions, a self-imposed degradation in self-worth, and, ultimately, a lack or complete absence of motivation.
The key to turning yourself around, as I alluded to, is discovering the point where you transitioned from a motivated and driven individual to a downtrodden and direction-less one. Focusing on what got you motivated in the first place is going to be your keystone, and feeling confident about your ability to succeed -- even in the face of adversity -- will help you to overcome the malaise you find yourself in. In situations like these, I often encourage clients to be mindful for what they are grateful for in their lives. It's so easy to focus on, and greatly over-emphasize the magnitude of, the perceived problems we have in our lives, that we forget what amazing positives surround us. I'm not suggesting that thinking happy thoughts will immediately cure you; rather, that the exercise re-frames the way you're thinking into a much more positive light -- which is far easier to build motivation from than when you're down in the figurative 'dumps'.
Reminding yourself about a time when you were motivated will likely not solve whatever factor pulled you off track in the first place; however, it will remind you that you have passion and drive within you. Placing yourself in that mindset once more will instill you with confidence, and allow for a much easier time dealing with the factor in question, as you are less likely to be pulled down into its negativity. Look at the factor, whatever it may be, and tell yourself, "this does not define me", and know that you control how far that factor pulls you from your motivated self. We all get wrapped up in the moment-to-moment present, but if you exercise mindfulness and awareness, you will be less likely to stay wrapped up for long. You create your motivation just as much as you create an absence of it; love yourself, be grateful for everything you do have in your life, and you'll much more easily keep your passion and drive alive!
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