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Feeling demotivated? Here's how to get unstuck.

We've all had those days when even getting out of bed can feel like an impossible task, let alone having enough energy to tackle the demands of the day.

The thing about motivation that we need to understand is that it is not a personality trait. People are not inherently born motivated to do things and it is not something that you either are or aren't.

Motivation is a learned skill that you practice alongside discipline - another learned skill. Both motivation and discipline are essential in achieving your goals but they are also incremental to your overall happiness, wellbeing and sense of fulfillment.

When you think about your feelings around motivation, how do you describe and communicate them? Are you more likely to say "I'm feeling demotivated to do X" or "I lack the motivation for X"?

This is an important distinction: Feeling demotivated to do something means you are experiencing a temporary "stuck state of mind". There are many factors that can contribute to this stuck state such as fear of failure, lack of recognition for having achieved a similar task in the past, as well as, struggling with your own self-confidence.

That said, "lack of motivation" is an unsustainable statement. Since motivation is a learned life skill, it is impossible to lack it entirely.

Even at a very young age, you felt motivated to accomplish tasks such as learning the rules of a game, how to interact and communicate with others and how to follow a simple process that would get you the result you wanted (for example, I need to clean my room if I want to get dessert).

So here's a simple fact that is also your first step towards feeling motivated again: you already possess the skill of motivation.

What is missing is the process that will get you from A (your current stuck state) to B (your goal).

If the process isn't clear or it has too many complicated steps, it will be really hard to follow. The more complex the process, the harder it is to follow it or even get started with it at all.

How to start feeling motivated again:

  1. Make sure that your goal is clear and specific. Are you trying to "be better at your job" or do you want to "increase your responsiveness rate to emails by 10%"?

  2. Define the actions that will get you from where you are right now to where you want to be. For example, if your goal is to change jobs by the end of the year, what are the steps you need to take? Rewriting your CV, networking with people, applying to jobs etc.

  3. Break down the actions into small or even tiny steps. This is called "chunking down". Each chunk is 100% doable and easy to achieve. Is rewriting your CV too much to do right now? How about you just start by writing 3 bullet points that describe your current role?

  4. Dedicate a specific time slot every day for completing one chunk. The time slot can range from 5 mins to 1 hour for the days you are feeling more energized. But the time slot can never be zero. This is the most important step for successful habit building (see diagram below).

  5. Carry on with this plan until you have achieved your goal.

  6. You will be making progress every single day so don't forget to reward yourself for your effort and hard work. Taking a moment to celebrate your achievements will make it easier to feel motivated again when you next goal is set.

It's all about rewiring your brain: here's how you unlock motivation in your brain by following the steps above

So if it's hard to find the motivation to do something, remember: you are already proficient in the skill of motivation. Focus on the small actions that will get you closer to your goal and your motivation will find you.


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