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Overcoming Motivation’s Biggest Demotivators

Motivation is a popular topic. It’s been discussed, rehashed and looked at from “a different angle” time and time again.

You might’ve read a book or an article and thought the whole way through, “Wow! I am motivated — this time it will be different.

And, perhaps you have learned a few tricks of the trade, and seen real results in your motivation. But ultimately, there comes a day or time where you feel truly unmotivated. It happens now and again, even with the best intentions.

Before we get into what motivates you, let’s talk about what demotivates you and tools to pull yourself out of an unmotivated rut.

A compelling article gives us the “7 Motivation Murderers”, which are notorious for killing motivation. Let’s take a look 5 of them (you may notice many of them overlap!).

1. Ingratitude

Ingratitude rears its ugly head, every time we think of what should be or what is missing. Ingratitude ignores all the positive going-ons of your life and hones in on what is missing — even if it is slight.

The result of ingratitude is a total unwillingness to do work because it feels utterly pointless.

How to Overcome It

Make a gratitude jar. Every night before bed, when you wake in the morning or when you’re feeling particularly grateful, write down your gratitude on a slip of paper and drop it into your gratitude jar.

Next time you’re feeling down and out about life, pluck a slip from your gratitude jar, and you’ll instantly be reminded of what you have to be grateful for.

2. Envy

Envy is another nasty beast to overcome. It’s characterized by the unrealistic ideals of someone else’s life. Envy deceives you by making you believe all grass is greener, other than your own.

The unpleasant truth is, once you get over to the other side, the supposed “greener” grass, you realize it’s all the same. The bottom line is, the only life worth living, worrying or caring about is yours.

Fussing over what others have, what they’ve accomplished and where that leaves you in comparison, is an unprecedented waste of your time and energy. Envy tricks you into believing you want what you don’t have.

How to Overcome It

Notice your reactions.

  • Do you rejoice in the face of others’ successes or become overcome with jealousy?
  • When a peer fails, are you relieved or sharing in their grief?

It’s important, to be honest with yourself and evaluate your reactions. If you’re waiting for the failure of another to validate your successes, you’ll be waiting for the wrong things.

What’s more, your motivation will take on a malicious intent and rather than surrounding yourself with inspiring, successful, ambitious individuals; you’ll seek relationships quite the opposite.

The best thing you can do is limit your exposure to the “highlight reels” of your peers, such as social media, and focus on yourself, your work and your future.

3. Impatience

Impatience creeps up when we do not see results, as fast as we’d like. It causes us to rush and hurry through tasks, which ultimately lead to poor performance and a job half-done. Multitasking is a result of impatience — when has that ever worked out?

When we become impatient, our brains turn into a disorganized scatter of thoughts, anxieties and insecurities, thus deeply affecting quality. The obvious truth is this: quality and impatience can not coexist.

How to Overcome It

Make a roadmap to success. Especially if you’re self-employed, a business owner, entrepreneur or simply an extremely busy person, it’s important to map out what you need to get done and when.

Start out by creating a “master list” of all the important projects you have to get through. For each “master item” create a sublist of smaller, actionable tasks.

You can set up your “master list” in order of priority or set due dates for their completion. From there, you can sync the prescribed due dates to your calendar or simply check off each item, as you go.

The biggest takeaway for impatience: focus on one thing at a time AND allow yourself to take breaks.

4. Overwhelm

Overwhelm is a fear-driven emotion and is all-encompassing when it takes hold. Suddenly, when there’s EVERYTHING to do, you can’t do any of it.

Instead, you’re riddled with the anxiety of the sheer volume of work ahead of you, with no clear definition of how you’re actually going to get it done.

Truth be told, being overwhelmed is perhaps the worst motivation murderer, as it paralyzes you against an action.

How to Overcome It

Think of it like a simple equation: rather than adding, adding, adding, start subtracting. I love this tip because it’s so simple in nature, yet profound in its results.

Start small by asking yourself what distractions you can subtract from your routine; social media, television, procrastination, hobbies, etc.

It’s not to say you have to cut them out entirely or can’t pick them up at a later date, but figure out how you can limit them, while you get your overwhelm under control.

A bigger, perhaps more challenging way of “subtracting” is asking for help: is there anyone you can turn to who can subtract from your work/responsibility load and lend a helping hand?

When it comes to being overwhelmed, you just need to get started. Take on small, easy tasks first, while you build motivation and confidence to tackle the bigger items.

5. Loss of Meaning

This one’s a doozy and can be a slow burn, building over time. For some, they wake up one morning asking, “What am I doing? How did I get here?”

For others, it’s a building nag, where they realize their line of work is utterly unsuitable to their personality. Both scenarios lack passion, the foundation of motivation. We crave meaning in life, a purpose, a why.

How to Overcome It

Don’t abandon all hope for your current line of work. You might be in a rut or it could be a more persistent problem. Nevertheless, don’t make any rash decisions in your moment of emotional uncertainty.

Take a critical view of your career and identify how it can be tweaked or changed.

  • How can you become better at your job so that it might create more and new opportunities?
  • Is there a training course or conference you could take part in, which might offer a new perspective?
  • Can you take on new clients, new projects or collaborate with a colleague?

The idea is to focus on the work you’re doing, rather than the reason behind it. If you can do that, you’ll find yourself in a whole new realm of possibility and work “flow,” which may cause you to realize you’ve been overthinking it all along.

What is your biggest demotivator? Have you been able to overcome it and see results?

Get access to a FREE CHAPTER of my book, where you’ll learn Five Keys to taking action that drives success.

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Overcoming Motivation's Biggest Demotivators
Motivation is a popular topic. Before we get into what motivates you, let’s talk about what demotivates you and tools to pull yourself out of an unmotivated rut.

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