It’s just 9 weeks until Christmas and there really couldn’t be a worse time to feel demotivated to attend the gym. Keeping your training mojo alive until the New Year should be numero uno on your wish list and if you can’t stretch to a goal beyond this that’s fine… You just have to keep that candle of progress burning until more motivated times arrive on your door step… namely January, when the world and his wife muster the motivation of a thousand Dwayne Johnson’s for the best part of a 30 day period.
You know it! I know it! Now is not the time to be riding the pity train. Those workouts need doing now more than ever!! And it’s only you that can make them happen!
You are not alone, I’ve been struggling myself to hang on to my healthy lifestyle recently and with that my sanity! (Training keeps me sane! FACT!) I could be doing better, and I’m working on that. More importantly I could be doing a lot worse and I’m holding on to the fact that I could just give up all together god knows it’d be the easier option right now!
Besides me, a fair few members of Sweat Shed have voiced their struggles with motivation and there are others who haven’t but I can only assume they are struggling as well as I’ve not seen them in a while.
Let’s see if we can’t make a start on at least addressing the issue even if we can’t solve it today. Here’s 10 reasons why people can start to feel unmotivated… and ways we can maybe look to counteract those negative feelings.
1. Only seeing the bad side in anything that happens.
As feelings of being demotivated start to creep in, it’s almost impossible not to have a terribly pessimistic view on your chances of success.
Psychologists call this having a low level of self-efficacy, which is an individual’s belief in their ability to achieve. If we only expect negative outcomes and bad results from our actions it’s easy to see why we choose not to bother in the first place.
What to do?
The secret to staying motivated in this situation is to actively seek out the positive outcomes that are there in your everyday, you’re just choosing to ignore them. Nobody experiences only bad results every day of their life, you’ve just conditioned yourself to being more sensitive in recognising the bad over the good. You need to start work on altering this outlook. A win is a win no matter how insignificant it may appear. Once you open up your thought processes to the possibility that in fact the chances of success aren’t as doomed as you first thought, it makes trying that little bit easier.
2. Forgetting the benefits and rewards.
As you start to feel unmotivated you get distracted by the challenge / the task or the problem. All you can think about is the effort, the time involved, the work that will be required in achieving a favourable outcome. But anything worth doing or achieving won’t ever come easily! Stop thinking about the climb and start thinking about how glorious the view will be from the top! Demotivated people forget to think of the long-term rewards and benefits, which is an essential element in motivation. “What do I get in return for my work?”
What to do?
This is an easy fix! Every time you feel unmotivated, visualize the rewards you’re working towards! This can be done purely in your head or bring it to life by changing your phone wallpaper put a photo where you’ll see it a lot! Possibly in a place where your motivation may be at it’s lowest? On the fridge may help you make better diet choices? In the car may help in not letting the rush hour traffic cause you to bail on a workout. Another fix here is to have stages of rewards. So if you have a big goal that may take some time to achieve, plan some mile stone rewards to celebrate smaller victories on the way to big win.
3. Stop setting unrealistic goals.
Setting goals in life or in the gym is a very important part of making progress. But those goals need to be realistic and on the most part achievable. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for a loss from the outset. Demotivation sets in because we feel we’re making no progress, nothing’s changing, all the work we’re doing… and for what!?
What to do?
A much better approach is to break down big goals into smaller challenges, where one can see results in a much shorter space of time and acknowledge that progress is being made. This will bring much more motivation and encouragement to an individual to help them see a project through to the end.
4. You’re not building mini habits.
This is kind of linked to the above point but we’ll talk about it anyway. So you have this grand overview of how things should be playing out for you in life. The thing is you’re not just going to wake up tomorrow and everything has fallen into place. You can decide to have a good go at being the perfect spouse, parent, friend, gym-attendee and healthy eater the world has ever seen all at once tomorrow… But to attempt all the change required for that in one day won’t end well. So, when you fail to live up to it all, you feel defeated and unmotivated. When the truth is that to achieve greatness, it’s about the small things you do every day.
What to do?
To help with demotivation you must start with one mini habit at a time and gradually progress. This could be attending one class at the gym this week, eating one less donut, bring your wife flowers home, wash the pots or do their homework with the kids. The idea is to build these small personal mini habits that alone don’t take much effort but when they all come together create this overall better you.
5. You’re not Seizing the day!
Have you noticed how being demotivated leaves you flat and lethargic. You just never really get going all day, do you? How much time today have you spent thinking about how crap you feel and how unmotivated you feel? The truth is today could be the day it all starts to change if you let it. Make choices and seek out the opportunities that give you a chance of success, health and happiness. Go to the gym, eat the salad, start the conversation.
What to do?
Treat every day like it’s January 1st or A Monday. Every day is a chance to turn it all around. Look at everything as a potential opportunity to benefit your position and take the risk.
6. Nobody cares, work harder!
You can’t have the reward without putting in the work. In a world hooked on immediate gratification it’s easy to become demotivated when we don’t get what we want as fast as we’d like.
What to do?
There’s no lovey-dovey way to put this one I’m afraid. At times life is a slog! A grind! It’ll take you close to your limit and then push you some more… Perhaps this particular spell of demotivation is one of these beauties… The ‘what to do’ here is quite simple… Maybe you’ve been doing everything right so far, maybe you haven’t, either way you’re not home free yet… You haven’t got what you came for… What you set out for in the beginning… Nobody else cares why you haven’t hit your goals yet… You’re in the grind… Like Churchill said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going! Maybe you’ve just not been at it long enough or you ain’t been putting enough effort in… In this case now’s not the time to bitch and moan about waning motivation… Pull up your socks sweetheart… get your head down and work harder!
7. Stop playing the blame game.
It is always somebody else’s fault when you didn’t get the outcome you wanted. It’s not your fault that you didn’t get your workout in tonight. It was the traffic, of course. But you could have trained when you got home or gone for a run. The fact is that you cannot control everything in your life but you can control your responses to it. Boss makes you stay late… Traffic is shit… Feeling hungover… You didn’t sleep well… Husband pissing you off… You need to recognise that you have full control over how you let these events impact your life. Instead of using them as excuses to blame as to why you feel motivated. React well to them, succeed in spite of them and then see how your motivation sky rockets! You’re thriving even when life is against you.
What to do?
Take full responsibility for what happened / happens to you. When you realise you cannot control everything in life but you can control how you react. You stop reaching out for excuses and start focusing on resolutions. Stop complaining and take control of your life.
8. Learn to use your time wisely.
I’m pretty sure nobody uses every second of a day productively but when you’re unmotivated you waste more time than usual.
What to do?
Stop procrastinating! When we’re demotivated, we spend a lot of time thinking about all the stuff that needs doing and how we just don’t have enough time. You could have started on that to do list, been and done that workout and drawn up an itinerary for the next day. But instead you watched some TV, descaled the kettle, played some bejewelled and watched 18 mins of cat videos on YouTube. We all get the same 24 hours. It’s not that you don’t have time, it’s that you’re not making your time work for you and your priorities aren’t aligned with your goals. When you don’t achieve everything or even anything you intended to in a day you’’ start to feel demotivated. The best way to stay motivated, stop thinking and start doing, the clock’s ticking!
9. Stop dwelling on your lack of motivation.
You’re sat thinking about how lazy you’ve become. How this isn’t like you but you just don’t know how to stop the rot. Woe is me! Things are poo! Etc etc… When you spend time thinking of all the stuff lacking from your day, your week, your life right now, you block yourself off to devising solutions and demotivation takes hold. What you focus on you attract! However, when they concentrate on the actual skills, talents and qualities they possess, they become much more motivated. Negative thoughts will drag you downwards in a horrible spiral. Positive thoughts help you soar above the crowd.
What to do?
Concentrate on what steps you need to make to start to introduce change. Negativity breeds negativity! So think positive! List 5 things you can do this week that will help you feel more motivated! Get up and go to the gym in the morning. Prepare healthy lunches for every day at work. Maybe think of something you can do right now to help feel more motivated? Listen to your favourite song? Watch a highlight clip of your favourite sporting star? Believe in yourself! Assure yourself this is temporary! You are not a unmotivated person! You are an action taker! And starting right now, with the smallest of steps you will take 1 action that will bring a little more motivation back in to your life.
10. They rely on social media.
Everybody is prone to being less motivated by the appearance or success of others, flaunting their status on Facebook. Everybody else isn’t happier than you! You’re not the only one who is struggling! Everything looks better through a filter! Social Media is not real life!! Stop comparing the worst bits of your life with the highlight reels of your peers.
What to do?
There’re are a few strategies here. You could Audit the profiles you follow. Do you have friends who flaunt their ‘amazing’ life every day? Friends who are forever posting negativity? You need to unfollow any profiles whose posts leave you feeling discontent or down. Create a positive scrolling experience with the addition of more uplifting content and less superficial crap. Maybe take a full break from social media if that’s possible? It won’t kill you, it’ll still be there when you come back and anything important I’m sure somebody will pass on the info. The end to your demotivation will not come about via likes and hearts. The time you’re scrolling could be better spent… And most of the content your consuming is of little to no use to you… If you’re feeling demotivated… half your social media exposure for a week… let me know if you still feel as bad? I’m gonna say no.
Sorry the post is a bit all over the place, I just wanted to start to unravel some themes of why I think motivation can slip at times. These are all reasons I’ve experienced personally at some point in life and I think I’ve also been struggling with a few recently as well. This has been a very therapeutic experience for myself jotting all these ideas down this afternoon I really hope all or some of what I’ve said strikes a chord with you.
So out of these many reasons why we feel unmotivated, which one fits your case most? Maybe it’s a combination?
Knowing your reason why you don’t feel motivated is a great start. As it can help you form a plan to tackle its root cause. Stop procrastinating, take your first step to make a small change. Make that small change a daily habit, repeat, repeat, repeat and you will be feeling more and more motivated by the day!