Motivation is the driving force to the feeling of wanting to get things done and accomplish your goals.
Our society may send the message that one should always have high levels of motivation, but in reality, it is completely normal for your motivation levels to fluctuate.
Some days you may be feeling ready to take on the world, and some days you may struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
This fluctuation is common, and you are not alone. Emily Snihurowych, a practicing counsellor here at Cornerstone, says that a lack of motivation only turns into a problem when it starts to have a negative impact on your life, and if it lasts for much longer than what is normal for you.
To distinguish whether or not your lack of motivation is within your natural fluctuation, or if it is becoming a problem for you, here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself:
- “Have I always felt this way?”
- “Did something happen in my life recently that could have affected me more than I thought?”
These questions allow for introspection and can help to identify what triggered your motivation to drop in the first place. Answering these questions is the first step in your journey!
Emily also finds the triangle of thoughts, actions, and feelings to be very helpful. A change in one point on the triangle will cause a change in the other two. The hardest to change in the triangle are thoughts and feelings.
This means that the easiest way to treat your lack of motivation is with your actions. Start with small, simple goals that you remember enjoying in the past.
For example, if you have trouble getting out of bed, identify something that you remember enjoying doing in the past when you woke up. Things that you may find pleasure in could include making your first cup of coffee in the morning, sitting on your porch in the fresh morning air, or playing with a pet. This is an example of positively changing your actions, and this will eventually lead to a positive shift in your thoughts and feelings. Motivation and pleasure go hand-in-hand, so doing something that you find pleasure in will help to boost your motivation overall.
“It’s not a straight path up the mountain.” – Emily Snihurowych
At the start of your journey, you may be wondering if there is an expected timeframe for you to start feeling better. Emily says that there is no timeframe because everyone’s journey will look different. In fact, making a timeframe can even create an unneeded sense of pressure. Emily also notes that at times in your journey, it is not unusual to feel like you took one step forward and two steps back. This is just because of the natural fluctuations we all experience as human beings.
Although it may not seem like it at first, every goal you accomplish makes a change and is valuable no matter how small it may appear. Each day you can ask yourself, “What is my mind able to do today?” and then go from there. Be as kind and forgiving to yourself as you would be to somebody else that is going through the same thing.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone. Experiencing a lack of motivation is completely normal. It is easy to be overly critical on yourself when you have memories of what you used to be able to do or accomplish, but you must not compare yourself to your ideals or even to other people. You are unique, and you come with your own unique set of strengths and capabilities.
Blog post by Logan Hedberg, Volunteer