Helpful articles for overcoming life's challenges

Waiting for Motivation to Show Up?

One of the themes that repeatedly comes up in therapy with adults and adolescents is a complaint about a general “lack of motivation” or “I’m just not motivated to do anything.” I see a lot of people who are feeling pretty stuck in their lives and even in a way, lost. Motivation is a pretty tricky concept and the thought “I’m just not motivated” is pretty powerful.  It is probably more powerful than most people realize. This thought is tricky because believing in a lack of motivation leads one to also somehow believe that motivation is necessary for action. This is where your mind is no longer your friend.

So, I like to ask, “Well, what would you be doing if you were motivated?” or “What would be different if you were motivated?” People answer this in various ways, but what it usually comes down to is that they would be out there living life much more in line with what they care about. They would be spending more time with their families or more quality time with their friends. Or they would take better care of themselves. They might go to the gym or walk the stairs instead of taking the elevator. The illusion or the lie our brain tells us is that we need some special “motivation” to do these things. WE DON’T. We need to remember what is important to us and what actually matters and then ACT on that. Commit to what is important without waiting for lightning bolts of “motivation” to strike us. Doing what is important is not always easy, however spending our valuable time wishing we had positive thoughts or inspiration so we can ACT, well that’s harder because this is how we stay stuck and usually pretty unhappy.

So, decide what you would be doing if only you were “motivated” and just do it. RIGHT NOW—TODAY.