What to Do When You Feel Unmotivated: My 3 Favorite Tips

by Henrik Edberg

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”
Zig Ziglar

Some days you wake up motivated and ready to go.

On some days things feel heavy and it is hard to get going and find that inner drive.

And there are often roadblocks, plateaus and valleys along the way towards what you want where you can fall into a slump. Or get lost in a rut.

And you feel like your motivation has flown away.

So today I’d like to simply share three of my favorite and in my experience most effective ways to find that motivation again.

1. Do the 10 minute recharge exercise.

Here’s how you do this motivation exercise.

Sit down in a quiet place. Close your eyes.

Ask yourself these two questions:

  • How will my life look in 5 years if I just continue to stay on the same path as now?
  • How will life likely become worse for me and maybe even for the people around me?

It may be uncomfortable but try to see the negative consequences as vividly as you can in your mind to kickstart your motivation to get going for that positive change.

Then ask yourself:

  • How will my life look in 1 year if I stick with it and I keep going with this change? How will it look in 5 years?
  • How will life improve not only for me but for the people that I love if I stick with it?

With these two sets of questions try to not just to see the future as detailed and as vividly as you can but also find your own very personal reason(s) for making the change.

For example, getting into better shape could help you to become more optimistic and more energetic. That’s great. But to really find the heart of your motivation keep looking for a few more minutes for the more personal answer.

The answer could be that you want to make this change in your health because if you don’t then you might not have the energy to have fun and play as much as you want with your son while he is young. And as he grows up you may be too tired from work to give him quality time each day.

If you want to make a change in your money habits then it could be because you always dreamed of seeing the pyramids of Egypt or visiting the Maldives with the person you love most in the world.

Write down those deepest reasons on a piece of paper and put that note where you cannot avoid seeing it every day.

2. Let the motivation sparkling in other people flow over to you.

Another great way to recharge your motivation is simply to tap into the motivational energy and perspectives of other people.

So talk to the people in your life about their dreams and what they feel most motivated to achieve and to do in their lives.

But don’t feel confined to just the people you know in real life.

I often recharge my motivation by listening to a small part of an audio book by Brian Tracy or Wayne Dyer. Or I may read a chapter from one of my favorite personal development books. Or a new article on a blog I really like.

Spending just 5 or 10 minutes with doing that can, in my experience, very often turn your mood and mindset around and ignite your motivation again.

3. Just get started and let the motivation catch up with you.

Sometimes the two tips above might not work that well even though they are very powerful. What can you do then?

Well, you can take a break and recharge your batteries because that is sometimes simply what is needed.

Or you can do what I quite often do when I am having an uninspired morning.

I get started anyway, despite the lack of motivation within.

I do so by taking a small step forward and by just focusing on taking that one step. I may for example tell myself that I will work on a new article or on editing a part of a new course for 3 minutes.

When that is done then I take another small step and I focus only on that until it is done.

At first doing that task may not feel fun or interesting but it is just a small step that I need to take so it feels acceptable.

Things don’t stay that way though.

The next step tends to be a bit easier and maybe even a bit enjoyable.

And by the step after that one the motivation is catching up with me and I am starting to have fun and to truly enjoy what I am doing.

You will most likely not feel motivated every day. That is OK.

You can get going step by small step anyway and soon the motivation will start to catch up with you.

Image by Nomadic Lass (license).

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David Carroll December 11, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Your first tip was spot on Henrik – I believe that if you have a strong enough incentive for doing something, then motivation is not even a concern. Your desire will carry you along effortlessly.

In my own experience, it’s quite difficult to be intensely motivated to do more than one thing at a time, so I would add a fourth tip – focus on one goal at a time. I currently have two major things going on – the launch of my new blog and a drive to get in shape. I’m finding it tough to stay motivated on the fitness front because all of my excitement and energy is focused on the blog. But I know that once it’s up and running and things have settled down, my attention (and motivation) will turn to fitness.

In the meantime, I’m keeping motivated to work out by reading The 4-Hour Body – just as you suggest in your second tip. How about that? :D

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Thanks for the sharing your experience and for adding the fourth tip, David! Best of luck with both the blog and your fitness goals! :)

Michael Osborne December 12, 2013 at 7:34 pm

Dear Henrik
I just think your positive quotes and information is first class. I run a Depression Self Help group and I use your quotes to help my members. Thank you so much. Michael.

Pat December 11, 2013 at 8:29 pm

This is a really great article with practical recommendations that I can put into place. Thanks for uplifting me today.

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:37 pm

You’re very welcome, Pat!

Zoe December 11, 2013 at 8:42 pm

I felt motivated just by reading this article! This is really a great way to start the morning. Great post!


Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words, Zoe!

joel December 11, 2013 at 8:56 pm


Wholeheartedly, I Thank You .
Someday I Will Repay You.
All The Success

Peace And Love,


Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Thanks a lot, Joel!

Madalina December 11, 2013 at 9:12 pm

That’s one of my favorite quotes by Zig Ziglar!

Asking yourself how will your life look in X year of you stick to your plan/decisions is definitely a good way to motivate yourself and to determine yourself to stick to your resolutions. I really liked that tip :)

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Yeah, it’s a great one! And I’m glad you really liked the first tip too. :)

Kevin December 11, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Awesome stuff, really enjoyed reading this article.
I am a author of a motivation blog myself, and sometimes it is hard to keep moving forward, but after reading this, I definitely feel a resurgence.
So I appreciate this post and all that you do for your readers! Thanks a ton =D

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Thank you for all your kind words, Kevin! Glad to hear that the article gave you a boost.

Anonymous December 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Hendrik \m/

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm


Paul Kilimi December 12, 2013 at 1:32 am

This is good, inspiring and enhances hope to a flickering heart!

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

That is very good to hear, Paul!

belinda December 12, 2013 at 3:26 am

To motivate myself, i write down a list of Must do’s for the day. I start doing the small tasks which require less of brain power. Sometimes, it’s really deadlines which makes me rebel. I drink 2 cups of coffee, take my vitamins & just finish off the requirement.
And when i have a good job, i reward myself. I go to a fancy restaurant or just buy myself something nice.

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Thank you for sharing what works for you, Belinda!

Micki Henderson December 12, 2013 at 4:30 am

Henrik- This was such an encouraging and insightful article. Thanks so much.
Sometimes when I feel a real lack of motivation or I’m in a rut at work, I “chop” my required and necessary daily activities into very small, little chunks. My purpose is not to even try to blast through my “to do” list, but rather, achieve/accomplish small successes that in turn will start my motivation engine purring!

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Glad you liked it, Micki! And good strategy, I’m happy to hear it works well for you.

Robbie December 12, 2013 at 4:49 am

I really like what you said in #1 about finding your personal reasons for making a change. I find that when achieving goals it’s important to remember the emotions and feelings behind the goals (ex. when I exercise it’s really because I want to feel confident and healthy). When I remind myself of my goal as well as the feeling I want to experience with the goal, I am more likely to stay motivated until I achieve it. Thanks for sharing your tips :)

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Yep, it’s a powerful thing to keep in mind to keep the motivation up. Thank you for your kind words, Robbie, and for adding your experience with that tip. :)

Paul Olivier December 12, 2013 at 5:58 am

Really nice article.
I will apply those ideas.
Thank you very much !

Henrik Edberg December 12, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Thank you, Paul!

Anders Hasselstrøm December 12, 2013 at 8:08 am

Hey Henrik,

I have been working with personal productivity for quite some time on a professional basis. My experience is that people who break down their projects into smaller and more manageable tasks become much more motivated to complete them.

My advice is to spend 5 minutes going over the tasks and breaking it down. Ask yourself: “What specific subtasks do I have to complete in order to finish the task?”

When people start completing one of the small subtasks they get the ball rolling and your idea of “getting started drives motivation” kicks in.

Have a productive day,

Anders Hasselstrøm

padhuu.t December 12, 2013 at 8:47 am

Hi, I enjoy. Reading your mails. My name is padhuu.t

Irma December 12, 2013 at 9:02 am

Hi Henrik!
I love getting your letters and I found the one on getting the motivation going, especially helpful. Thanks for the good work – you are really making a difference out there!


Stuart Young December 12, 2013 at 1:28 pm

3 great tips there Henrik. The visualisation really connects on an emotional level. Modelling others can have powerful feelings of association and just getting started on the tasks of the day brings a sense of determination and eventually – achievement. Excellent advice. :)

Chom caleb December 12, 2013 at 7:30 pm

Tnx alot man,i realy love those tips and i love brian tracy and wayne also.Kéep d good work.

Leora Dowling December 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Just in time to help me refocus and recommit to my least favorite aspect of teaching: the correcting and grading. Thank you, as always.
P.S. I hope you don’t mind that I use your blog in my communications classes. The students seem to get a lot out of reading your posts. (I know I do.)

isabel crest December 13, 2013 at 3:30 am

awesome post! great 3 tips Henrik its really nice and im sure pretty effective! thank you for posting this one! :D

swapnil December 13, 2013 at 3:35 pm

awesome tips !! keep it up !!

Stu December 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm

I think there is no right or wrong but what works for you. I have my three.
1. Accept that “its perfect” :does not matter what happens. It happens as it should happen , so accept it (Thick Face, Black Heart).
2. It does not matter what happens to you, it’s how you respond to it (Denis Waitley and others)
3. Deal With It! (Stuart Lim)

Thomas Nwafor December 14, 2013 at 10:20 am

Great post.. it takes years of practice for the positive vibrations to set in but when they do lifes a breeze

Dan Erickson December 16, 2013 at 3:44 pm

I like #1 and #3. I often take walks or play music.

SJ Scott December 16, 2013 at 7:52 pm


I have to say I am most a fan of #3. Motivation is great, but I feel that you really cannot wait for it to get things done.

I think it is important to have firm schedules and “just do it” as Nike says. As you pointed out, much of the time, once you get the ball rolling and take a few steps in the right direction the motivation will come in time.

Yayo December 19, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thanku Mr. Henrik
Really Inspirational and motivating steps.
I hope I will get more experience from it.

Marie Taylor December 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Sometimes if not often, it is really hard to keep ourselves motivated on pursuing goals or doing things that are necessary. It could be really helpful if we allow ourselves to be surrounded by motivated people and be able to also feel their enthusiasm.

Martin January 6, 2014 at 2:07 am

Thanks for posting this Henrik! I found number 3 to be really helpful because it motivates me to do tasks I don’t feel inclined to doing.

KARAN NAIDU January 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm


Stephanie Brown January 11, 2014 at 9:46 am

Hi Henrik,

I like your point three.

Get started and let motivation catch up with you. I think when you start with your first step, a small step, what you find that it is not hard at all and you will accomplish something.

The other day i was working on my first project on an e-book and i managed to finish three pages in a day. Yes, three pages is not ideal but i feel wonderful and felt a sense of achievement.

I hope to finish my e-book in 6 months and motivate to finish it before the deadline.

Thanks for this inspiration post.

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