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

“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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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Irma

    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!


  • 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

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

  • 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.)

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

  • swapnil

    awesome tips !! keep it up !!

  • Stu

    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)

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

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

  • Henrik,

    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.