Motivation can sometimes be hard to muster, we can all fall prey to the lackluster feelings demotivation can bring, and as a result our aspirations can stagnate. Have you ever felt so demotivated that even the thought of making positive changes seems too difficult?
If the answer is yes please read on, you're not alone, we all feel that way from time to time. I've spent many hours evaluating the times when I have a high sense of motivation and times when I am completely demotivated. I use self motivation techniques, and will share these with you.
So I want to share with you the tips I have learnt over the years for staying motivated and productive.
It may first be helpful to examine demotivation, we all know that demotivation exists, especially when we are experiencing it, but there are many differing characteristics to it and using the same strategies for every type of demotivation can be ineffective and cause us to experience further demotivation.
Fear, for example, can stop you moving forward with a project or life goal. You may be fearful of failure and so this demotivating factor is one which should be tackled from within. If fear is demotivating and stopping you achieving your goals, the first thing you need to do is look at exactly what you are fearful of. My article Facing Your Fears may be of some help to you.
As fear often comes from our imaginations, ask yourself why you're afraid of that particular fear, and what's the chance your fear will become a reality? Speak to your fear, out loud or in your mind, and really listen for the replies you receive.
Let's assume you believe you have a fear of failure, examine what that really means for you. Is it really a fear of failure or is it a fear of success. Is it a fear of becoming successful too quickly, or is the real fear anchored in how you would cope in that situation? Are you afraid of being seen as a failure, and not fearful of the actual failing? Defining and clarifying the reasons you feel demotivated can be the most important factor in understanding your own demotivation.
Negative Self Talk
Negative self talk can play a huge part in creating demotivation. You may notice your self thinking "I probably wouldn't be any good at that anyway, so what's the point in trying" This demotivation obviously comes from within. It's a type of self sabotage which is based on fear and/or lack of confidence.
You may have negative self talk without even realising it, but listening to the many thoughts running through your head everyday will give you an indication as to whether your self talk is on the whole, negative or positive. Negative self talk can be changed once you're aware of it. If you're telling yourself you're not good at something, something you want to achieve, start telling yourself you're great at it.
You need to reprogram your subconscious, every time you notice negative self talk creeping into your thoughts, turn it into a positive. Tell yourself each day that you can, and you WILL, succeed. Negative self talk is a learnt behaviour, so you can unlearn it.
Low Self Esteem
Suffering with low self esteem can also have the knock on effect of demotivating you. They come hand in hand, so if this is a problem for you, figuring out why you have low self esteem is obviously the first step in remotivating. Raising your levels of self esteem will in turn have the knock on effect of increasing your motivation. Our self-image is one which has been born long ago in childhood, and incorporates how we were raised with other contributing factors like our experiences in school and our view of our place in society as a whole.
Combating low self esteem is a journey in its own right, but you can improve this by making a genuine effort to focus on your own sense of empowerment. Spending time understanding who you really are by committing to personal development can assist you in realising the authentic you. Your negative self-image is really only a judgement you have made about yourself, which was defined a long time ago. You have the power to change that.
Your Busy Lifestyle
Just living your life and juggling your many commitments can bring about demotivation. You are so busy during your normal day to day activities that you may find it difficult to find motivation for other aspirations in your life. All you want to do when you get home from work is eat, tidy up, get the kids off to bed and relax. Sound familiar?
Evaluate what aspects of your life you could shuffle around to make time for that important aspiration you want to achieve. A well orchestrated time management plan prioritising what's important can free up some time resulting in more energy and motivation.
Illness or Injury
You may have had a period of illness or injury and although you're now better physically, you find this period of illness or injury has demotivated you, and you are struggling to get back to the gym, for example. All types of demotivators can come into play here; you may be experiencing a slide in confidence from not working out. There are also biochemical boosts you became accustom to when you were working out, all those lovely positive endorphins, which due to illness/injury you've been missing out on.
Okay so your doctor has given you the all clear to train again. Creating a training plan will help, start off slowly, remember how well you were progressing prior to the illness/injury and take some positivity from that. Take your time getting back into your training, there's no hurry, and remember to look after yourself and play safe.
Environment is All Around Us
Your environment can demotivate you, be it your place of work or your home. If the place you live is unwelcoming and not meeting your basic needs then this can become disheartening and become a factor in demotivation. Also boring and dismal working environments are well known to cause a decrease in productivity, employee performance and motivation.
Some management teams will listen to their employees so express yourself and your needs; you never know they might make some positive changes; after all it's in their best interest to do so. If that fails then maybe you need to think about seeking more motivating alternative employment! You need to explore whether your extrinsic motivation is enough to keep you going to a place that is sucking the motivational life out of you.
With regard to your home environment, there are steps you can take to make it a more positive place to dwell. Decorate the place if you are able, and if not, make some small inexpensive changes like throws over the couch. Find some inspiring pictures for the walls and place them where you will see them every morning when you wake. Look into cheap interior design techniques and make your house your inspiring home.
Of course grief and loss can demotivate to such a degree it can seem permanent, and that's only when you start to realise your motivation has disappeared, which could be many months or years after the initial loss.
When you start to realise you have little or no motivation, this is probably a good time to start acting upon your feelings. Until then feeling demotivated is a natural state to find yourself in, and forcing yourself to become proactive and motivated is most definitely the wrong move. Take the time to express your grief and look after yourself. Spend time with other considerate people in your life and only think about your motivation when you are ready.
General Motivation Tips
Okay if you're still reading after all the negative demotivation stuff you really must be serious about becoming motivated.:) So, we understand demotivation a little better; now let's look at more general ways in which you can become more motivated.
Nope, not goals (plural), just goal (singular). Setting yourself one goal at a time, in my experience, is far more achievable than coming up with a myriad of goals and trying to do too much. Losing energy and focus is common when attempting to achieve too many goals at a time. Keep it simple and feel safe in the knowledge that it is better to achieve one goal at a time than fail trying to achieve too many goals.
Allow Inspiration to Find You
I read a lot of inspirational books and articles, so I'm bombarded with many differing viewpoints on life on a daily basis. This is what inspires me personally, and I also look for inspiration in everyday things like chatting with friends and family or watching a DVD.
There is inspiration all around you every day of the week, and by opening yourself up to experiencing it, you also can be bombarded with inspiring and motivational encounters on a daily basis. Seek and ye shall find!
Prepare for Troughs as Well as Peaks
As with anything in life there are peaks of excitement and optimism and troughs of disappointment and pessimism. Life wouldn't be life without these contrary states of existence. If you understand your emotional spectrum well, you will be prepared for such eventualities, so when troughs appear you are more able to traverse them with an improved degree of proficiency than had you not expected them.
Troughs are there to benefit me, that's how I look at it. I can sometimes learn a lot more from a time of arduous disappointment than from a time of plain sailing. Learn from everything that crosses your life path, even the seemingly negative experiences. They can teach you lessons that are exclusive only to connecting and engaging with them.
Is Success its Own Reward?
When you achieve a milestone, reward yourself, take a little time out for yourself and make a big deal of you. Obviously if you're training and losing weight, treating yourself to a huge cream cake probably isn't the best option, but definitely make time to show yourself that you love you.
Visualising, and more importantly, feeling, the end result will motivate you to keep going. Taking a few minutes out at the beginning of a task will improve your chances of finishing it. Close your eyes and visualise the steps you will take and envisage yourself achieving your goal, really tune into how that feels. Sit with the feeling for a few minutes, it feels good doesn't it?
Working towards and achieving your goals should really be an enjoyable experience. If you're truly following your passion, then taking the steps to achieving your goals should feel effortless. Periodic re-evaluation can keep you on your right path, and allows you to take stock of what you have achieved so far. This gives you the opportunity to make adjustments to your path should you need to.
I think a lot of us are needlessly hard on ourselves. You should be gentle with yourself at all times, and take life and its events in your stride. Challenges do crop up but think of them as lessons to be learnt from, rather than life giving you a raw deal.
Qurrat khan writes about personal development and is the founder of the motivation technique App. Together building self-awareness for a better understanding of life. –