Ever wondered why you’re not feeling motivated? Why all of the things on your to-do list feel like a chore – even when they’re supposed to be fun?
You can approach a lack of motivation with frustration, or you can try to understand why you don’t feel engaged. But before we look at why you’re not feeling motivated, let’s do a quick self-assessment. Check the below statements that you agree with.
I make my own decisions about what I do or how I do it
I feel competent and equipped to reach my goals and know what to do next
I feel supported by others and I collaborate
My daily activities bring me closer to my goals or dreams
I enjoy my activities
Behavioural scientists have revealed multiple predictors of motivation. The five statements above are linked to the key ingredients, that step by step, build motivation. How many statements did you agree with? If you haven’t agreed with at least three, find out (next) what you are currently lacking and how to boost your motivation.
Autonomy: I make my own decisions about what I do or how to do it
Making your own decisions is your starting point to spark motivation. The key is to feel in control. If you don’t make your own decisions, chances are you may feel like life is passing you by, or that everything and everyone else controls how you live your life. If you find yourself in this situation you probably feel extremely unmotivated, so it’s time to make your own decisions again.
Competency: I feel competent and equipped to reach my goals and know what to do next
Being uncertain about your next step can lead to procrastination. And we all know what happens with activities when we procrastinate; they start to become a ‘thing’ and nobody likes activities to be a ‘thing’. So you have to know what to do next and overcome the first barrier. Asking for help might be a good plan.
Relatedness: I feel supported by others and I collaborate
The people around us can have a significant impact on our motivation. If you feel like you have to do everything yourself it can erode your motivation. Collaboration can give you that spark to overcome problems together and work on similar goals. So if you did not check this box, maybe it is time to find a friend or work together.
Purpose: My daily activities bring me closer to my goals or dreams
It can be very frustrating if you feel that you are not progressing. In fact, it can wear you down over time. This feeling often means a sense of purpose is missing. It’s easy to focus on reducing the number of tasks on your list, but there will only be more every day. And just trying to make them disappear in a frenzy of senseless doing can lead to a decline in your mental health. Purpose sounds like a big thing, but it doesn’t need to be. Purpose starts with goal setting. It can be as small as having a goal for today.
Enjoyment: I enjoy my activities
You can do all of the above and still experience your motivation gradually dropping over time. Injecting a bit of fun into your activities can help you stay engaged. You can do this by adding something new to your routine, or adding an element of surprise to whatever you are doing.
So next time you start to wonder why you don’t feel motivated, do the quick self-assessment and check what you can do to improve your motivation one small step at a time.
Do you want to read more about the science of motivation? The 5 ingredients above are derived from the Self-determination Theory from Ryan and Deci, the book ‘Drive’ written by Daniël Pink and the book ‘Flow’ by Csikszentmihalyl.