Lack of Motivation – Causes & Cure


Everyone knows these days when you’re feeling absolutely unenthusiastic. Even the smallest tasks seem like huge challenges that cannot be overcome, so why even bother? It’s far easier and more comfortable to stay in bed and watch television, right? Are you not motivated to do anything? Feeling unenthusiastic and unmotivated about your daily tasks and responsibilities? If you have started noticing that you are not getting anything done anymore because of your depleted motivation, then it’s finally time to change things for the better. This article will show you the reasons why you are feeling a lack of motivation and will show you what you can do to improve the situation.

Being unmotivated all the time can be a really complex issue for those suffering from it. I myself was facing exactly the same situation, feeling lethargic and drained of energy. It’s incredibly difficult to break free from the situation, but eventually I managed to do it. Even though it was a hard time it was also quite beneficial for me, as it made me investigate the reasons for feeling depleted of motivation. It also forced me to find and implement the most effective techniques to break free from this vicious circle.

Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.
Mario Andretti

Here’s what I learned about the causes for not being motivated:

The Reasons for a Lack of Motivation

Inability to focus on the bigger picture

In many cases we get so distracted by a daunting task that we start to lose focus of the long-term benefits and rewards of accomplishing it. Instead, we focus all our attention on the great effort it will take to address the task. We no longer have the bigger picture in mind, but only see the burden of a specific task.

Solution: Redirect your focus on the benefits and rewards.

Avoid focusing all your attention on the great difficulties of a given task, but instead try to make yourself clear what the higher purpose of the task is. You might not like doing a specific task, but if you know that it contributes significantly towards your mission, you’ll be more motivated to address it. There will be many daunting and challenging tasks you have to overcome, but if you are convinced that you are addressing these tasks for a good reason you will be able to find the right motivation to tackle even unpleasant responsibilities.

Negative outlook on the chances of success

A characteristic many unmotivated individuals have in common is their pessimistic outlook on their chances of success. Such a pessimistic outlook can lead into a vicious circle. If you’re not optimistic about your chances of succeeding in a given task you might not even be motivated enough to address it properly. But if you do not address the task you have already failed.

Feeling not motivated at all

Scientists call this self-efficacy—a person’s willingness and ability to persist and succeed with a given task. Your level of self-efficacy determines to a great extent whether or not you stick to a challenging task until it’s solved, or if you simply give up.

Solution: Push your luck – belief in yourself and increase your chances of success

You must never forget that you alone can influence your chances of success at whatever you’re doing. If you’re willing to do anything you can to accomplish a specific goal, your likelihood to succeed increases drastically. However, if you’re unwilling to go the extra mile you will most likely decrease your chances to succeed. And if you choose to not even try, then failure is guaranteed.

According to Albert Bandura, scientist at the Stanford University, there are two ways to increase self-efficacy:

  • Mastery experiences: Tackling a task, sticking to it and succeeding at it will help you to strengthen your sense of efficacy. The more determined you are to succeed at a given task, the more likely you will succeed, which in turn will further increase your efficacy. However, this also means that failure will undermine your self-efficacy, which is why it is so important to stick to a task until you succeed.
  • Social modeling: Seeing people similar to yourself succeed at a given task will raise your belief that you too have the capability to master similar challenges. For this very reason that is so important to find appropriate role models that inspire you to give your very best.

You see that the more you challenge yourself the more willpower and motivation you will cultivate.

No goal setting

If you have a true vision that you want to see implemented there will be absolutely nothing that can stop you from pursuing it. There will be no obstacle too big to overcome and no difficulty too challenging to not address it. However, if you have no goals in life and no vision for the future it is far more difficult to motivate you day after day. A lack of motivation is often the consequence of neglecting the importance of goals.

Solution: set yourself ambitious and challenging goals

Setting yourself a challenging goal will help you to sustain enthusiasm and generates higher levels of performance. In fact, scientists have shown that our level of performance is directly linked to the challenge of a given goal. However, aims and objectives that can be achieved too easily are likely to decrease your motivation and energy levels.

Unrealistic goal setting

Even though it’s important to have goals that challenge you, it’s also important to make sure that your goals are realistic. If your goals are unrealistic the tasks and challenges ahead will most likely seem too difficult and complex to address, which decreases the motivation. This theory is supported by psychologist Karl Weick, who has shown that people that are facing extremely complex problems become overwhelmed of the task which will eventually result in discouragement.

Solution: set realistic goals, split complex objectives into smaller ones

Whenever you are confronted with a challenging and complex problem it is recommended that you split your goal into smaller challenges. Doing so will help you to produce visible results which helps you to maintain your motivation.

Inability to start

When it comes to overcoming a lack of motivation it is important to ignore everything that prohibits you from starting a task. People that are struggling with motivation are more likely to become discouraged by various reasons why they should not get up and do something. The inability to start performing a task is one of the greatest mental obstacles unmotivated people need to overcome.

Solution: Force yourself to start addressing your responsibilities

Whenever you’re confronted with a lack of motivation it’s advisable to force yourself to start doing what you need to do. The very first towards the accomplishment of a given goal is often the most difficult one. But once you have started it will be easier to continue.

Keep moving on

Another important trick you can apply revolves around the continuous creation of small habits. It’s a simple, yet effective concept that helps you to address a lack of motivation. Basically, what you need to do is to start creating one small habit at a time. After time you will gradually progress with the creation of further habits.

Genes play a role

Researchers who investigated the motivation levels of more than 13,000 twins found that about 40 to 50 percent of motivational differences between children could be explained by their genetic inheritance. These results highlight that a person’s motivation highly depends upon their personality, even more than on the environment such as family and teachers.

Social exclusion

The way you perceive the importance of the role you play in life can heavily affect your motivation. Researchers at the San Diego State University have shown that the feeling of being rejected can make us lose all our desire to even try. They argue that being rejected by someone makes it seem as though nobody else would care if we regulate our behavior or not. The feeling of being unwanted and/or having no purpose depletes our willpower and motivation. You will be more likely to engage in destructive behaviors and be less motivated to work.

Solution: Have a purpose in life and don’t place too much emphasis on other people’s rejection or ill-intended judgment.

Others should not be responsible to give your life a meeting. Instead, find the true purpose of your life. It will help you to become aware of the important role you play in life.

How to Win Your Motivation Back?

The easiest strategy to recharge your motivation is to find tasks and activities that you really want to do. Pursuing tasks that contribute significantly towards the accomplishment of your goals will dramatically improve your motivation levels.

The problem is that whenever you’re depleted of energy and the necessary willpower to address a responsibility, you’re more likely to opt for something effortless, such as watching TV or surfing the Internet.

So what are the tactics you can apply to increase your motivation?

This question will be addressed in our second part of this article series that discusses the most effective strategies to become motivated: The Ultimate Guide to Motivation.

The following might also be of interest to you:

Do you struggle with a lack of motivation occasionally? What are your tricks to get yourself out of a rut?

Photo credit: Juliana D.


About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!


  1. I find that writing your long term goal on post it notes, and sticking them where you’ll see them every day is a great way to keep you on the mundane tasks that will lead to that goal. Also remind yourself why you want to, or need to reach your ultimate goal.

  2. I love this article as everyone could relate to it. Lack of motivation is when you feel like not doing anything at all as nothing inspire you to do it, to finish it. which we must overcome and think of why we started and think of the best reason why you’re doing it in the first place.

  3. Great Article! The motivation is the key of the sucess, If you dont have motivation, you dont make happen too. Thanks for sharing.

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