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4 Motivation Killers and What to Do About Them

When it comes to my career, I’m definitely motivated.

As a self-employed therapist, teacher and self-help writer, I’ve always got several pots on the stove, and I rarely lack energy to do what needs to be done.

But when it comes to home improvements… Ehh. Not so much.

Oh, sure, I’d like to rearrange the living room, maybe get some new furniture. Maybe do some painting.

Actually, now that you ask, I’d like to change a lot of things about my living space. But I don’t do anything about it.

Does this mean I lack motivation?

Priorities and Passion

My work has always been far more interesting to me than my home.

I don’t know why, I just know that I have almost limitless energy for my work but only limited oomph to dust the living room. So work is where both time and energy usually go when I’m not socializing, asleep or playing Classic Bejeweled on my phone.

The trouble comes when I’m experiencing those natural doldrums. You know, those times between productive bursts when you’re just kind of hanging out, surfing the Internet keeping tabs on couples who met on The Bachelor, waiting for the next burst of inspiration?

That’s exactly when I do have time for home improvements.

Yet the motivation is still lacking.

I find myself writing a blog post about motivation rather than rearranging the furniture or picking out paint colors.

Hmmm…

Could it be that the things we’re not motivated to do are simply things we have no passion for?

Or is it more complicated than that?

Motivation Killers

I’m always curious when I meet people who tell me they have particular goals that they’re not doing anything to achieve, much like myself with home improvement.

The natural order of life is that we move forward. We reach for our goals in the absence of obstacles.

So what are the obstacles that get in our way?

Here’s what I came up with — some barriers to motivation, along with some possible solutions.

1. Depression

As I’m fond of telling my clients, depressed people don’t pound the cyber pavement every day looking for a new job. They’re lucky if they can make it from the bed to the shower and out the door to their current job.

Solution: Slow down and look inside; heal what needs healing. Cry and gnash your teeth if necessary to wring out those closeted emotions. (See my recent article on Emotional Spring Cleaning for more on this topic.)

Of course I also recommend counseling for guidance and support.

2. Lack of Time

If you’ve got a full-time job, a child, or a Wii system, most of your waking hours are already spoken for. You might just feel like settling in and reading a book, rather than changing your life, when you’re done each day.

Solution: Examine where your time is going. Cut out portions of wasted time during the week and rearrange necessary activities for efficiency. Use freed up time for purposeful rest if needed.

3. Lack of Money

If you lack the funds to pursue your passion, you’re less likely to start that project even if you have the time.

If you don’t have the time OR the money, you really need passion because otherwise you’re truly stuck. At least if you had the money, you could pay someone to spend the time on your behalf.

Solution: Save all loose change in a fun-looking piggy bank or decorative jar and open a special “My Project” savings account at the bank. If you don’t use cash, or in addition to your piggy bank, allocate any amount — try for $5 a week to start — to this new account and watch it add up over time.

4. Lack of passion

Where there’s passion, there’s usually action. If you don’t feel passionate, it’s probably due to one of two things. Either you’re depressed (see #1 above) or else what you’re going after is just not your thing. Maybe it’s a “should” rather than a “want to”?

Solution: Let go. You can’t force passion, you can only obey it. Look inside; there’s something you’re into that makes you feel relaxed, happy and whole. As an adult, you’re allowed to actively pursue your (legal and ethical) passions, whatever they are.

*   *   *

Think of something you really want, that you don’t already have. If you’re working toward it, then congrats, you’re on the right track!

If you’re not doing anything about it, the way I’m not doing anything about my living room, ask yourself which of the four factors above might be the culprit(s), and try out the suggested solutions.

Got another solution to share? Please leave a comment.

Photo couresty of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Tina Gilbertson

Tina Gilbertson is a psychotherapist, speaker and author based in Denver, Colorado. She specializes in supporting parents of estranged adult children through therapy, consulting and other resources, and offers assertiveness training and executive coaching for organizations. The author of "Constructive Wallowing: How to Beat Bad Feelings by Letting Yourself Have Them" and the "Guide for Parents of Estranged Adult Children," Tina is often featured in the media as an expert on communication and relationships. Her blog on PsychologyToday.com is called "Constructive Wallowing."
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0 Responses to "4 Motivation Killers and What to Do About Them"

  • Cheryl
    April 13, 2013 - 4:34 pm Reply

    Can you take something you love to do and incorporate it into the thing you don’t want to do? For eg, I knew I had to start eating healthier but I loathe diets. And i hate the deprived feeling i get when my weekly alotted points or calories keeps going down. But, I LOVE pretty new journals. So I got one special for writing down what I eat each day. The treat and reward for me becomes writing in my new journal. So even when I stop losing weight I’ll stay (hopefully) motivated to keep eating healthy.

    • Tina Gilbertson
      April 14, 2013 - 10:47 am Reply

      Any excuse to do the things you love seems like an excellent idea, Cheryl. And good for you for hating diets!

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