What to do when motivation fades?
Motivation, by definition, is the willingness to carry out any given task. It is the drive for all human behavior and an indispensable part of life. It is always said that hard work and determination can achieve anything. Many people fail to mention that both require motivation, and motivation has never been an easy beast to tame. We often hear people talk about how the most gifted individuals have difficulty excelling due to a lack of motivation. The lack of motivation is often looked at as a derivative of laziness, but that could not be any less true. We are often harsh on our own and other people’s demotivation as we see it as a deliberate act rather than a natural emotion. We cannot speak for everyone but more often than not, people want to work hard and succeed in life. So why do we still run out of motivation, and what can we do to regain it?
The past year or so has been challenging for our planet as a whole, and there is no need to point out the dire state of our collective mental health. Pandemics, much like many other historical events, are traumatic for the masses. We are jarred by the loss of what is known to us while simultaneously being forced to act like nothing is amiss. In the midst of this pandemic, we have found ourselves feeling burnt out and demotivated. In response to this, we do the one thing that we shouldn’t, which is pushing through anyway. Ignoring the root cause of your demotivation often turns to resentment towards your task, leading to more and more dissatisfaction. You can not pour from an empty cup, so it is of utmost importance to introspect and self-improve.
We all know what the problem is; we know that we want to solve it, so half the road to improvement has already been traveled. All that is left to do now is to look into the science of it and find a solution. As per the Hierarchy of Needs theory, individuals can only be motivated to complete greater tasks if their most basic needs are met. Your loss of motivation stems from the lack of fulfillment of your most basic needs. Ask yourself these questions –
Am I taking care of my body?
Am I environmentally and financially secure?
Am I safe and loved in my relationships?
Am I in good esteem?
Am I confident in my efforts?
The answers to these questions will help you identify the reasons for your lack of motivation. If we go sequentially, the most basic need for anyone is sustenance. If you’re not taking care of your body and health, then invariably, you will end up feeling drained and demotivated. An easy fix is staying hydrated, being particular about your nutrition, and keeping your surroundings in order.
The second question pertains to your physical and financial security. Building upon the previous point, we know that bad health cannot possibly work to our full potential. Give yourself time to heal instead of trying to work while you’re not physically ready for it. You can’t walk on a broken foot forever. Do not put your health and safety in danger for your task, and watch the motivation shoot back into your life.
Humans are social beings. We cannot and should not exist in isolation. With isolation becoming a way of life in the current scenario, we have been subjected to a different kind of loss of contact. Ask yourself if you need to talk and then find someone to talk to. It could be a friend, a relative, or your therapist. In addition to this, you must re-evaluate the relationships in your life. The people you surround yourself with make a huge difference to the way you carry yourself in life. Chose the people you share your life with care. The point doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. Any relationship that weighs down on you instead of uplifting you is only making you less likely to live up to your potential. Don’t carry the stress from these deadweight relationships, and allow yourself to grow.
The matter of esteem in the workplace is often taken for granted. One can indeed have a thick skin and not care about how others treat them in the workplace, but there is only so much one can take. Creating a safe and comfortable work environment is the first step in ensuring maximum output from yourself and your team. While it is the responsibility of the workspace to ensure good esteem, it is also a personal responsibility to make sure you command the respect you deserve. Holding people in good regard and being held with the same helps keep up motivation and thus improves output.
The last thing that you must evaluate is yourself and your self-esteem. It is always great to have people who support you around, but it counts for nothing if you don’t believe in yourself. The most important person you need in your corner is you. You can only stay motivated if you know that your effort counts for something, and thus it is incredibly important to believe in yourself.
Ideally, motivation would be straightforward, and its lack would be easily remedied. Unfortunately, what is ideal is not always real and so staying motivated is hard work. Acknowledge that and make an active effort to evaluate your situation. If you know your needs and know how to fulfill them, you will never run out of motivation. Make sure to keep yourself at peace so that you can perform to your full potential. On some days, motivation may be difficult to find, but I assure you it exists within you. It is up to you to know yourself and see it daily, be it through meditation, affirmations, or a good night’s sleep. Know that you’re not wrong or lazy for feeling demotivated, and then go ahead and regain it. The world is your oyster, don’t let this minor slump dissuade you.