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Image / Self / Advice

3 things to try when you lack motivation


By Niamh Ennis
19th Jan 2024
3 things to try when you lack motivation

“I want to change. I want to do something new. I want to be one of those people who creates a new habit in January and is still doing it months later. I really want that to be me. But instead, I lack any and all motivation and I stay exactly where I am. I feel stuck. Help, please?”

I hear versions of this more often than you can imagine. So many of you desperately want to change but believe that if only you could find the motivation you need, it would be infinitely easier to change. To change, or to introduce some new habits into your lives, there are a number of key events that need to happen.

Before launching into making any change, confirm that all aspects of this change are what you want. So many of us think we want to alter an aspect of our lives because we are told to do so by others, or we see others make changes and convince ourselves that it’s what we should do too. For you to be successful welcoming in any sort of change, it has to be one you want for yourself. It has to mean something to you, be relevant to you and feel possible for you. This is critical so please consider this closely.

Spend time thinking about exactly what change it is that you want. More specifically, how do you want to feel when you have made that change and when you have created space for that new habit? How will you feel differently from how you feel right now; say in three months, six months or a year’s time? Doing this is incredibly powerful. Don’t underestimate the difference that can come about by focusing on how something will make you feel rather than viewing it as simply an end in itself.

For example, I hear people say a lot “I wish I had more money”, which in fairness, we all do. But when I get them to explore just why this is and to attach it to a feeling – the energy around everything shifts. Likely answers in this instance could be “I want to feel safe. Safe to ask for what I need, to have what I need rather than relying on others to provide for me.”

Decipher what that change looks like for you. Providing as much colour and details to the image you have of how it appears when you think about it. To create change, you have to be able to picture or visualise it in your mind’s eye as it brings it to life in a meaningful way for you.

REMOVE WHAT’S IN YOUR WAY

Armed with this useful information, the next step is to observe honestly what has been blocking you from making these changes in the past. If you have tried before but didn’t quite get there, it helps to identify what obstacles were in your way.

Was it other people, or was it yourself? Were you full of fear? Were you afraid that you might not succeed so you didn’t really try hard enough or equally were you afraid you might succeed and stop yourself? Could you hear the words of everyone who told you it wasn’t possible ringing in your ears throughout? You might have wanted the outcome but were you willing to put in the required effort? Were you looking for a quick-fix solution and then lose patience waiting for it to happen?

If you answered yes to any or all of these, then don’t worry because you’re not alone but recognising what gets in your way will help you avoid repeating past patterns.

CONFIDENCE TO CHANGE

People regularly ask how they can become more confident with change. The truth is that confidence only ever comes when you are able to see the evidence. You have to believe you can change in order to create change, When you make a small change in your life, it helps you observe that change isn’t just possible but that it’s entirely possible for you. This empowers you to repeat the experience or to build on it. While you are doing this, you are also building on your own personal confidence and self-esteem.

WHAT IS MOTIVATION

Before we look at how to locate your motivation let’s remind ourselves of what motivation is and why it is so important when it comes to change.

Motivation is the exact energy that will help you to change. It is inspired by how much you want to change and is directly connected to how you know you will feel and what you will gain by making the change. You need to feel motivated to change because without it you will remain stuck, feel overwhelmed and simply won’t be able to see a way forward, meaning that nothing changes.

THREE THINGS YOU CAN DO NOW TO INCREASE YOUR MOTIVATION

Make sure that all your change goals are your own. There is little chance that you will feel motivated to do something just because others have told you to, whereas, if it belongs wholly to you, you will possibly make more of an effort to ensure it happens.

Spend plenty of time thinking about the timeframe you have set for making the change. Truthfully, is it realistic or is it aspirational? Does it account for all the other responsibilities and obligations that you already have going on in your life? If you don’t do it in the time you have set for yourself, you will end up feeling disappointed in yourself and disillusioned. You can totally avoid this by setting timelines that suit you and your life so much better.

Ask for help. Stop thinking that you need to do everything on your own. Reach out to positive-thinking friends and family, that you trust, and ask for their support or, if you can, seek out professional help. Talk to people who have done what you want to do, learn from their mistakes and benefit from their experience. They are the evidence that you need that change is possible and this in itself will motivate you more!

I’ll finish on a very simple quote from American Entrepreneur, Jim Rohn, that stopped me in my tracks when I was at the start of my own change journey: “If you are not happy somewhere, walk away. You are not a tree.” That was my own personal motivation and remains so today.

Niamh Ennis is Ireland’s leading Change & Transformation Coach and author of Get Unstuck who through her private practice, writings, programmes, workshops and podcast has inspired, activated and helped thousands of people to make significant changes in their lives. She is an accredited Personal, Leadership & Executive Coach and the Lead Coach in the IMAGE Business Club. If you would like to work privately with Niamh visit niamhennis.com/reset. Follow Niamh on Instagram at @1niamhennis.

This article was originally published in January 2023.