When Motivation Blogs Are Unmotivating
I’ve led a fair amount of groups on motivation and read a fair amount of posts on the topic. Among others, here are some of the tips that I’ve come across in the literature and or shared:
Make a to do list.
Have short term and long term goals.
Keep a journal.
Focus on what you can control.
Go for walks.
Reward yourself for completing tasks.
Fake it till you make it.
Get a motivation buddy who wants to do the same thing.
Post mantras where you ca n see them to help inspire you.
These are all potentially very helpful tips. However, if they don’t work, and you’ve reassessed, and they still don’t work, is it time to give up? No. Of course not! You wouldn’t be reading this if at least a part of you didn’t agree. New found motivation could be a simple matter of having an objective voice, a friend or therapist, intervene and help point you in the right direction. Or, something deeper may be going on. And that means you have to be willing to look deeper. Are you willing?
Still with me? Good.
Going forward, if you haven’t already, you may want to rule out medical issues, such as not getting enough sleep, low serotonin levels or other medical causes that can effect motivation. Further, nutritional deficiencies, food allergies/sensitivities, lack of proper hydration, depression, anxiety, or PTSD if present, all need to be considered and evaluated by the appropriate licensed professional for their potential impact on mood and motivation. Diet changes, more sleep, supplements, or pharmaceutical medication may be just what you need to kick you into gear.
If medical is ruled out, that leaves us with the psychological. If previous attempts to improve motivation have not worked then there may be a block somewhere in your conscious or subconscious mind getting in the way. These blocks may include:
Fear – Fear of failure and ironically fear of success are common fears. There is an old expression, “The devil you know versus the devil you don’t”. This reflects the notion that the pain or poor circumstances that we are currently feeling is safer than the risk of the unknown. While fear in small doses is necessary, beneficial, and can even be life saving, in larger doses it is one of our greatest enemies and can be quite debilitating. Fear of the unknown can also be due in part to…
Confusion – What will the change look like? Is it safe? How do I get there? When faced with stressful and confusing decisions sometimes if feels easier and safer to just shut down than motivate to something new. Confusion gets compounded when combined with…
Negative Thinking – Telling someone to think positive or posting it in a blog is one thing. If we have a history of negative thinking, reinforced by coming from a family or background of negative thinking, it may be a bit more of a challenge to overcome than telling someone to recite positive mantras. Negative thinking has a way of perpetuating itself when a negative attitude and effort help to bring about a negative result and thus reinforce the negative thinking. Negative thinking may also be an example of…
Addictive Personality – We often think of addiction in terms of smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, and maybe sex. However addiction can take many forms. Food, TV, shopping are lesser talked about addictions. I would suggest that patterns of thinking or being can be addictive as well. Such as, being negative, or being in dysfunctional relationships, being a failure, having a victim’s mentality, procrastinating, and so on. Oftentimes if we look into destructive addictions we may find…
Low Self-esteem – Laziness, self defeating, self- sabotaging, isolating, but also arrogant, projecting, and blaming. Low self-esteem can take on and manifest in different ways. Whatever the outward behavior or dogma, it can be a shield meant to protect a delicate psyche that either doesn’t believe in himself or think himself worthy.
These five categories can interplay and be relevant to varying degrees depending on the person. They have the ability to trigger defense mechanisms, which by definition occur on a subconscious level. Ergo, the block.
As this blog was written for people who have been stuck and perhaps not been helped by other blogs on the topic I am not offering a bunch of “quick tips” (except for one below) about the above. I don’t want this to be another interesting post that ultimately doesn’t help and sours you further on your ability to be helped. You can be helped.
Earlier I asked if you are willing to dig deeper. Because neither I nor anyone else can make you. If you’re willing, then it may just be a matter of finding the right combination of elements you respond to.
I would encourage anyone who relates to the blog and has been having difficulty getting motivated for some aspect of their life, to explore the categories above on their own and when ready talk to a trusted friend, or professional that can assist further. Please do not let unsuccessful attempts in the past, that may have included doctors or therapists stop you from trying again. There are good and bad of everything including doctors and therapists. You are worth fighting for!
You may also consider the “alternative” route which includes acupuncture and hypnosis. Two things that have worked for me in my life.
The final suggestion I will make is for you to write down your response to the this blog and the five areas I talk about effecting motivation. See if you relate to any. If you do, what you can do about it next? If you don’t, or if you’re not ready to journal, put it away for a few days, read it again, and see if you feel any differently about it or are ready to write, or perhaps talk about it with someone.
Figure out, unlock and work through whatever your block might be, then those other “quick tips” may start to work better for you.
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