10 Deadly Ways To Destroy Your Motivation

Being motivated is something we know is good for us. In order to get things done consistently, we must have drive and motivation to do the things we want to do.

The truth is we all lose motivation at some point. If we remain unmotivated for extended periods of time, it will have some ramifications on what we are doing or what we want to do.

Therefore, it is highly advantageous to know what some of the possible causes are for losing motivation and how to turn it around.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Motivation is typically something we derive from outside ourselves. It can be motivation for a reward (pleasure) or it can be motivation to avoid something (pain). Having strong motivation can help us get things done quicker and also stay consistent with our performance or behaviours.

While there are many ways we can sabotage our success or destroy our motivation, here are 10 things we need to be aware of at all times so that we can quickly turn it around and get back on track.

  1. Having too many things you “should” do rather than “want” or “must” do. When something is a “should,” there is no real emotional connection to it. Our emotions are what drive our actions so not being emotionally involved with what we are doing will lead a drop in motivation, which in turn, will lead to poor performance and productivity.
  2. Becoming overwhelmed. When we are overwhelmed, it means we have many things we could be doing but with no clear criteria or system for deciding what to do next. To prevent getting overwhelmed, we must have a system for prioritising the things we want to get done.
  3. Not having a purpose behind what you are doing. Having a strong purpose or “why” is a key requirement for long-term motivation. Our “why” is what will keep us going when things get tough or things start going off track. Before we do anything, we must be clear on our reasons for doing it.
  4. Being around negative or toxic people. The people we associate with has a major influence on our thinking and our emotions. Toxic people are energy vampires! Just being around such people can drain our energy levels, which can cause us to lose focus and motivation. It is best to avoid them at all costs.
  5. Lack of a compelling vision. We ultimately are heading somewhere in life and if we’re not clear where we are going, it’ll become very easy to just drift along. That can be very demotivating and is a major reason for stress, unhappiness and lack of fulfilment in life. The more clarity we have, the greater our sense of direction and purpose in life will be.
  6. Not taking enough action. The “someday” syndrome is rampant in modern culture. We say we’ll get to doing something we want to “someday” without formulating a plan to do it. If we think about or talk about a particular thing without taking any concrete actions, it will destroy our motivation. Just talking about something is not going to get it done.
  7. Working too much without taking time out to refresh and recharge. This is something many professionals and entrepreneurs make. Lack of motivation can very easily be attributed to being overworked or rundown. It is important to take care of ourselves mentally, physically and spiritually in order to be a consistent high performer.
  8. Not receiving acknowledgement or appreciation for something you have done. Whether we want to believe it or not, we are all creatures that seek approval and validation from others. When we miss out on being acknowledged for something we have done for someone else, part of us feels let down and disappointed. While we may not consider it to be a big deal initially, if we are not acknowledged often enough, it will take its toll and affect our level of motivation.
  9. Having high expectations on how something should pan out. Oftentimes, especially if we’re working on a project, we can get very attached to how things should work out. It is very common for unexpected challenges to surface in major projects or when we’re achieving our goals. Being attached to particular outcomes can result in low motivation when things don’t go as planned. It is better to have strong intentions for a particular outcome but not be attached to the outcome.
  10. Not engaging in continuous personal development. There is one thing we all want in life and that is “more.” Whether it is more happiness, more success or more money, we are creatures of growth. Unless we are growing, part of us will feel like we are dying inside, which can be very demoralising. It pays to learn more about ourselves because that will support us in forming positive habits and behaviours.

The above list are triggers we must be aware of if we want to become better at what we do, continue to grow personally, and maintain high levels of motivation. At the end of the day, we are responsible for how motivated we are and it is up to us to ensure we do not allow these triggers to affect us.

Action Step: Identify one strategy you can apply to get yourself back on track if one or more of these triggers destroys your motivation. Continue to add more practical strategies that will support you long-term in having high levels of motivation.

Question: What is something else that causes you to lose motivation?

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  • Jane Ransom

    Without motivation, we’d get nowhere, right? Important post, Neel, thank you!