5 Ways to Stay Motivated (Even When You Do Not Want to)

Mon Mar 24, 2014

A few months ago, I was feeling rundown, exhausted and unmotivated. Although I had a number of projects to complete and knew exactly what I needed to do, I just didn’t want to do it.

I noticed myself looking for other things to do that were unimportant, to feel like I was doing something. Have you ever experienced a situation like that? You know what you need to do, but you just don’t want to do it or couldn’t be bothered doing it!

Luckily for me, I was able to recognise my behaviour and quickly turned it around. Reflecting on that experience, I was in an unmotivated state for about a week. I had to do something different so I applied some of the tactics below.

While it may not be necessary to apply all of them, applying one or two of them will make a positive difference and help us get back our motivation.

ways to be motivated

how to stay motivated

5 Ways to Stay Motivated

These five tactics can also help us stay motivated so we don’t have to reach a point of exhaustion or dissatisfaction before needing to applying them.

  1. Be clear on your why. Knowing why we’re doing or have to do something is really the starting point. Our why comes before everything else. A couple of years ago, I gave a talk at a TEDx event on the importance of our why, titled, “Does Your Why Make You High?”

    Being clear also means having a vision we’re so inspired by, that we will naturally be motivated to do what needs to be done. There is an old Proverb saying, “Where there is no vision, people will perish.” From the vision comes goals, which will determine where we need to direct our focus.
  2. Watch, listen or read something uplifting. With so many resources readily available online and free, it’s easy to find something that can help cheer us up and make us feel good. YouTube has thousands and thousands of inspirational videos. Amazon offers free Kindle books, so it’s not hard to find something that catches our attention and rekindle the fire inside each one of us. This is one of the simplest ways to get back on track.
  3. Seek support. It can be so easy to fall in the trap of “I’ll figure it out myself” and not ask for help. The problem with that is if others don’t know what’s going on for us, they won’t be able to help us. Picking up the phone and calling someone we trust and can rely on is a great starting point.

    Just saying, “Are you able to help me out?” can be a powerful step to getting back on track with things. People generally want to help and by seeking out people we trust, help can just be a phone call away.
  4. Take a different approach. Often, we get into a routine and keep doing the same things over and over again. When things are not working out, it makes little sense to keep doing the same things and expect a different result. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

    It’s easy to lose motivation when things are not going our way. Trying something new or taking a different action can help us get the sense we’re making progress toward what we want to achieve and that can be a strong motivating factor to keep us moving forward.
  5. Do something fun or take a break. This is a big one for me as I tend to push myself by continuously working long hours. Instead of forcing things, I’m learning it’s better sometimes to walk way or take a break. It could be for a few hours or even for a few days.

    When we detach ourselves from what we’re so focused on, something magical happens in our brains. It’s like we’re giving our brains permission to relax, and most times, a better solution will present itself.

    Listening to our inner voice is also important. Sometimes, we’ll get the sense we need to do something that’s fun which has nothing to do with what we’re working on. On such occasions, it’s okay to take a break and have fun, which can totally rejuvenate us and get our motivation back.

It’s normal for us to lose motivation because motivation doesn’t last. Motivation gets us going and ultimately, inspiration will keep us going.

These are ways I’ve found to work for me when I lose motivation and need to get going again. Try them out for yourself when you need a little push to get back on track.

Question: What tactics works for you when you want to get motivated again?


  1. Jane Ransom

    Thanks for these great reminders, Neel!

    • Neel Raman

      Wonderful! Glad you enjoyed Jane! Thank you!

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