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Dude, where’s my motivation?

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Motivation waivers. That’s just how it is. It can waiver for a few days, weeks, or months depending on your strategy to address the source of your lack of motivation. Sometimes it can last for so long that your desire to reconnect with whatever you lost motivation from can disappear into the past altogether. That makes us sad at UNITED, and we don’t enjoy sad. We enjoy kickass.

Why motivation waivers

There are a handful of core circumstances as to why motivation waivers. It could be any one of these, or a combination of. Sometimes determining which is your circumstance can be the trickiest part of all. We will refer to the subject of your lack of motivation as your commitment (could be the gym, guitar lessons, learning a language, or whatever you like to do):

  • Self: your skills have reached a plateau, or you feel that you are being left behind in terms of progress, and that feeling of success that you had becomes less frequent.
  • Situation: you have an influx of life things occur which adds additional stress to your variable time (time you can use for “you” purposes, as opposed to fixed time – careers, appointments, family commitments). This will reduce how much variable time you actually have and suddenly your variable time is in less supply and your commitment becomes less of a priority.
  • Environment: your general level of enjoyment fades or everything suddenly seems very difficult.

Fixing it

So that’s all a big ol’ pile of wonderful, but how do you fix it? There is a chance that you have quite simply lost that lovin’ feeling. That sucks, but there is not much you can do about that. Finding love once is hard. Finding it again is… also hard. But if you haven’t lost that loving feeling, consider these suggestions:

To heck with the rules

If you have plateaued, or perhaps you always seem to be injured or sore and you are feeling frustrated and confused, calm down bro. Just calm down. Stop what you are doing, and have a spell. Injuries, frustration, and confusion are symptoms of trying too hard, and impatience. Take a week off (what? Are you effing mad?!) and give this a go: continue with your commitment but only focus on the things you genuinely enjoy. Forget the formal program and replace the suggested activities with your favourite ones. For the fitness crew, this might be forgoing legs all week to do nothing but arms. For the musicians, it might be forgoing classical music to work on your rock ballads, and for the linguists, it may mean working on conversational language rather than formal exchanges. Whatever the commitment, choose to do only what you enjoy for that week. Enjoy the week and fuel the spark.

It’s your time

If you have suddenly run out of time for your commitment, consider this. You still have 24 hours each day. Zing. What has changed is the prioritisation of your commitment. If you have consciously lowered the priority of your commitment, then that’s fine, that’s life. However, if you find that other factors are determining your priorities for you, you may need to address those factors. Commitments such as fitness, musical, or linguistic development will likely only consume an hour or two per day at the most. Day jobs for example will ask for eight hours plus, and possibly weekends. So if your job or career is genuinely preventing you from participating in activities you love, ask yourself what you will miss more when you are gone: work, or the hobbies that fulfill you?

Environment matters

If you find that the general level of enjoyment has started to fade, or it seems too hard, consider if anything noticeable has changed. Have the people involved changed? Has the schedule changed? Has the community or value you were receiving changed? If so, can they be retrieved or can you change your schedule to realign with these elements?

Free bullets

  • Bonus bullet #1: goal setting can change everything. Set yourself one or two short term achievable goals to work on over the next 6 – 8 weeks. Increase your max reps or a specific fitness skill, learn a song for no other reason then you enjoy it, or learn how to order pizza and beers in Spanish. Whatever your commitment, don’t try to eat the whole elephant in one bite.
  • Bonus bullet #2: a wise man (it was Will) once taught me that judging your performance off other people’s performances is madness. If you beat them, who’s to say the others weren’t all under the weather or nursing an injury? If they beat you, who’s to say they weren’t all cheating? The only comparison you need to make if you wish to improve is you against you, over time.

Sometimes, you just need some space. Forcing yourself to continue with your commitment for a prolonged period when you just don’t feel like it can compromise the likelihood of rekindling the love.

Worst case scenario, take a break. It could mean the difference between a breakup and long and fulfilling relationship.

UNITEDDude, where’s my motivation?

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