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Six Common Reasons for Lack of Motivation

April 18, 2012 · 11 Comments

imageMotivation is a process that controls and maintains certain behaviors. Eating chocolate, exercising, studying, and avoiding triggers to prevent an alcoholic relapse all require motivation. Everyone experiences lack of motivation from time to time. Staring at a stack of books not wanting to study, seeing a pile of dishes in the sink and not feeling like doing them or skipping going to the gym because you don’t feel like it are all signs of lack of motivation.

For some people, trouble feeling motivated can have negative impact on academic, personal or professional success. Low grades, damaged friendships or a demotion at work are all realistic consequences of low motivation. Addressing the root cause of motivation issues is the first step in learning how to reengage in healthy behaviors.

Here are the most common reasons for why people have trouble motivating themselves.

Depression. One of the most common symptoms of depression is called anhedonia, or the lack of interest in activities, especially ones that once used to be pleasurable. Depression can wreak havoc on academic and professional success. Treating the depression generally has a very positive effect on motivation and productivity.

Fear of failure. Many South Asians are raised by parents with perfectionistic attitudes. This teaches children and teens that mistakes are failures and that they are flawed people. This develops an inherent fear of failure, which is presented by avoiding work. Instead, people who are afraid of failing avoid the goal feels safer than trying and not succeeding.

Low self-esteem. People who have low self-esteem tend to believe that they are not capable of succeeding and often self-sabotage. They will miss deadlines, procrastinate, double-book or put in minimal effort so that when the project or task is not perfectly complete, there is something else to blame. Deflecting personal responsibility helps preserve a delicate sense of self that comes with low self-esteem.

Lack of interest. Some tasks are uninteresting and that makes them difficult to engage in. People require frequent rewards and if the school subject or project is not interesting enough, it is natural to not participate in it. This becomes especially problematic when students are involved in a major, class or career that is uninteresting. Their attention will be diverted elsewhere, resulting in poor grades or low performance at work.

Procrastination habit. Procrastination occurs for a variety of reasons, including feeling overwhelmed, being depressed, feeling anxious or fearing failure among others. When procrastination becomes a habit, it may appear that the person is not motivated in succeeding.

Stress or overwhelm. Stress takes up a significant amount of cognitive and emotional bandwidth. Some people cope with stress and feeling overwhelmed by avoiding deadlines or finding triggers to engage in substance use again. Lack of sleep due to stress or overwhelm can also make it difficult to feel motivated.

Exercise, taking a break from the task at hand as well as maintaining healthy eating and sleeping patterns all help in improving your mood, anxiety and stress. By alleviating some of these roadblocks, being motivated can become easier.

For long term improvement of motivation issues, try to identify the root cause. Addressing this underlying issue is the best and most successful way of improving motivation. If you are unsure of your root cause, consider seeking the aid of a counselor who can help identify it for you and provide you with appropriate tools to address the root issues.

What causes your lack of motivation?

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11 responses so far ↓

  • prapti // April 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Reply

    This is really helpful as now we are aware of the reason when we aren’t feeling motivated.

  • linda // April 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply

    It is so important to find motivation each day…motivation keeps you going.

  • JJ // April 25, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply

    This is SO enlightening. Wow. I thought I was just lazy but after reading this I think I knwo what my problem is. I hope other parents can read this so they stop calling thier children lazy and start helping them out more.

  • Arhant // February 6, 2013 at 2:19 pm | Reply

    I think the presence of a motivator is also effective. It can be a parent , a spouse, friend, someone who is caring enough to motivate.

  • What causes lack of motivation? // March 24, 2013 at 2:21 pm | Reply

    […] causes lack of motivation? What causes lack of motivation? I read this article Six Common Reasons for Lack of Motivation | MySahana sometimes I have one or two of these traits for example fear of failure, procrastination, lack of […]

  • Manal // April 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm | Reply

    i need to know more about the factors of lack of motivation in students while reading a foreign language

  • mah.rukh // May 3, 2013 at 4:28 am | Reply

    Thanks, also publish ,what are the teacher’ s weaknesses that he failed to motivate the students in classroom in reading foreign texts.

  • PV // May 20, 2013 at 4:47 pm | Reply

    I really like this article. Throws light on my condition!

  • Monica // June 18, 2013 at 4:02 am | Reply

    Gud article.

  • Livingstone // September 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply

    Love this. hope you don’t mind me sharing this with my pupils as a talk.

  • Bael // May 21, 2014 at 11:02 am | Reply

    I was once a high performing student. I came to college with a lot of motivation, but slowly I started to lose it and you can really see it from my grades. I was not interested in my major, I was unhappy at school. I was forcing myself to succeed. I really felt that the drive I had in high school was slipping away from me in college. I graduated school and saw my GPA and felt upset about it but maybe this is a more common problem than I thought.

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