There are stages in which we feel that we can take on the world and stages in which everything can take over us. Feeling demotivated in life is normal. We all go through phases where we feel more tired, discouraged and unmotivated than usual.
Working hard every day and staying permanently focused and full of energy is practically impossible. Both our mind and our body need to rest and disconnect. If we don’t do it, they will “force” us, causing us to lose motivation.
However, if you continually feel tired and unmotivated and those days of discouragement threaten to become the norm, you should pay attention because it may indicate that a more serious problem is brewing.
The first step, understand how motivation works
Motivation is a very powerful force that drives us to achieve our goals and dreams. However, it is not an inexhaustible source of energy and the boost it gives us depends largely on its origin.
Broadly speaking, there are two types of motivation:
• Intrinsic motivation is the energy that comes from within us, generated by our dreams and illusions. In that case, the main driving agents of our behavior are curiosity, a challenge, a personal desire or a transcendental value.
• Extrinsic motivation is behavior driven by external rewards or punishments. This type of motivation is mediated by an external force, whether rewards or fear. Instead of moving with internal “fuel,” what pushes us is external energy.
Although not even intrinsic motivation is immune to fatigue, obstacles and setbacks, if we are motivated by extrinsic motivation, we are more likely to lose enthusiasm and energy halfway through because we are actually depending on something outside of us to keep going on.
When our life is largely determined by external factors and those forces are what push us to move forward, it is normal that at some point along the way we experience an existential crisis, which usually manifests itself precisely as a lack of motivation for life. It is important to pay attention to this type of demotivation because it can lead to full-blown depression.
However, loss of motivation can be due to many other factors, from emotional, physical and mental exhaustion to boredom, especially when we feel stuck in a routine, our current projects lose meaning, or we feel like we are not making progress in the direction we would like.
Being subjected to excessive stress for a long time or feeling overwhelmed, whether due to workload or family and social responsibilities, can also trigger deep demotivation in life. Likewise, not having clear goals can lead us to a state of discouragement and apathy in which everything seems to lose its meaning.
How to regain motivation in life?
To discover why you feel tired and unmotivated, you will have to do an introspection exercise. You need to find what is stealing your energy and work on it. However, it is usually advisable to make sure to:
• Focus on your intrinsic motives, so that you find in them the inspiration and strength you need to move forward. In fact, it is advisable that you remember the initial reasons that pushed you to undertake that journey, especially if you have been losing perspective over time, something perfectly normal due to fatigue.
• Reward yourself. Even if you are guided by intrinsic motives, it is important to reward yourself along the way. Giving yourself a pat on the back will make you feel good about yourself and help you stay motivated. That reward can be anything that makes you happy, from giving yourself a little treat to enjoying one of your favorite activities without rushing.
• Reduce distractions. Day-to-day distractions take us away from our goals and consume precious attentional resources. Losing time on social media, for example, can become a black hole through which not only your energy but also your motivation escapes. Therefore, make sure to keep distractions and interruptions to a minimum while you are immersed in your workflow, creative process and, in general, in any rewarding activity.
• Find time to relax and unwind. The fact that we must flee from distractions does not mean that we cannot disconnect. In fact, rest is essential to regain motivation. Relaxing will help you rediscover energy and balance, whether taking a walk in nature, taking a relaxing bath or devoting yourself to dolce far niente.
In general, we can all lose motivation at some point. The most important thing is that this bump in the road does not become a black hole that steals our illusions and desire to live. To avoid this, sometimes it is enough to take a break from the dizzying pace of everyday life to try to understand the message that demotivation is trying to convey to us. Perhaps it is time to set more ambitious goals or make a radical change that will give us that new dose of energy that we need and allow us to regain hope and meaning. It’s in your hands!