4 Ways to Boost Motivation When You're Just Not Feeling It

When it comes to motivation, many struggle to consistently follow up with actions we deem important. However, we believe if we could only heighten motivation, we would accomplish our goals with ease.

The struggle lies in aligning our hearts with our heads. We know what we should do (eat well, exercise consistently, get enough sleep), but how do we cross the bridge to wanting to do so? Thus, while we are often clear on what logically needs to be done to move forward to improve our health and professional and personal lives, the steps to get there and the daily motivation required to stay on track elude us.

Whether your motivation levels have been lacking lately or you've experienced a lifetime of unrecognized potential, know that motivation isn't just something you're born with or without. No matter your goals or intentions, there are strategies to increase daily motivation to help you finally follow through with your good intentions.

1. Link your core values to your motivation.

The next time you have difficulty finding inspiration to follow through on an action you deem valuable, ask different questions: "What is the purpose behind my wanting to get this done?" "How will completing this benefit me?" "What is the downside if I choose not to follow through?" In answering those questions honestly, you reveal your core values.

Core values are traits or qualities that represent your highest priorities, deeply held beliefs and fundamental driving forces. Create motivation that aligns with your core values, and your behaviors will follow.

Unless you have worked with a certified coach or taken a targeted Values Assessment, you may not intrinsically understand your true core values—and that's okay. It takes time, introspection and self-examination to define them, so give yourself the opportunity to sit down and reflect on your inner energy. Clarity leads to behaviors that support living in congruence with your values; as a result, motivation skyrockets.

2. Don't wait for motivation to peak—let action peak your motivation.

Often the greatest motivation occurs after we get into action. If we wait for our motivation to peak, we may never get going. In fact, the sense of accomplishment and feel-good hormones that feed our brain when we have done the work is motivation to repeat it in the future. Good behavior begets more good behavior. In time, the benefits of consistency become valuable to us as part of our core values.

3. Set schedules and rituals for taking action.

Once you know your reasons "why," intentionally schedule time in your week to follow through on your goals. Plan for grocery shopping to buy nutritious foods, put on walking shoes first thing every morning, schedule your workouts, shut down all technology by 9 p.m. so you can get to bed on time—each time you schedule a task and complete it, you're rewiring your brain. Schedules and rituals put actions on autopilot. Rather than asking, "Am I feeling motivated?", you'll habitually follow through instead.

4. Keep going even when the motivation fades.

Discomfort is temporary. Getting through the workout, resisting the donut, finishing the project—within a short time, it is complete and discomfort fades.

Accomplishment is a powerful drug. That feeling is far superior to temporary disappointment. Each time you complete a positive step, you are laying the foundation for living life in congruence with your values.

There will be days when it is excruciatingly hard to start, but remember that it will always be worth finishing. The act of showing up and having the courage to do the work (especially when you are not feeling motivated) is a victory worth celebrating.
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Member Comments

The second point is so true in my life. If I can put one foot in front of the other and do SOMEthing, then I do more and procrastination fades. I feel good about what is accomplished. Reminds me of an AA / Al-Anon slogan "Fake it 'til you feel it." I know there are those who take issue with that slogan, but it has worked for me over and over again.

Donna G Report
I'm an Innovator-Banker, fun! Report
Thanks Report
Good reminders, thank you! Report
Motivation is a struggle Report
Thanks for the good information! Report
This is full of some great information! Report
Motivation, if it is real and not a disturbing trend of self-hypnosis and ego-hype, is what makes one excel to the best they are able at any given time no matter how they feel.

Too many folks, and some who commented herein, do not seem to know the difference. I'm glad you posted this article, but I look for more clarity for the masses.

Thanks. Report
I liked this article, alot of great information. Report
Thank You for the Article. Report
I like this article! Report


About The Author

Ellen G. Goldman
Ellen G. Goldman
Ellen G. Goldman founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management and work-life balance. As a national board-certified health and wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a B.S. and Masters in physical education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA and Wellcoaches Corporation. She is also the author of "Mastering the Inner Game of Weight Loss." and You can visit her at her website, Ellen G. Coaching, and pick up a copy of the "Busy Person's Guide to Healthy Eating on the Go."