25 Oct. 2021

Where to find motivation? Theory and exercises part I

“I don’t feel like doing anything”

What thoughts come to mind when we “lack motivation”? Often, these are: “I don’t feel like it,” “I don’t want to do anything,” “I lack motivation.” Frequently, we feel that we don’t even have the energy to engage in any activity. This is particularly challenging when the lack of motivation is accompanied by a low mood and a lack of pleasure, which often occurs in depression.

When we lack motivation, we adopt various coping strategies. We try to “force ourselves” to do something (usually something we really “have to do”), and this is often accompanied by considerable reluctance. We patiently wait for motivation to appear. We communicate to the environment that we don’t feel like doing anything.

Motivation myths

To start working on our motivation, it’s worth examining the “myths” about motivation – distorted beliefs that can hinder us from building motivation.

Myth 1: “I have to feel like doing something to do it.” Have we ever done things we didn’t feel like doing? Probably more than once :). It’s worth considering why we did it. Was it important to us? What would happen if we only did what we felt like doing?

Myth 2: “Motivation appears before the activity.” It would seem that felt motivation should be what prompts us to engage in an activity. Indeed, this is often the case, especially when the activity is meant to be enjoyable for us. However, motivation often arises during the course of an activity or only when we experience its positive consequences. Then the likelihood of repeating the activity increases.

Myth 3: “Motivation appears on its own.” Waiting for motivation to appear can be one of the strategies, but it may unfortunately end in frustration or disappointment. We can arouse motivation in ourselves in various ways (as will be discussed later) and create favorable circumstances for its emergence.

Exercise 1: “I would be willing to…”
Instead of wondering if we feel like doing something, let’s think about what we would be willing to do? Is there a reason it would be beneficial or important to us? Why did we do it before?

Exercise 2: Losses and gains
What can I gain and lose by taking on a task? How long am I willing to do it before the benefits appear? Example: if I engage in physical exercise, I will likely get tired and sacrifice my time, but I will gain better fitness in the longer term.

To be continued 🙂

If you have been struggling with motivation issues for a while or if low mood accompanies you simultaneously, it’s worth seeking a solution. One of them is consulting a psychologist and starting psychotherapy. Contact us if you are looking for a psychologist or psychotherapist in Krakow or online. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is available in our offices in Krakow.

Reading: Robert L. Leahy “Beat the Blues Before They Beat You”

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