Feb 28, 2024
6 mins read
6 mins read

10 Strategies to Use When Feeling Unmotivated

10 Strategies to Use When Feeling Unmotivated

Original article can be found at https://nspirement.com/2024/02/27/strategies-when-feeling-unmotivated.html

Feeling motivated is like an unpredictable friend. Sometimes, it’s energizing and abundant; at other times, it’s elusive and draining. We’ve all experienced moments when we are unmotivated and uninspired. Maybe you are trying to juggle too many tasks, are bored with a monotonous routine, or are overwhelmed by choices.

10 strategies to motivate yourself when you feel unmotivated

1. Set specific goals

Studies have shown that when you have clear goals, you’re more likely to achieve what you’ve set out to do. For instance, if you want to exercise, set a specific target, like 10,000 steps or a one-mile jog. Avoid vague goals like “I’m going to do my best today”; instead, write down the specifics: “Today, I’m going to complete my assignment by 2 p.m.”

2. Create a routine

Some people believe that a routine will be monotonous. However, creating a routine provides a structure for your day; your tasks become a habit with time. Once you create daily habits, they become more accessible to do. You won’t put in much physical and mental effort even when unmotivated.

Sleepy young woman stretching hand to ringing alarm.

Creating a routine provides a structure for your day; your tasks become a habit with time. (Image: Volha Rahalskaya via Dreamstime)

3. Enjoy the process, not just the outcome

It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed when faced with a daunting task. A good trick is not to look at the result and shift your focus to the process. Find something you love about the job and look forward to it. The small victories you celebrate along the way will make the task at hand less of a chore and more enjoyable. 

4. Find intrinsic rewards

Intrinsic motives lead to better success and sustainable progress. They include personal growth, self-esteem, and a sense of pleasure in achieving your task. On the other hand, extrinsic rewards are tangible things such as presents or money. These aren’t bad in themselves, but they only inspire short-term inspiration, and people only do a task to the bare minimum. 

Also, don’t give yourself rewards that undermine your goals. For instance, you shouldn’t eat unhealthy food after exercising or rush through a task requiring attention to detail. 

5. Break tasks into small, manageable tasks

Looking at the large stacks of dishes you have to wash or the backlog of emails in your inbox can leave you with a sense of helplessness. When facing such a situation, separate the utensils and start with washing the cutlery, then the cups, and so on. When you break down big tasks, the workload becomes less intimidating, and you also get a sense of pride as you finish each sub-task.

6. Cultivate a growth mindset

This may be easier said than done, but it’s a skill you cultivate. Start looking at tasks as opportunities to learn something new rather than impossible obstacles. Don’t give up if you hit setbacks; see them as a learning experience. 

Experts also advise people to start doing something when unmotivated, even if it’s an unrelated task. For instance, if you have a lot of laundry, start with easy stuff like spreading your bed or taking out the trash.

7. Accept you can’t always be motivated

People are different, but even the best of us can’t always be motivated. So as you work on improving yourself, accept that it’s okay not to be OK. Taking a break to recharge can give you a much-needed rejuvenation. 

Accepting your circumstances shouldn’t become a sense of resignation but the starting point of your journey to motivation.

Asian woman sitting by a window sipping coffee or tea from a cup.

Taking a break to recharge can give you the much-needed rejuvenation. (Image: Wanida Prapan via Dreamstime)

8. Visualize success

How will you feel when you achieve what you want to do? When you complete your part on time, what will your boss or coworkers’ feedback be? Create a mental image and visualize both personal and collective emotions from your success. It may be just the boost you need to make your journey more compelling.

9. Surround yourself with inspiration

You can find inspiration from various sources, such as books, podcasts, or conversations with like-minded people. However, motivational videos can also be addictive, and you may use all your energy watching these videos, so ensure you find the right balance.

Another thing to avoid is seeking inspiration by passively watching someone work on something they are good at. Watching your experienced and ambitious coworker excel at something may drain you of all motivation. Instead, ask your peers what they are trying to accomplish and how they would recommend doing it. 

Better yet, give advice instead of asking for it. Research has shown unmotivated people may be spurred into action by providing advice instead of receiving it. Giving advice helps you look at the problem, break it down, and gain the confidence needed to accomplish something.

10. Celebrate progress

Once you finish a sub-task, reflect on your progress and use it as inspiration. For example, you can use the Pomodoro technique, where you catch a break after a period of focused work. Then, after four or five such work intervals, you increase the length of your break.


Staying motivated is a skill that can be honed with patience, self-compassion, and finding ways to enjoy your work. Another fundamental step in improving motivation is finding intrinsic rewards. This can help you keep the flame burning even when you don’t feel energized in your journey toward success.

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