What To Do When You Lack Motivation

Business Owners


We’ve all had those moments when you need to do something, but just don’t feel like it. You putter around on Facebook, Pinterest, Mashable, Youtube, and suddenly you realize the entire day has passed you by and you got absolutely nothing done.

Seb Lee-Delisle, in an interview for the March NET Magazine said “Finishing a project is the hard bit. If you actually finish projects, it sets you apart from almost everyone else.”

How many times have you had a list of things to do and put it off because you “just don’t feel like it”?

As a freelancer, I’m fascinated with this subject because my getting motivated to work directly impacts my income. If I want to sit around in PJs all day and watch TV, there’s no boss to crack the whip. The freedom is great, but it also puts all the responsibility for accomplishing things on me. And if you own your own business or freelance, you know exactly what I’m talking about!

Don’t Believe the Lie

I’ve read a lot of books and articles about this, but I was struck by something the Harvard Business Review posted just a few weeks ago in their How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want to. Heidi Halvorson says this:

“Somewhere along the way, we’ve all bought into the idea – without consciously realizing it – that to be motivated and effective we need to feel like we want to take action.”

Kate Di by Chuck Close

Kate Di painted by Chuck Close

She’s totally right! I was constantly looking for ways to get myself to feel like doing things, without realizing that this is a total farce. You don’t have to feel like doing something to do it. Heidi goes on to quote Chuck Close, a renowned artist:

“Inspiration is for amateurs.  The rest of us just show up and get to work.”

The Solution

While I hadn’t ever heard it put into words quite like that, we all do this on a daily basis for so many things in our lives. Whether it’s keeping a commitment you made, doing work you don’t enjoy, or even getting up in the morning, we all regularly do things that we don’t feel like doing at the moment.

So it made me ask the important question: Why? How come I can make myself do somethings when I don’t feel like it, but other things (like working out…) seem to be impossible.

And then I remembered this book I read last year called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business. In it, Charles Duhigg talks about how creating and/or changing habits can change your life. He champions the power of having a habit over the daily fight to do what you should do.

Instead of thinking about whether or not I feel like doing something, building habits (research points to 90 days, not 30) can effectively remove procrastination from your life.

So what habits are you building this year so that you can accomplish great things?