What if not being motivated to achieve your goals is a sign of a deeper, unresolved issue? Here are five questions to uncover the possible reasons you're not motivated to achieve your goals:
1. Do I Really Want This?
Before you start discounting yourself as being weak or a failure, ask yourself if you really want this. Do you really want the end result?Do you want it bad enough to do whatever it takes to achieve it? If the answer is no to either question, it's pretty obvious why you may not be motivated to doing the work the goal requires to actually achieve it.
Achieving your goals doesn't necessarily have to be hard, but it can be challenging for any number of reasons. If you don't have enough fire, passion, and desire to achieve a goal, the process is likely going to be a lot harder than it has to be.
Tip: Stick to goals that you want bad enough that the decision to do what you need to do, in order to achieve it, is easy.
2. If I Don't Want This, What Do I Want?
If you've asked yourself, do I really want this? and "no" was the answer - there's only one remaining question to ask:
If I don't want this, what do I really want?
The answer may require some soul searching or big dreaming; just be sure it's something that has enough desire to pull you through the "work" of achieving the goal.
Tip: Committing to goals you don't really want serves little purpose. Instead, craft goals you desire with your heart, guts, and soul - those goals that inspire you to do the work required. These types of goals will get you excited and motivate you to achieving them.
3. What's My Big Why?
In the middle of doing the "work" of goal achievement, it's easy to lose sight of why you're doing it. When you find you're not motivated to keep going, focus on the emotional reason behind why you made the initial commitment. So ask yourself:
- Who/what inspired me to make the initial commitment to this goal?
- Is my reasoning behind the commitment (my big why) still a high priority - a high enough priority to continue my commitment to doing whatever it takes – and nothing less?
If the answer is yes, connect to your big why. It's as easy as reminding yourself of the emotion that prompted your initial commitment - the why behind your decision. Connecting to the why allows you to feel emotions and renew your commitment to the goal.
If the answer is no, they your why isn't a big enough why - or it may be time to revise your goals so you can find a big why.
4. What are the Consequences of Not Doing the Work?
The goal of this question is to get you thinking about the consequences of not doing the work. There is only ever one reason behind every choice you make: it's that you believe your choice will bring about greater comfort or happiness and/or reduction of pain or discomfort.
Let's take weight loss as an example. On one hand, you commit to losing 25 lbs because you want to live a long, healthy life, well into your elderly years (goal driven by increasing pleasure and overall good feeling). On the other hand, you commit to losing 25 lbs. because you don't like the way you look in a bathing suit (goal driven by reducing pain).
So the question is:
- Are the consequences of not doing the work undesirable enough to motivate you to do the work needed - right here, right now?
If the pleasure of achieving a future goal is not enough to motivate you, then turn the tables. Instead of trying to motivate yourself by pleasure, think about the pain. Is the pain enough to motivate you to do the work?
Tip: Pleasure is a more sustainable motivator and is initially the best way to inspire you, but sometimes the realization of pain can provide just the kick-in-the-pants you need to get moving.
5. Do I Want To Stay Stuck Here?
If you really want this and you have a strong emotional connection to your big why, but you're still not motivated enough to do the work, then ask the following questions:
- Do I want to stay stuck here?
- What if I'm still here, in this same place, next week - next year - in five years?
- What if things never change?
- If I give up today, how will I feel tomorrow?
- Am I going to be happy with any of these realities?
Tip: Again, if you can't find motivation in the pleasure of doing the work, maybe the pain of not doing the work will be enough to get you motivated to achieve your goals. Sometimes a little accountability will also help get you going in the ‘right' direction. Find someone who you can work with to hold you accountable to your goals and who would like you to hold them accountable to achieving their goals. A little accountability can go a long way and make all the difference.
Think of the moments that you find yourself not motivated to achieve your goals not as a reason to beat yourself up for being weak or less than perfect, but as an opportunity to check-in and examine if your goals are still in alignment with where you're headed. Goals should inspire you into action and propel you along your path to success; if they're not, use these questions to help you uncover the real issue.