What to do When You Lack Motivation

Ok, admit it.  Some days you completely lack motivation to do the things you know need to be done.  It’s not like you don’t know what needs to be done or lack something to do; it’s that you have zero desire to do it.  In fact if you lined up all the things that need to be done you could actually spend your entire vacation time doing them and the list still would not be complete.

There are clothes in the washer than need to be moved to the drier so they won’t get mold on them and have to be washed again, but you still don’t do it.  There is a report you have to complete and a pending deadline all too soon but nothing you write makes sense.  There is a crack in your windshield that has been there for days, weeks, months or dare I say years but you have not gotten it fixed.  There is a friend you know you should contact because they are going through a rough time and you love them dearly but you dread the conversation.  Or there is my personal favorite, you know that it is time for an annual check-up (truth be told that time was really five years ago) but you won’t make the appointment.

Sound familiar?  Having read more self-help books and listened to more motivation talks than you can remember still is not helping you to do the very thing you don’t want to do.  So instead of following an old slogan like “Just do it”, try this instead.

  • Rest.  Maybe you are burned out and just need some rest.  Take one day off and do something fun to rejuvenate yourself.
  • Play.  Play with a toy, a game, or go to a park.  Just distracting yourself can be helpful.
  • Draw.  Did you ever doodle or draw as a kid?  Try doing that and see where your mind takes you.
  • Phone.  Call a friend (not the one you have been dreading) but another one that makes you smile.
  • Encourage.  Try to encourage someone else and be helpful to them.  Taking the focus away from yourself for a while is useful.
  • Laugh.  Watch an old sitcom that makes you laugh out loud.  Laughter is good for the soul.
  • Thanks.  Give thanks to God for the blessings in your life.  Don’t put in a request, just be thankful.
  • Change.  Go for a walk, take a drive or go to a different room, do something to change your environment.  Sometimes this alone is helpful.
  • Exercise.  When you are unmotivated to do other things, exercise seems like a good excuse.  Use it to push your body and cleanse your thoughts.
  • Think small.  Just doing one small step of your task list or project can be enough to inspire you to complete the larger item.

The bottom line is that doing something is better than doing nothing, even if that something has nothing to do with your “To Do” list.  When you are not motivated to do the things you need to get done, just doing a little thing can make a big difference in the end.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.

Ranting and Raving

The other day a friend told me about her husband’s ranting and raving over what seemed like nothing and then again it was something.  His work was demanding more and more, he did not like his boss or the people he worked with, the house needed some repairs, his health was deteriorating, he got a stomach ache from his last meal, the dog wanted too much attention, and several other large and small complaints.  His ranting and raving lasted well over several hours and resolved absolutely nothing.  At the end, she was exhausted, frustrated, hurt and desperately wanted to help him but had no idea where to begin.

Sound familiar?  Maybe it is a close friend, a co-worker, a child, a parent or a spouse who routinely rants and raves over what seems like nothing but usually is something.  Their ranting and raving does not seem to resolve anything in the moment and by the time it ends they feel better and you feel worse.  It is as if they unloaded their garbage onto you but you did not get a chance to unload and if you do try to unload during their ranting and raving, you have just added about an extra hour onto the discussion.  The rants and raves are not once a year incidents, rather they are almost monthly and if they don’t do a little ranting and raving, the next one is likely to be twice as long.

For some people they type of relationship is likely to cause them to run away, they would rather not invest the time and energy into such a relationship.  But for others, the benefits of the relationship far out way the monthly rants and raves, so they decide that the relationship adds more value to their life than it subtracts and they stay.  This is the case for my client; she truly loves her husband, is committed to the relationship and wants to help but is unsure how.

It’s not your responsibility.  Their rants and raves are their responsibility not yours.  This is extremely difficult to remember in the moment as the ranter and raver is likely to blame you for some if not all of the problem.   Once you look back over the course of your relationship, you will realize that even if you did change something that was not enough to stop their ranting and raving.  It almost seems as if they have an insatiable appetite for ranting and raving and if it is not this than it is that.  Their reaction is their responsibility; your reaction is your responsibility.

Change your expectations.  During the ranting and raving you try to help the situation by offering advice, compassion or accepting responsibility for your mistakes, yet none of their efforts seem to reduce the ranting and raving.  In fact, they seem to bring about even more and different ranting and raving.  If you want to offer encouragement, do.  Just don’t expect a return on your investment.  Decreasing your expectations is not giving up rather it is recognizing that you are not in charge of their ranting and raving, they are.

Look for the nugget of truth.  Ranters and ravers are not mindless people without intelligent thought rather they are people who have been pushed to their limit and they usually do have a valid point.  The key is to find the nugget of truth in their ranting and raving and focus on that.  For instance, they may be upset about your financial situation and declare that overspending on everything needs to stop.  Well, if you are overspending on something, maybe it is the groceries, then work on modifying that behavior.  Don’t try to change everything all at once because it just does not work.  Instead focus on changing one behavior at a time.  Find one nugget and work on changing it.  Leave the other nuggets for another day.

Try praying.  Ok, this is tricky because the type of prayer is extremely important.  More than likely, after the ranting and raving is over, you are in pain and feel a heavy burden.  So don’t pray that the person ranting and raving will hurt like you or that God will take revenge on them.  Rather pray to release the negative energy onto God so that you won’t release the negative energy on someone else.  Ranting and raving is like an infectious disease that can affect an entire community.  Decide to end the cycle, pray, release, let go and if needed forgive the other person for hurting you.  This will do far more good and will prevent the disease from spreading.

Get busy.  When someone rants and raves the temptation is to replay the ranting and raving over and over in your head.  We try to see where we went wrong, what we could have said instead to make a difference or how we could have stopped the cycle.  This is a waste of valuable energy, instead, get busy doing what you need to do and put all thoughts of the incident out of your head.  At first this discipline is difficult but with practice it becomes easier.  You are what you think and if you continue to replay the negative thoughts, you will be negative in turn.  You can choose to do something different and getting busy is more productive than stewing.

Ranter and ravers are not without their responsibility in the problem but you cannot fix them, they need to choose to fix themselves.  Rather you can choose to do different behaviors, to think different thoughts, to absorb different emotions, after all you actually have more choice in the situation then the other person.  Your positive reactions over time will make a difference in your life and hopefully the other person will want the same change in their life.  Then and only then do you have the potential for a lasting solution.

Repairing, restoring, and rebuilding relationships takes time, energy and effort.  If you find yourself needing more help during this process, please call our offices at 407-647-7005 to schedule an appointment.  Or you can send me a quick email at chammond@lifeworksgroup.org.