What to Do If You Don’t Want to Do Anything

How often have you had these kinds of motivation problems?

Struggling to get up early to exercise…

Too tired to work on your side-business after work…

Not being “in the mood” to write your forever-in-draft-mode novel…

What’s even worse is that this feeling of “I don’t want to do anything” puts your goals on the back burner. And in many cases, they stay there till you gain the motivation to take action on them.

But many times, that ends up being weeks, months, or even years into the future.

Motivation Eludes Even the Best of Us

Motivation can be a tricky beast:

One the one hand, you can get a sudden inspiration to become healthy and drop everything to go for a jog.

On the other hand, hoping for out-of-nowhere boosts of motivation like this… is definitely an unreliable method of achieving your goals.

So where exactly does that leave you?

Motivation Is Unreliable With Most Common Strategies

At the end of the day, motivation is simply an emotion.

And like all emotions, it’s fickle.

It can be there one day, and then only moments later, disappear like a gust of wind.

But if motivation is finicky to work with… is it something you can ever rely on?

Can it truly get rid of the “I don’t want to do anything” feeling?

Well, this is where most people get motivation wrong in the first place.

It’s not enough to just look at inspiring images or read motivational quotes online. At best, you might get a nice feeling after doing these things.

But if we’re being realistic here… it’s more likely you aren’t being productive even after being “inspired” by those motivational methods.

So it’s easy to conclude that at the very least, those approaches aren’t something you should use.

5 Unique Ways to Motivate Yourself to Take Action And Achieve Your Goals

So wow to “manufacture” motivation when you need it?

If you want motivation that works immediately and lasts a long time, you need something that’s different compared to what you normally do or see.

My job is to provide you with some interesting new methods that will motivate you to change your world.

Here are five somewhat offbeat methods of motivation for you to try out.

The fact that these methods stray from the pack is a good thing. It means you’ll be mixing things up for the first time. And just being “different” is already a motivational factor to begin with.

So try one out, or try them all out.

Either way, you’re likely to find yourself more motivated and action-taking than ever before.

1. Add “Mystery” to Your Motivation MIX

A powerful form of motivation has to do with spontaneity and unexpectedness.

And while we can’t perfectly replicate this, we can do the next best thing.

Try writing out at least 5 different rewards you can use when you take breaks or complete tasks. A range of “reward magnitudes” is ideal, for example:

  • Watch a Youtube video
  • Eat a piece of chocolate
  • Play a short guitar jam session
  • Watch a Netflix show
  • Walk around the block

As you can see, each reward is different:

Some are smaller and more instant gratification.

Others are bigger and more personal to you.

Now, most of the time when you take a break, you do the same old thing each time.

(Most often it’s taking a smartphone break.)

But imagine you could only pick one of these rewards each time.

And going even further – you have to choose one at random as well.

Suddenly, you don’t know what you’re going to get anymore. It could be a small reward. Or it could even be a big reward.

And that makes things interesting again.

And once things are interesting again… you are more than likely to be motivated to work just to see what random (good or amazing) reward you’ll get next.

2. Make Your Motivation “Scary”

On the other motivation spectrum, there’s the “negative” side of things.

With this approach you focus on motivating yourself to avoid something – rather than on being rewarded.

All you’ve got to do is find suitable ways to “punish” yourself for not being productive about whatever’s important to you.

Here’s a few simple examples you can draw ideas from:

  • If you don’t get up early to exercise, your spouse gets to spray you with a water bottle till you get up
  • If you don’t go to the gym after work, you have to eat something you dislike (for me, this would be a grapefruit – too bitter!)
  • If you don’t write a page in your novel during lunch, you have to lock all the distracting apps on your phone for 24 hours

Ultimately, the punishment needs to be powerful enough to “make you feel it.” So these punishments will be unique to you.

But with a little creativity, you’re bound to find something that motivates you to take action so you avoid your punishment at all costs.

3. Use Peer Pressure

This tip works well if you have family and friends who are on board with helping you achieve your goals.

All you’ve got to do is encourage your close ones to “peer pressure” you into working on your goals whenever you’re supposed to.

So let’s say you decide to write your novel after work. Well, if the first thing you do when you get back home from work is toss your jacket on the floor, hop on the couch, and start flipping through channels… this is the time for your family to “strike.”

  • “Hey honey, wouldn’t it be amazing if you finished a page of your novel today? I know I’d be happy.”
  • “Dad, I was reading a book earlier and thought about how cool it’d be if you finished yours.”
  • “Mom, whenever I see that you’re writing a book it makes me so proud – I can’t wait till you finish it!”

And basically, they’d just go on and on till you get to writing or whatever your goal is.

The best thing about this strategy is that it’s hands-off:

Everybody else does the motivating for you. And I’ve found it tends to work no matter how much I don’t want to do anything, either.

4. Drop Your Standards Unreasonably Low

A big motivation problem is feeling your goals are too big and hairy.

If you feel overwhelmed by any task or project you have, your motivation is going to tank for sure.

So a simple way around this is to use the “10% method:”

If you ever feel the slightest resistance to a task at hand, just say you’ll only do 10% of the original task and you can stop there.

So if you plan on doing 20 pushups for exercise, only do 2.

If you plan on writing a page in your novel, just write a paragraph (or even a sentence) instead. Or if you need to clean your room, just say you’ll clean 3 items only.

It’s a simple method, but VERY easy to implement.

And the best part is:

Once you’ve lowered your mental resistance to the task at hand (and thereby increased your motivation to do it), you are VERY likely to do more than just 10%.

And that’s because “startup momentum” can carry you further along the task.

5. Put Your Money on the Line

Nothing hurts like losing your money.

And a simple way to use this idea tying your hard-earned cash to the accomplishment of your goals.

An easy way to do this is by involving a friend or family member. Just grab one of them and say this:

“This is a $20 bill. If you see that I don’t:

  • Go to the gym after work, or:
  • Write a page in my novel, or:
  • Get up early tomorrow

…Then you can have the $20 for yourself.”

You’ll see a big smile across the face of whoever’s helping you, and wonder if they’re rooting for you to fail in the first place.

Either way, you can expect your motivation to work on your goals to skyrocket after using this tip.

The Truth Behind Motivation

Remember, motivation isn’t about feeling inspired or anything else so fluffy. The ultimate goal is creating an urge to act towards achieving your goals.

And I’m confident that if you use some of the strategies I’ve listed here, you’ll be well on your way to being more motivated, take more action, and transform your life forever.

More About Motivation

  • How To Get Motivated And Stay Motivated (Your Ultimate Guide)
  • 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams
  • How to Get Motivated Every Day When You Wake Up

Featured photo credit: Sharon McCutcheon via unsplash.com

The post What to Do If You Don’t Want to Do Anything appeared first on Lifehack.

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