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Some days it is easier to do anything except the work that you know you should be doing. “I don’t feel like doing anything” is a common struggle. Even the most intelligent and qualified people struggle with a lack of motivation.

You may start with the best intentions. You make a daily to-do list while you enjoy a cup of coffee. Your self-talk is convincing. You tell yourself that you are going to finish your top 3 responsibilities before lunch. Then something happens. You find yourself scrolling through social media, checking email, catching up on the daily news, and making a second cup of coffee. Before you know it, an hour has passed and your day has not even started.

It is not a lack of desire to be productive, it is a lack of motivation to overcome the resistance to getting started. In his book, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles, author Steven Pressfield said, “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” Everyone faces resistance, but you do not have to allow it to define your reality. You do not have to accept “I don’t feel like doing anything” as an obstacle you cannot overcome. In fact, there are some very practical things you can act on today or the next time you say to yourself, “I don’t feel like doing anything,” that can transform your productivity.

Why Motivation Matters

What’s the big deal about motivation, anyway? You could just go with the flow and let your life unfold naturally and still obtain success, right? Well, not quite.

Motivation is a necessary human drive that pushes you to reach any decisive and desired outcomes in your life. If you put off every daily task until tomorrow, you’d quickly find that nothing ever reaches fruition, and you remain stuck in a bubble that inhibits your progress instead. The only way to move forward is to keep walking, and you can’t expect to get anywhere with your feet planted firmly on the ground.

Without enthusiasm and ambition in your life, you’ll quickly realize the lack of substance and meaning behind actions will result in a downward spiral toward failure and displeasure. When you find the incentive to get up and make a change, you place yourself in a position of greater success.

Do It For Yourself

The most significant motivation comes from within. It is tempting to justify a lack of motivation because you are waiting on someone else to do something to motivate you. You need the right personal interaction or the right set of circumstances to be your source of motivation. However, internal motivation is much more effective and enduring.

Simple Rituals and Methods That Will Get You on Your Feet

Do you have a goal in mind but lack the drive to put your objectives into practice? Then check out our list of 15 simple ways to get motivated if you are the one saying, “I don’t feel like doing anything.”

1. Know Your Meaning

Why wake up early on a Sunday morning when you could just lay in bed until noon instead? If your mind finds inactivity preferable to reaching your goals, you might want to reshape your thinking into finding a sense of significance in the objectives you strive to obtain.

You may want to move out of your apartment and into a home, but do you honestly know why? Whether you want to provide your family with more space or need a bigger home office to complete your work, make sure you attach a sense of significance to every single goal.

You can state what you want to change in your life, but you’ll only find the drive to complete those first crucial steps of transformation when you determine why.

2. Keep a Planner

According to research by psychology professor Dr. Gail Matthews, at the Dominican University in California, led a study on goal-setting with nearly 270 participants. The results? You are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down. You might want to shed ten pounds before summer, but you’re not as likely to put in the dedication to achieve this weight loss without a written or visual plan.

Organize a planner with your top goals to see them in a visual medium. A planner with a daily list of goals will give you the motivation to achieve your objectives step-by-step. When you know what steps to take to achieve your goals, you’re more likely to get motivated to complete them.

3. Break It Down

Imagine you have a 7,000-page article you have to submit to your boss by this weekend. Oh, and your birthday just so happens to be in a few days as well. That means you have to find the time to clean your entire house, go shopping for your party outfit, and catch up on all of your late assignments, too. Seems impossible, doesn’t it? Not quite.

Lumping all of your daily tasks and necessary goals into one overarching activity can be intimidating. It’s understandable you wouldn’t see the point in even trying when your tasks become one unbearable and massive task.

When your goals seem too difficult to obtain, try breaking them into smaller and more realistic tasks. Going to the gym every other day and cutting out chocolate is so much simpler than thinking about losing 20 pounds by June, after all.

4. Let Go of the Future and Act for Today

Far too often, we put off whatever can be done now until a future date. You could easily say, “I’ll just wait until New Year’s to lose weight,” or “I’ll study harder for the next exam and just take a C on this one.” You’ll quickly find that this do-it-later mentality will leave you in an endless cycle of tomorrows that never really come.

If you want to get a raise or receive a promotion at work, then you need to act for the future today. That means putting your best foot forward every morning you wake up and fulfilling the acts you need to obtain your intended outcome daily. You may not expect to achieve your goal until far into the future, but completing tasks now to achieve the ensuing goals will give you the motivation you need today.

5. Be Inspired

Once I was exploring a cave with some friends. We reached a place with a wall that seemed impossible to climb. Fortunately, someone who had been there before had left a rope. We used their rope to climb the wall. We followed their example, and we were able to accomplish our goal. The same thing is true in life.

Someone has been in the same position you find yourself in right now. Take comfort in the knowledge that you are not alone. You are not broken. You are completely normal. Others have found ways to connect with their motivation and move forward towards accomplishing their goals. You can do it too. Be inspired by their examples.

6. Jam Out to Your Favorite Tunes

Have you ever tried exercising in complete and utter silence? If you have, you know how excruciatingly painful getting on that treadmill can be when there’s not a single sensory sound to distract you.

It’s no secret that listening to your favorite songs can boost your level of production. It’s no coincidence that you just seem to get more done when you have Spotify playing in the background. Research studies conducted in the workforce have demonstrated a positive correlation between music, positive attitude, and productivity throughout the day.

Who knows, playing Beyoncé’s latest album may just give you the extra oomph needed to put an added pep in your step throughout the day.

7. Be Your Own Fan

You’ve come this far, and you’ve even gone the extra mile by researching ways to find motivation when you could have given up by now instead. Finding the drive to do even the simplest tasks can be difficult for anybody. It’s entirely reasonable to feel exhausted or unmotivated to keep moving when you just want to rest instead.

Remember, getting motivated is not always easy. You may fail to meet your next goal on time or hit a bump in the road that prevents you from reaching your objectives entirely. It’s important to remember work takes continual progress and results may not be immediate. Never dwell on failure, and keep your eyes on success instead.

8. Reward Yourself Along the Way

Sometimes, finding the motivation to get things done can be hard. This is especially true in the workforce, where hours in your office can make you question why you’re even doing your tasks at hand at all. A series of small rewards can help you find interest in your duties by motivating you to obtain a sense of immediate return on your actions.

If you have an endless list of assignments piling up at the office, cut your workload down to a manageable amount by giving yourself a period of breaks in between each completed job. Once you finish one assignment, allow yourself to watch a ten-minute clip of your favorite Netflix series. The desire to finish the rest of the show will keep you motivated to finish the rest of your necessary tasks with ease.

9. Stop Fantasizing and Daydreaming

As a kid, your schoolteachers and parents likely told you that you could accomplish anything in your wildest dreams. While having an idea in your head of where you want to be in life is a helpful part of establishing your goals, don’t get too carried away with elaborate fantasies.

If you spend too much time visualizing your success in your head, you may begin to feel a false illusion of achievement in the process. You can’t expect to get off of the couch when your daydreams leave you feeling like you’ve already achieved the rewarding feelings of success.

10. Show, Don’t Tell

You’ve probably heard that if you tell somebody else about your goals, you’re much more likely to stick by them. While it might seem like informing your co-workers of your intentions to get lean by next Christmas will motivate you to head to the gym, science would state otherwise.

Research studies show that you’re much more like to see your goals come to fruition when others compliment your progress instead. Those who announce their plans for achievement are less motivated to accomplish them. Why? When you tell others what you intend to do without actually acting on your goals, your sense of accomplishment is already achieved in this sense of false “social reality.” When it comes to change, it’s best to show others your progress rather than to proclaim it.

11. Stop Being Afraid

A research study that examined the effects of fear on students before taking an exam determined that the anxiety of poor results had negative consequences on their actual performance. However, students who went into the test room with less fear and higher levels of motivation received better grades and outperformed their classmates who were afraid of failure.

Anxiety and fear challenge your ability to find motivation. If you anticipate an unwanted outcome or low levels of performance, you may question your desire to even make an effort or try at all. Get out and go without worrying about what may happen instead.

12. Take a Break

Woman in hat relaxing on beach

You may be wondering how kicking off your shoes and relaxing in your recliner can help you find motivation. After all, the world-renowned Isaac Newton once said a body in motion stays in motion. Sitting and taking a break may seem counterintuitive to your efforts at hand.

Taking a breather is both necessary and essential to progress. If you continuously push yourself to work harder, you may just find yourself exhausted and burnt out in the process. You can’t expect to get a week’s worth of work-outs done in one day without ending up overworked and drained in the end.

When you feel like you’ve put in the necessary effort to reach your short-term and long-term goals, be sure to take a few breaks, too. Resting gives your body the energy to refuel so you can power through your future tasks with strength.

13. Be Optimistic and Anticipate Positive Results

What if I told you a positive attitude is all it takes to push you toward achieving your goals? While it may seem like the idea that “happiness equals success” is just a silly phrase posted onto school posters lining classroom walls across the nation, research backs the notion that positivity directly correlates to drive.

A research study conducted at a Washington, D.C., grade school proved that higher levels of happiness and positivity resulted in significantly higher GPAs for children when compared to students with a negative mindset. When you feel like you’re having fun while completing a task, you’re far more likely to be engaged and obtain your desired results.

If you’re stuck in a cycle of frustration, simply let go of that stress and replace your creased brows with a smile instead.

14. Remove Unwanted Distractions

A quick glance at that text your mom just sent you turns into countless hours watching puppy and kitten animals on YouTube instead. You have a world of distractions sitting at your very fingertips. From cell phones and laptops to tablets and TVs, it’s no wonder even getting out of bed becomes a difficult task on its own.

If you want to get anything done, you’ll have to remove any unwanted distractions where they can no longer prevent you from achieving more essential duties. Consider installing a website blocker that hinders your ability to get sidetracked throughout the day.

15. Get Started

The most important part of any task is finding the energy to get started. It doesn’t have to be a tremendous start, either. Small efforts can lead to a wave of impact and help give you the initiative necessary to reach noticeable progress that can keep you going.

Embrace the idea that change is not immediate and you likely won’t achieve your goals in a matter of days. Remember that nothing is impossible or too unbearable when you put your mind to work in a constructive, creative, and powerful way.

So put down your tablet, iPhone, or whatever you’re reading this article on and get up and go. Once you take that first necessary step towards progress, you’ll see that finding the motivation to change may not be so hard after all.


Do you want to know how to set up your workplace and your computer to get more done? Are you interested to know how you can structure your ideal day and build routines? If you answered yes to both or even just one, then join our FREE TRAINING by clicking this link. It is absolutely 100% free.

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Thanh Pham

Founder of Asian Efficiency where we help people become more productive at work and in life. I've been featured on Forbes, Fast Company, and The Globe & Mail as a productivity thought leader. At AE I'm responsible for leading teams and executing our vision to assist people all over the world live their best life possible.

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  1. ive been tryin for years to get anything done. your article not only mentions the thoughts i have about achieving goals but addressed the answer to those issues. thanks alot for giving me enough new info that i can work with and i have the hope of getting things done now thanks to you. :]

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