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What to do when you have no motivation

Experiencing a loss of motivation is something all of us have suffered at some period in our lives.

But if you are constantly feeling dejected, empty, tired, and struggling to get out of bed, your subconscious mind may be giving you hints that something is off. By trying to push through it, we could end up feeling worse and even less motivated!

Naturopath, nutritionist, fitness trainer and breath coach Bek Nutter suggests that by properly exploring why you’re not feeling motivated could make it easier to snap out of your low mood.

When you have no motivation to complete a task (or even start one), consider the possible reasons why you’re struggling,” she says.

A lack of motivation is a common symptom of depression. It can also be linked to other mental illnesses, like anxiety. So, it’s important to consider whether your mental health may be affecting your motivation level. I like to dig a little deeper.”

How your body is telling you to rest when you lack motivation

Finding motivation can be really challenging, but we need to ask ourselves what is really happening here. There’s a reason why everything may feel harder than usual.

It may be your body telling you it needs a ‘time out’. We should be using this cue to take a break instead of pushing ourselves uphill. We should feel better for having a rest and more likely to get our motivation back,” says Bek.

We often start something with burning motivation, our drive is strong. But as time goes by, we forget why we are doing it. Take weight loss as an example. You might want to lose 5kg, but then you may change the goal posts and want to lose more. Then if you have an off day, you might be really mean to yourself.

“How can you stay motivated if the goal posts are constantly changing or you are being mean to yourself? Instead of thinking, ‘I have to lose a certain amount of weight by this time’, think about being a better mum or better human, whatever it is you want to do,” says Bek.

It comes from a place self-love, not punishment. Suddenly that goal isn’t time based, you just want to be the best version of you and do the amazing things you want to do.”

Life is more complex these days

When it comes to motivation, we fight against our own physiology and our hard wiring. If we think about our true nature – our ‘caveman self’ – life was harder back then and we needed motivation in order to survive. We couldn’t walk into a supermarket to get food. We had to work for our food i.e. hunted or gathered to get what we needed.

“We are naturally drawn to chocolate over the apple because it’s high energy. Then after we’d eaten we would’ve rested to conserve energy. That’s how you would’ve survived as a ‘caveman’,” says Bek.

Think about how we live today, it’s a complete mishmash. Our hunter gathering would be walking to the front door to collect a food delivery and then sit on the lounge and eat it.

“We don’t have to work for our food any more. We are drawn to energy rich food and our bodies are drawn to rest. We tell ourselves to move more and eat less, but it’s against our physiology!”

How connecting with others and green exercise can help

Coming back to our ‘caveman self’, the things humans needed back then to be happy, survive and thrive, was to connect with other people in our tribe. We would’ve done that through music, dance, in nature and with our tribe.

“Instead of fighting battle, use physiology to stay motivated. Go out and exercise. Train with others, put on music, get into nature and head outside,” suggests Bek.

“Research shows that people who train outside (green exercise), put out a higher-level of physical exertion whilst exercising with others, than other people doing it inside on a treadmill on their own.

“When we are trying to work out why we are not feeling motivated, we should ask ourselves if we are working against our physiology!”

Recap on the things we have learned when we are lacking in motivation:

  • Stop beating yourself up for lacking in motivation. You may need time out to rest and recover
  • Be kinder to yourself and stop changing the goal posts
  • Think of your ‘caveman-self’ and go outside in nature, connect with people and exercise.

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