8 Nasty Motivation Killers and How to Avoid Them

8 Motivation KillersSometimes, success is less about what you do and more about what you don’t do. When it comes to breaking free of bad habits and motivation killers, it is often easier to begin by cutting bad habits before introducing good ones.

Are you struggling to get motivated? Having trouble reaching goals or crossing items off your to-do list? Maybe you need to kick one or more of these nasty motivation road-blocks to the curb.

1. Envy

Envy is a great way to halt your progress before you even have a chance to get started. With the overwhelming array of social media available to us, we’re constantly bombarded with photos, videos, texts and status updates regaling us with the successes of friends, family, acquaintances and celebrities. It’s too easy to feel jealous of someone else’s success and assume we won’t be happy if we can’t achieve the same result in the same time.

You don’t have to abandon all of social media in order to fight envy. Just remember this: with social media, you’re constantly comparing your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel. Think about what you post. You’re more likely to post your successes, right? Then isn’t it safe to assume your friends aren’t sharing all of the hard work, setbacks, blood, sweat and tears that made up this recent success?

To kick jealousy to the curb, try redirecting those feelings. The next time you see someone else’s success, think, “if they can do it, I can do it.”

2. Isolation

Nothing happens in a vacuum. The best way to ensure a lack of motivation is to keep your goals to yourself. Sharing your goals with someone else provides accountability. It’s easy to slack off when you’re only answering to yourself. Knowing someone else is going to ask how a task is going makes it easier to get off the couch and get to work.

Be sure to pick someone who will follow up with you. Pick someone who will encourage you to succeed and be excited for you when you do.

3. Negative Self-Talk

Saying “I can’t” guarantees you won’t. Nothing kills motivation quite like negative self-talk. Like envy, negative self-talk often arises from comparisons with others.

Instead of focusing on how you’re not like someone else — not as young, not as educated, not as strong, not as celebrated — focus on your strengths. Make a list of what you’re good at and keep those affirmations close by.

It’s okay to be realistic about areas where you still need work, but use that knowledge to motivate yourself to keep growing or to seek assistance, instead of using it as an excuse not to try. Continuing to learn and improve on weak areas will only help improve your overall motivation in the long run.

4. Impatience

“Haste makes waste.” Oftentimes we’re so impatient to see results, we rush the process and end up with a disappointing outcome. As a result of that disappointment, we will in turn feel less motivated for the next task. “Why bother?” we’ll ask. “Look at how it turned out last time.”

Make it a point to commit fully to the task at hand rather than wishing it were already done. Giving your undivided attention to a goal and working patiently to see it through means you will be more satisfied with the end result, and your motivation will increase thanks to your success.

5. Setbacks

Failing to factor in setbacks and unforeseen obstacles is a big motivation killer. When setting time frames for goals, it’s important to remember there will always be interruptions that are beyond our control. Instead of setting your project deadline for the minimum time — the “in a perfect world with no interruptions” time — assume it will take 10 to 20% longer than you think. By incorporating a little extra time to allow for road-bumps and setbacks, you won’t feel devastated when a task takes a little longer to complete. Best of all, if you’re lucky enough to avoid any setbacks, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find yourself finishing ahead of time.

6. Unrealistic goals

Just like not expecting setbacks, expecting to accomplish an unrealistic task — or a realistic task in an unrealistic time — will kill your motivation.

You can’t set a goal of “I’ll have a lucrative music career in three weeks” if you’ve never picked up an instrument nor had any interaction with the professional music world. It’s perfectly fine to set a goal of having a successful music career, just be sure to break it down into manageable and realistic steps. Start with: “In three weeks I’ll have purchased my first guitar and gone to my first music lesson” as a first step instead.

7. Overthinking

When you spend all your time thinking about everything that needs done, it becomes impossible to get anything done. You begin to overthink, overplan and overworry, constantly running over your complete to-do list rather than committing to one task and getting it done.

To get unstuck, try prioritizing your goals. Pick the top three things that need done first, and don’t even think about any other tasks until those three are done. Once they’re checked off, pick three more and repeat.

Trying to focus on everything at once means you’re only seeing what isn’t done, which makes it hard to motivate yourself to get anything done. By focusing on little chunks at a time, your motivation can get a jump start from crossing a few items off the list, rather than stalling out because all you do is reread the list without taking any action.

8. Overworking

It seems counter intuitive to recommend rest on a list of motivation killers; after all, doesn’t too much rest keep you from getting started? True, if all you do is nap or watch TV then you probably do have an issue with too much rest. However, if you work so hard you constantly burn out, then a lack of rest might be your motivation killer.

Build in little breaks, whether they’re mental or physical. Don’t be afraid to step away for a moment. Periodic breaks are important for maintaining motivation for the long haul.

What’s your motivation killer? Take a little time to evaluate what’s holding you back and then figure out how to fight it. Motivation is one of the strongest tools in your arsenal, so be sure to keep it honed.
Kayla Matthews is a motivational blogger with a passion for self-improvement and positive thinking. To read more of her latest posts, follow Twitter, or on her personal blog, Productivity Theory.


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