Why We Can’t Get Motivated

Study, work, career, health and fitness, family and friends – we all have things we want to do well at. Here is the reason why we just can’t get motivated.

Source: Jim Davis

A lot of us struggle in the area of being motivated and disciplined. All of us have things that we know that we should be doing. We often have several commitments that we have put our names against, whether it be in a workplace, in a volunteer capacity, or even in the home. We start projects that we don’t always find the energy to finish, and often we struggle to muster the passion for things that others seem to have.

This is probably the most true of those who are conducting tertiary study. It’s very common to hear uni and TAFE (or college if you’re outside of Australia) students complaining about having to get to classes on time, do their assignments, complete the milestones by the assigned time – heck, even just open the textbook and do enough of the readings to be ready for the mid-semester.

Another area where a lot of us are lacking in passion is in the workplace. Where we maybe once enjoyed our chosen profession, we quickly subscribe to the daily grind. Weekends can’t come fast enough, and Monday is the most discouraging of times in our lives.

Even in marriage, the motivation and passion you may have once had may be lacking. Spending time with your husband or wife becomes a chore instead of the joyful time it once was, and it feels like you’re just going through the motions.

As a result, many of us find us changing our chosen course at regular intervals. This is moreso true about career and study. It is not a wonder that in 2005, NBC reported 50% of college students make the expensive decision to change their major at some point. People also jump in and out of jobs like there’s no tomorrow. And often, people end up somewhere where they are still unsatisfied and just do it all again.

Or if you don’t jump out, it can really be terrible legitimately not enjoying what you are doing with your life.

And all these voices in our lives are telling us we need to be more motivated. The personal trainer encourages you to get up earlier in the mornings and get motivated for it. The tutor encourages you to take notes and pay attention in class and get motivated for it. Your marriage counselor says you need to be more intentional in investing in your spouse and get motivated for it. Your parents tell you to stop slacking off and act like a grown man or a grown woman.

…But how do you get motivated for it?

I think there is one really simple reason why we fail to be motivated in one or multiple areas of our lives. One reason why we start and stop diets, work with no joy, and subscribe to the notion of the rat race and just keep on spinning our wheels.

Here it is:

You don’t know, or have forgotten, why you’re doing it

Without a reason why, any and every commitment we can make in life can become laborious and dull.

One common motivator (not the only one) for people to change their health is unfortunately heart attack. Either they experience one, or someone they know experiences one. All of a sudden, they drop back into a healthy weight range, eat better, and are healthier than ever. Why is that they struggled with doing those things before, but now all of a sudden it’s the easiest decision in the world?

Cause they have a reason why they need to do it. They have a really clear picture of what happens if they don’t do it, and they have a clear vision of what will happen if they do stay motivated in looking after themselves.

The same is often true in other areas. It sometimes takes a giant shock to the system for people to reevaluate exactly what they are doing with their lives. Mid-life crisis, anxiety, low levels of satisfaction, indecision in the areas of important areas – all of these are usually triggered by sagging levels of motivation, caused by a lack of personal vision for your life.

So… why do you do what you do?

Why are you in the course you’re enrolled in? If you hate it, why are you still doing it? If you don’t know what you’re going to do with it afterwards, why are you spending the tens of thousands of dollars on the course, and drearily spending all your time going to the classes and lectures? Or spending all that time avoiding it?

How about the job you’re in? Maybe you’ve been there for several years, and you’re just trapped in the monotony of the tasks you go through every day. Why are you still there? Why do you spend 40-60 hours a week there if you hate it?

If you’re struggling for motivation, take it as a sign to reevaluate your reasons and readjust your sails if necessary.

If you go for a drive to a particular location in your car, you’re going to have a lot of trouble finding it if you just generically driving in any direction. Sure, you may eventually find where you want to go, but without aim or focus, you’re likely not to find it.

A lot of us live our lives like driving that car. We just jump behind the wheel, turn the keys, and start going. And sure, you can just enjoy leisurely seeing the sights and checking things out. But there comes a point where you need to make a decision to work out exactly where you want to end up.

We’re still playing halfhearted games of aimlessness when it comes to a lot of areas in our lives. And then we look around and we see people who have been greatly successful in the areas of their career, their purpose, their marriage, their family. Little do we realize that it has taken great effort and intention to cause those things to happen.

Go to any motivational speaking course, any business coach, any financial planner, and they will always start you out by asking you why you want their help. It’s a foundational question to ask.

One of the greatest motivators in history was Jesus Christ. Scripture records so many facts about who the Messiah was supposed to be and what he was supposed to do. Fast forward to a particular night where Jesus is facing death on a cross. During much of His ministry, He had been saying with great conviction that the purpose of His existence was to seek and save the lost. That the Son of Man had to be crucified and give His life as a ransom for many. “For this purpose, I have come into this world”. What a sentence to say about your life!

The author of Hebrews points out to us that Jesus was able to do what He did “for the joy set before Him”. Amazing. No matter what challenges came His way, even suffering as an innocent man on behalf of people who may not even ever care about what He did for them, He was able to set His face like flint and fulfill His calling.

What is the joy set before you?

If you’re struggling to get motivated, remember the joy that is set before you. What does that look like to you? Is it having enough money to feed your family and fund your ministry? Is it building a professional network that invests in business men and women? Is it to make sure your wife and kids are the happiest people they can be? Is it to be a great mother? Is it because you know there is a greater dream inside of you that you know that you know that you know isn’t just about yourself, but for others?

A bit of a reality check for all of us is that there will always be days, even weeks, where we don’t get to do the most glorious or enjoyable of tasks. Some subjects aren’t as interesting, some work projects aren’t run as well, some friends are going to say some stupid things. But if you can keep it in front of you the reason why you do what you do, you will find yourself able to wake up every day and do what you know you need to do.

Without vision, the people perish and/or dwell foolishly. Don’t lose your vision.


What are some other ways to get motivated? What are some things that have helped you in some of those harder times?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Discover more from Walking the Shoreline

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading