No Motivation At Work : Overcoming the Wall

Written by: Jacqueline Osgood Renouard  – BA (Psychology)

Last updated date : Febraury 09, 2023

If you’re struggling in motivating yourself and you’re starting to see that you have no motivation at work, good. The fact that you’re here trying to understand it is the first step to seeing that there is something better for you out there—another path.

Where our motivation comes from is an age-old question, which thinkers, leaders, and philosophers have all tried to answer.

“You were not born on earth to please anyone; you have to live life to express yourself, not to impress someone. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not, and never lose yourself in search of other people’s acceptance and approval.” ― Roy T. Bennett.

Although we can guide you with what we know, ultimately, motivation is a personal and individual experience. But, let’s try to understand it a bit better together.

Young girl working from home, looks distracted in front of laptop, shows no motivation at work

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Chapter 1:

The Psychology Behind Motivation

Motivation is this sense of moving into action, to working towards a particular goal. There are all types of goals we want in this life, and their motivations are equally complex. It’s due to a mixture of how we think, our environment, and even our biology.

There is also the material incentives we’ve grown up with, this sense of achievement when we get money or the thing we want. Our emotions can also factor into what we want and how we set about achieving it.

Our mind, how we perceive the world around us, is a huge factor in feeling no motivation at work. As Abraham Maslow explains in his theory of hierarchical order, first, we must be dissatisfied with the way we live in order to go towards fulfilment.

Other’s talk of positive reinforcing behaviours that help us stay motivated. Setting goals that are attainable and planning for them, breaking them into chunks when we get stuck. There are many psychological on motivation, and we would recommend you skim through them to get a well-rounded idea of the psychology of motivation.

Chapter 2:

Stuck in a Rut

This is the perfect time to assess your needs and wants and whether you’re getting them now. What is your motivation at the moment? How does that motivation make you feel? If you have no motivation for work whatsoever, why? To reframe it, what is your intention with your career? For example, as the writer of this article, mine is to help you understand yourself better, to find that spark of motivation from within yourself. Now look at your career and ask yourself what you’re doing to help someone else? How does your role, however big or small, fit the bigger picture?

What is your purpose?

If you’re struggling to find the answers to this, that’s perfectly normal. It takes time to uncover how we truly feel and what we want from this world.

Sometimes it’s even good to look at our motivations and question whether they’re honestly good for our wellbeing and how creating more balance in all the aspects of our lives might be a better route.

Chapter 3:

Write it – Do it – Keep Going

It’s reaffirming psychologically to write down our goals. Once they’re written down they become materialised, our ideas begin to take shape. Start to create rough plans in motivating yourself; you won’t always follow them to the letter, but writing them down is a fantastic start. The next step is doing.

Train for the marathon, practice your craft, publish your artwork, do the thing. Fear is a huge reason we hold back from doing the things we want, but what if setting a little bit of time each day towards it could change your life for the better?

Whatever your goal is, you need to practice, and you need to start doing it and make a whole bunch of mistakes. Ah yes, the fear of failure. What if I fail and these mistakes reaffirm that I am unworthy? What if they reaffirm that I’m not good enough to have the life I want?

These thoughts are normal, be aware that they are trying to preserve a life that isn’t bringing you joy. Why? Perhaps because it’s more comfortable to live in that way, more practical as our society might put it.

But you are worthy of attaining your goals. You are good enough to reshape your life. So, make those mistakes, push through and analyse them, learn how to get better. Just keep on doing a little bit each day. Even when you’re not motivated because the truth is everybody is lazy.

Even the best will tell you there are more days that they don’t want to train than days they do. But what do they do? They train anyway.

Chapter 4:

The Power of Motivation & Visualization

Time to get specific about what you want, I want to buy my own home isn’t enough. Put a date on it, figure out where, ask yourself if that will make you happy, and if so – tell yourself when and how you will get it. If you feel no motivation at work because you’re not where you want to be, outline how you want to shape your career, what position do you want in two years? What day-to-day tasks do you want to do?

The wonderful thing about that is that you may not get that house in a year or whatever your timeframe is, but you will have gotten closer than you were before. Motivation is realising you can do something right now, at this moment, to go towards your goal. You have the choice to spend the hours in your day – doing.

Chapter 5:

Real Motivation Examples

Look at how you’re spending your time each day, and slowly commit to new habits. You don’t need to do these all at once, or any of them. Especially if they don’t lead you to what you truly want, these are just ideas to get you thinking about the right way to motivate yourself.

But if you did eventually incorporate all of these elements into your life. It would mean a total of 50 minutes spent on yourself.

  • I will consciously choose to eat food that is good for my body, swapping one unhealthy meal at a time.
  • I’ll move my body in ways that will make it happier, stronger, and more flexible, trying ten minutes a day to start for a month and seeing if it’s beneficial to me.
  • I will practice for twenty minutes, the thing I love to do.
  • I’ll swap out scrolling aimlessly through my phone before bed with reading five pages of a book.
  • I will plan for five minutes a day how I will get to my goals.
  • I’ll meditate for five minutes a day for a month and assess the benefits.
  • I will strive for purpose in life, following a path that leads me to joy, and creating a balanced lifestyle.

Chapter 6:

Finding Purpose and Finding Wellbeing

These two words are fascinating; purpose feels more aggressive like a go-getter, while wellbeing is gentle and about taking care of yourself. But, what if the two are interlinked? Perhaps the road to finding our purpose and motivation at work is to first take care of ourselves physically and mentally. In psychology, there are two forms of motivation intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic motivation comes from external sources, people, rewards, and so on. Intrinsic comes from within us, and it’s that internal pull towards what we value.

Motivating yourself begins with looking after ourselves and showing ourselves the love and respect we need. First, ask yourself what motivates you internally without any reward. Also, look at what aspects of yourself you may have been neglecting and how to take steps to look after yourself – so you can go on to achieving the best version of yourself.

Chapter 7:

Increasing your Motivation

Accept Feeling Unmotivated
We all have an inner critic who likes to get us down about being lazy or procrastinating. Understand that this inner critic is trying to protect you, but might be a little overly anxious due to past experiences. So, just listen to the negative self-talk and put systems in place to ease it.

For example, your inner critic may say there aren’t enough hours in the day! Then carve out a plan, start small with a few minutes a day, and slowly build up from there.

Chunks Are Easier
When no motivation at work strikes, Break it down into chunks is one of my favourite phrases when I personally feel stuck. It’s easy to shoot forward in our minds when working on a project and see the million and one things that need to get done before we reach our goal. In those moments, remind yourself to break it down, take it a step at a time, and begin.

You can also incorporate the positive reinforcement touched upon before. This is what you would do with training an animal, give them a treat when they complete a task. Although, we’re not dogs, we do have a similar reward system, so treat yourself when you’ve done a step towards your goals.

Diets, Exercise, And Becoming Thin
A sense of no motivation at work can be linked to other goals like exercise. If your goal is to fit into those slightly tight pants again because you want to be “thin,” consider this, why is being thin better? Why are you unhappy with your weight?

Diet, or our preferred word, nutrition and exercise, are about so much more than being thin. They help us balance our body’s chemistry, they re-align our minds, balance our mood, and create health that starts from within.

Start by understanding that what you put into your body is literally what becomes your body. Learn about what foods improve your mood, how to have a balanced plate of food, and how that can fuel your body to have more energy for movement.

Calorie counting isn’t necessary when you understand the fundamentals of food unless you’re an athlete, of course. Cook from scratch, get the right portions of complex carbohydrates, whole grains, vegetables, lean protein, fruits, and water.

Try not to worry about cutting any type of food out. You can still eat a doughnut or piece of cake and enjoy it – just try to create a balance.

Money & Finances
Learning to put money away for a rainy day takes practice, but helps in motivating yourself. Now, there’s no need to go into a cafe and take home the toilet role to save a few pennies. But, committing to putting whatever percentage of your paycheck into a savings account is a fantastic step. Take a chunk of your earnings and create yourself an emergency fund for the day your car breaks down or you need a new TV.

The beauty of learning to save money is that you can then spend it on the things that motivate you, take out a gym membership, invest in your projects, or just spend it on those treats, once you have enough.

The Fickleness of New Years Resolutions
The New Year resolutions come just after the Christmas period when everyone has slightly overindulged in the yummy foods and alcohol. So people throw everything into sticking to very overwhelming goals, and after a few weeks, they falter and give up. The initial motivating yourself rush dwindles.

It’s this all-or-nothing or, in psychology, the black and white thinking – “I must run a whole marathon by the end of the month,” or “I can’t eat bread!” That sets an unrealistic expectation. Then once we realise it’s unrealistic, we take it to heart, as if we are incapable of achieving it.

This is where I will say my favourite phrase, break it down into chunks. Do you want to run a marathon? Start small, I’m going to run up and down my road for the next few months – I will spend five minutes running every third day, even if I don’t achieve the full five minutes, I will keep trying.

Also, I aim to eat a more balanced and nutritious meal, I aim to learn how to fuel my body. The word learn implies practice, implies I might fail sometimes, and that’s okay because I’m learning. So, go out there and use the New Year as a learning tool.

Hitting Your Nose on The Brick Wall
Perhaps before you’ve managed to build up healthy habits that helped grow your motivation at work, you were exercising every day and living your best life. Then bam! The brick wall hit and your motivation swooped out of your life faster than a seagull that poops on your jacket.

Now you may fear coming up against the wall, but there’s no need. Walls can eventually be taken down. Much like hitting the wall in running, I believe that we come up against this wall in day-to-day life.

We may start a project and charge towards it and then hit an invisible wall. A good rule of thumb in running is to start small and increase your distance by 10% every three weeks. Anything you will do in life requires a blend of patience, consistency, and small incremental steps.

Chapter 8:

Motivating yourself to Find Motivation at Work

Lastly, be your biggest cheerleader, especially if nobody else is grabbing the pom-poms. Praise yourself for the achievements (big or small) that you’ve already accomplished, and thank yourself for seeking the motivation for the next ones. Whether you want to overcome motivation at work or in life, the two are one and the same.

Use this article as a guide to help you discover the unique person that you already are. We hope you take the best care of yourself and give yourself time to get to where you need to go in life. You didn’t even need this article to tell you that you got this, you know you do.

"Structured and engaging course" Joan

69 sections

6-Weeks Self-Paced

  • Educational Content
  • Quizzes
  • Self-reflection material
  • Suggestions & feedback
  • Worksheet, tips & tools to use

$9.00 $12.00

25% discount