For subscribers only


Written on 12/09/2022
Sophie Kirk

Frankly, you’re not human if you haven’t experienced a lack of motivation at some point in your life! Every time you’ve sat on the sofa and thought ‘I need to do X’, but not been able to summon up the energy to go and do it? Or even the ability to care about if it gets done? That’s a lack of motivation.


What is Motivation?

If we’re going by the dictionary definition, motivation is:

‘A reason or reasons for acting or behaving in a particular way.’

But that definition is mainly about the reasons behind people doing things – like when the police ask a suspect what their ‘motive’ could have been for committing a crime. Instead, we think of motivation more as the desires, wants or drives of an individual. Motivation is the thing that drives you to achieve your goals. It’s a very personal thing!

Most of the time, we have the motivation to do most things. There’s a lot that can be accomplished in life if we’re motivated to get the work done! But if you’re in that place where you’re having a hard time caring about things that need to be done, then you’re lacking motivation. You can struggle with motivation about something small, something big, or it can be something that seeps into every aspect of your life.


How Does a Lack of Motivation Feel?

The easy answer would of course be, ‘like you don’t have the motivation to do anything.’ But that’s a bit of a catch-all answer. The reality is that a lack of motivation can feel different to everyone, and it can even feel different depending on the situation.

For example, some people struggle overall with motivation to do anything. Even something as simple as getting out of bed seems impossible, and try as they might, they can’t find the energy or enthusiasm to sit up, turn around, put their feet on the floor and stand up. But for others, they might be fine with that, but struggle when it’s time to do their work. Or clean the house. Or read to the children. It can range from just feeling too tired and fed up to care about doing the thing right now, through to not even caring if the things gets done at all.

The occasional lack of motivation is completely normal, and it can usually be overcome with a little time and support. But a chronic lack of motivation can be almost debilitating. It can crush you, and sometimes literally prevent you from taking any action whatsoever. You have no desire or interest in doing the task ahead of you, even if you know you should, no matter what the consequences. It can make you feel apathetic, as well as incredibly guilty. When lack of motivation reaches this stage, you may need support to help you identify the underlying cause and get the treatment you need.


What Causes Low Motivation?

Again, we can’t tell you exactly what’s causing your lack of motivation, because it’s an incredibly personal thing to you, where you are in your life right now, and what you want to achieve. What we can say is that one of the single biggest causes of low motivation is depression. When you are depressed, you’re in an almost constant low mood, which can affect many different aspects of your life. Depression leaves you feeling completely uninterested in anything that could bring joy, or even anything remotely productive. 

Depression and lack of motivation go hand in hand, so if you think you’re suffering with depression, you’ve probably noticed some familiar symptoms in here already.


A few other causes for a lack of motivation can include:


  •  Mental health problems.
  •  Not knowing what you want.
  •  Fatigue.
  •  Feeling overwhelmed.
  •  Procrastination.
  •  Emotional issues.
  •  Not doing enough.
  •  Trying to please everyone (but not yourself).
  •  Having a fixed mindset.
  •  Overloaded schedule.
  •  Self-doubt.

If you’re struggling with lack of motivation, it’s important to identify the cause, so that you can figure out how best to overcome it. If you’re depressed, you can reach out for help. If you’re too busy, take time to get organised and prioritise your schedule. A lack of motivation can be overcome, you just need to understand the root cause, which you can do on your own, or with the help of a therapist. There is also lots of content on Melp to help you navigate these feelings, use the search funtion (in menu section). 

Subscriber content only

To access this content and all of our unlimited content subscribe now