When Your Motivation Levels Are Low, Try This

How to get back on track if you’re struggling with low motivation.

By: Chelsea Frank

Struggling to stick to your meal plan? Slacking off with your workouts? Watching a few extra episodes of The Office instead of finishing your tasks? In these challenging times, it’s totally understandable if you’ve got a case of low motivation. There’s a lot going on and it can be exhausting! 

In order to overcome your low motivation, we’ve researched some expert tips to help you get back on track so you can stay fit, stay healthy, and accomplish your goals. Forget yesterday, we’re starting over now.

5 Things to Try When You Need a Boost of Motivation 

#1 Follow Inspiring Media Accounts

You’re on the ‘gram looking at photos of sandwiches and puppies all the time; you might as well find some inspiration on there! There are tons of motivational and inspirational accounts to follow, whether that be on social media, podcasts, or YouTube channels! 

We love @selfcareisforeveryone and @training_with_t for fitness motivation on Instagram, and The BodyLove Podcast. There’s tons out there, so do some quick research and find the ones that are right for you.

#2 Write a Contract 

Make a pledge. In fact, research shows the drawing up contracts can help with low motivation in a variety of ways, especially if you’re struggling. You can even throw a little money at the problem by drawing up a contract that says, “if I don’t accomplish X goal by Y date, I will donate Z amount to a charity.” Just make sure you tell a friend or loved one to hold you accountable and make the amount sizable enough that you’ll be extra motivated to complete the task!

#3 Try Habit Stacking

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear talks about the idea of “habit stacking,” where you stack a habit you want to form either before or after (or sometimes during) a habit you already do every day. For example, if you know every morning you watch the news at 8 AM, you can decide you’re going to stretch during the program. 

Now you’ve stacked a habit you want to form into a time slot you already know you have! Other ideas include:

  • After I brush my teeth at night, I’ll meditate for 5 minutes.
  • Before I check my morning emails, I’ll go for a 10-minute walk around the block.
  • While I listen to my favorite daily podcast, I’ll do 100 squats.

#4 Celebrate Each Win

If your motivation has taken a dip, you might need to remind yourself of how good it feels each time you succeed — no matter how big or small. Studies show that rewards can enhance learning and activate certain beneficial parts of your brain, so reward yourself every time you cross something off your to-do list! 

Here are some healthy rewards to employ to counteract your low motivation:

  • After I do my tough HIIT workout, I am going to reward myself with a luxurious bubble bath.
  • If I can make it to 20 full push-ups, I will reward myself with new workout clothes.
  • If I go the full week sticking to my meal plan, I will reward myself with a massage.

#5 Set Realistic, Measurable Goals

Sometimes the bump in our low motivation is feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of our goals. It’s a lot more intimidating to say, “I want to lose 50 lbs” than it is to say, “I want to stick to my meal plan this week.” 

Research shows that you’re more likely to succeed if you break up your goals into smaller, more manageable chunks that feel within reach. All of these little wins build on each other. After a few months, your little wins turn into big gains, but it didn’t feel like climbing a huge mountain to get there.

No Time Like the Present

When our motivation has been lagging, it can feel really tough to get back on track. But it’s not about what we did or didn’t do yesterday; we can’t go back in time. It’s all about the present moment and the choices we make going forward. Employ these tips and watch your motivation skyrocket!