There are a lot of people who complain that their motivation and ambition are low or lacking. Some people have chronically low motivation, where other are experiencing a sudden drop in drive. In this article we will talk about potential causes and fixes for both.

What Is Motivation?

Motivation is the desire to take action toward a goal. This drive to achieve and accomplish can be derived internally or externally. External reasons may include trying to gain someone’s approval, acceptance, or validation. Internally oriented ambition is generally more about living up to one’s own standards and expectations. Long term it is better to have internal motivation than external. Doing things for yourself tends to have more staying power than doing things for someone else. If you become less interested in the person who you are doing things for, or you find yourself angry or developing resentments toward that person, motivation can drop off in a hurry. Trying to make goals and outcomes internally oriented can be a decision you make and set youR mind to. It may require reminding yourself of it periodically though.

There are a number of variables that can cause motivation to falter and decline. Let’s examine a few of them that are relevant to the chronically unmotivated. Lacking confidence can really squelch your drive to tackle a goal. If you don’t feel confident and that you will be successful, the fear of failure or disappointment may keep you from starting in the first place. Related to this can be a tendency toward perfectionism. Many perfectionists striving for the impossible and unattainable find themselves reluctant to start on a goal because they know it will not turn out perfect like they want it in their mind. Similarly, not wanting to fail, or be imperfect, can really kill drive and ambition. We have heard many perfectionists say, “you can’t fail, if you don’t try.” Lastly, we see many people who are prone to procrastination. In many cases, we have some people who have learned the opposite of “work before play”. The tendency toward immediate gratification (play first), leaves people with only the work left over and nothing to look forward to afterwards. In many instances, people just opt not to do the work at all. There is nothing to motivate them to start such as finishing the work and getting to play afterward.

There could also be a couple variables at play if you find your normal motivation levels may dropped off suddenly and unexpectedly. Depression, which can sneak up on people, is a common culprit for a reduction in normal motivation levels. Experiencing increased stress and being overwhelmed can also cause people to lose their normal drive and ambition. Lastly, low Vitamin D levels or testosterone levels can negatively impact energy, which in turn dampens drive and motivation. This is not an exhaustive list, but some of the common variables that could be negatively affecting your motivation level.

Improving Motivation & Ambition

Now let us look at ways to combat these causes and try to improve your ambition and motivation levels. When it comes to confidence, there is no better way to get there than practice. If the task is one you will be doing regularly, then get your feet wet, adjust for expectations on the first few tries and trust that you will get better as time goes on. Additionally, you can try to get educated on something to increase confidence. Whether it’s reading up, or watching a couple YouTube videos, a little knowledge can help increase confidence. When it comes to perfectionism, you may find yourself in need of a little therapy to conquer this task master. This personality trait can take some time and work to modify and there are really no quick fixes to changing this. For the procrastinators, we really encourage you to change the lifestyle, learn to police yourself, and dangle the carrot. If you can change over to delayed gratification, you can leverage the fun stuff to your advantage. The other approach is “slow and steady wins the race”. Rather than waiting for a deadline and a massive dump of adrenaline to force you to run around, try pacing yourself and chip away a little bit every day. It doesn’t all have to be done at once for two hours. If you can do 20 minutes daily, that may make it more tolerable and the job still gets done by the end of the week. If you have had a sudden drop in motivation, you can easily pop in to see your Primary Care Physician to have some labs drawn to check your Vitamin D and/or testosterone levels. If you think you may be falling into a depression, then you definitely want to explore medication, therapy, or both.

If you want figure what is going on with your motivation level and how to increase it, feel free to contact IPC so you can schedule a consultation with one of our psychologists or psychiatrists so we can help discuss treatment options. Please call us now at 763-416-4167, or request an appointment on our website: WWW.IPC-MN.COM so we can sit down with you and complete thorough assessment and help you develop a plan of action that will work for you. Life is too short to be unhappy. Find the peace of mind you deserve.

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