How to Recharge Your Lost Motivation

The very definition of an article on productivity. For reals!

by Adam Dachis

Even the most motivated people run out of steam sometimes. Maybe you’re exhausted or feel as though your creativity has been depleted, but for whatever reason, you can’t get your act together. Here are a few strategies for recharging your motivation.

Dear Lifehacker,
Lately I’ve been completely unmotivated to do anything. Getting things done at work is a challenge, and it’s even worse at home. My apartment is becoming a mess, I never cook anymore and I’ve been unable to keep up a healthy diet. I don’t feel depressed or all that unhappy—just very unmotivated. Is there anything I can do to recharge?

Dangerously Demotivated

Dear DD,

A lack of motivation is a difficult problem because there are likely many factors contributing to it, but the simplest way to get your motivation back is to do something you want to do. The problem with that is when you’re low on the necessary energy and willpower needed to start a particular task, your motivation is generally re-routed to indulge in something effortless like food or entertainment. Overindulgence, as you’ve likely noticed, only serves to make the problem worse. So what do you do? First, we need to pinpoint what’s causing your lack of motivation and then we need to find ways you can trick yourself into getting it back.

Social rejection can kill your motivation

Motivation can be depleted by a number of sources. A 2012 post by David McRaney, author of the human behavior blog and book You Are Not So Smart, discusses many of them. One study asked a group of students to meet each other and then write down who they’d like to work with on a piece of paper. The researchers conducting the study ignored their choices and told some that they were chosen and others that nobody wanted them. Unsurprisingly, the rejected were unhappy, but here’s how it changed their behavior and why:

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