I Don’t Want To Do Anything: Manage Your Motivation

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You are not alone if you have felt that you don’t want to do anything. 

Most people feel some lapses in motivation. Even the most successful people sometimes lose their inspiration. The key is to have a plan.

Managing your motivation isn’t easy. You won’t change all of your bad habits overnight. But you can increase your motivation with practice. Not in a late-stage capitalist nightmare, but in an “I’m doing this for me” way. 

I don’t want to discuss mindfulness practices for motivation so that you can grind out more spreadsheets. I want to share my experience with the “I don’t want to do anything” feeling. 

I don't want to do anything

Why Don’t I Want to Do Anything?

There are many reasons we lose motivation. 

Sometimes, anxiety or fear can lead you to avoidant behavior. You might have so much to do that you don’t feel you can handle it. This causes you to shut down.

Or you may have nothing pressing going on and find it hard to start anything new. 

There might also be medical reasons for feeling like you don’t want to do anything. Anhedonia, or lack of motivation or ability to feel pleasure, is a common symptom of depression. If you are experiencing chronic depression, consult with your doctor. 

For many people, lack of motivation is part of life. Most cannot keep going at 100%. It is expected to feel a little apathetic sometimes. With mindfulness, you can shift your perspective.

You can pull yourself out of a slump through a few practices, at least for a while. Lack of motivation is a battle that you can win.

What Should I Do When I Don’t Want to Do Anything?

Often, the feeling of not wanting to do anything is temporary. If you have been feeling apathetic for months or have a diagnosed illness that affects your mood, seek professional help. 

If you are just temporarily in the doldrums, here are a few tips for increasing your motivation.

Take a Break

Burnout is real. If you have difficulty completing a task, leave it alone for a while. Taking 5 minutes to stretch and clear your head can be incredibly beneficial. 

Take a few minutes to reset your mind. You can do this by taking a walk, bathing, or even watching an episode of your favorite show. Avoid binge-watching, but if you end up relaxing for an extra hour, that’s ok too. 

Treat Yourself with Love and Compassion

It is ok to feel lost. You are worthy of compassion. It is easier said than done, but try to treat each emotion that comes up with acceptance. Feeling apathetic is part of the human condition. 

Mindfulness and meditation aren’t about not feeling bad but about acceptance. Your mind creates thoughts. With practice, you can follow those thoughts or let them go. Whichever you choose, do it with love and gratitude. 

Make a Plan

Planning for the future can be an excellent motivator when you feel powerless or overwhelmed. It can be as small as putting away your laundry or as big as a months-long adventure. You will feel like there is more out there than how you feel currently. 

We often get stuck in the past. It is easy to replay or fixate on things that have already happened. Planning for the future is a great way to unstick your brain.   

Journal

If you decide to follow a thought limiting your motivation, consider writing it down. Journaling will allow you to express all scenarios that are giving you anxiety without the pressure of talking to another person. 

I find journaling to be especially helpful. I tend to hyperfocus on an idea, thought, or conversation. When this happens, I think about every possible scenario. I have arguments and conversations in my head and ignore my responsibilities. 

If I write down my feelings, I can follow my thoughts to a conclusion. I don’t have to worry about making a mistake of reason or pissing off a person with a premature confrontation. I can refocus on tasks once I let go of those obsessive thoughts and feelings. 

Talk to a Someone

For some of us, putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard is equivalent to setting our hand on fire. For those people, venting by talking is an excellent alternative. 

Make sure you set boundaries and intentions when you engage in a conversation with someone about stress. If you want advice, ask for that. If you don’t want advice, let your person know. Additionally, if you are talking about personal things, make sure you can trust the person you are with. 

If you don’t have anyone to talk to, try recording yourself. Download a simple recording app or use your phone’s camera. Turn it on and just let everything out. This release will help you focus on what matters. 

Talk to a Professional

If your apathy isn’t related to anxiety or you can’t connect it to a specific issue, try talking to a professional. There are many medical reasons for lack of motivation. You could have low iron or other nutritional deficiencies. 

You might be experiencing depression or many other neurological, hormonal, or psychological imbalances. I am not a doctor. I do believe in the power of meditation, and I also believe in modern medicine. 

Try Different Things

Try any combination of things. This is the hard part. Rekindling your motivation is not an easy task. You have to want to make a change. You might not find the method that works for you the first time you try. That is ok, keep trying.

How to Help Motivate Others 

You may have landed here because a loved one is struggling with motivation. Know that taking steps to help another person is incredibly noble. Often, we need someone to walk the difficult path with us. 

Some people will be resistant to advice. So don’t offer advice. Offer an ear, a hand, a smile. Let them know you are a safe person. Suggest doing things together and try not to push. Motivation has to come from within. 

You can say all the right things, but you must give your friend time to absorb and make their own decisions. Encourage beneficial behaviors. Show compassion through example. 

You want the person you see struggling to find their motivation independently. You don’t want them to be reliant on you for support.

Motivation and Mindfulness

Check-in with Yourself

If you don’t want to do anything, check-in. You can do a quick body scan. 

  • Is there somewhere on your body that is causing you pain? 
  • Are you hungry? 
  • Are you thirsty?
  • Has something happened recently that has distracted you?

This check-in is a form of mindfulness practice or meditation. Reevaluate yourself in the present moment. Take a few deep breaths and connect with your body. Maybe try to meditate. 

Meditation

Meditation can help to elicit stress and refocus your mind. It is a way to find stillness and gain perspective on your situation. 

Meditation has a grounding effect. It helps us remember what is essential and to tackle problems with an open mind. 

I find great strength in meditation. I practice quite often, so finding stillness in a moment of stress and refocusing my thoughts is easier. It is not a perfect method, and it does take time to perfect. 

We call it mindfulness practice for a reason. It is something we get better at every time we try it. Meditation is a tool that you can use to find your motivation. But it is best to start practicing in a good mood. 

Don’t wait until you think, “I don’t want to do anything,” to start meditation or mindfulness practice. Please take a look at our mindfulness practices post to begin today.

What Is It Called When You Don’t Want To Do Anything?

Anhedonia and apathy mean a lack of motivation or ability to feel joy in things you once enjoyed.

Is It Okay Just Not To Do Anything?

It is normal not to want to do anything sometimes. If you find yourself not wanting to do anything for days or weeks, maybe consider reaching out.

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Author
Jillian has been on a journey to find peace in the chaos since 2016. Mindfulness, meditation, and yoga have helped them keep present. They have been writing as a passion since an early age and writing professionally since 2018.

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