Busting Out of a Funk: Tips for Feeling Motivated Again

You know that feeling when you just can’t get motivated to do anything?

That’s me right now, and maybe that’s you too. Just observing the days go by, knowing you have to get things done but unable to summon the energy or verve.

Maybe you’re bored with your routine, or stressed from work and life. Or maybe you just feel uninspired. Whatever the reason, getting out of a funk can be tough. If you, like me, have ruled out burnout, let’s see if we can identify how we arrived here and how to snap out of it.

What Causes Us to Get Stuck in a Funk?

1) Habituation

We all know this, but having the phenomenon properly put across in wording helps tons (thanks, Time Magazine article!)

Repeating the same routines can lead to habituation, where you become so accustomed to something that it no longer holds your interest. Your brain tunes out stimuli that it’s exposed to repeatedly, which explains why stuff like your newest shiny gadgets lose their appeal after a while.

While habituation is helpful in some cases, it zaps your motivation and excitement when it comes to your daily tasks and responsibilities. Break out the fancy chocolate or candle you’ve been hoarding to break the monotony, fire different neurons, and see if it helps a little.

Alternatively, do things in a different order or try new activities like visiting a new coffee shop or taking a different route to work. Challenge yourself, even, by adopting new hobbies or skills that push you outside your comfort zone. The key is making a conscious effort to avoid autopilot and actively work to regain your enthusiasm. Small changes may make a big difference!

2) Poor Lifestyles

This is pretty self-explanatory, and as the many posters lining the bus stops remind us (guilty as charged), this may arise from poor lifestyle habits such as lack of sleep or exercise.

If it’s not that, maybe you’ll be able to pinpoint the reason(s) with some data! Create a simple spreadsheet and note down the activities you do throughout the day and your mood. You may spot specific patterns or trends, such as your motivation decreasing after certain activities — or a lack of them. You can then use your tracking data to experiment with changes to your routine.

Do remember to start small! Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to change everything at once. For example, you could start by going to bed 30 minutes earlier and waking up 30 minutes earlier to work on a hobby or side project before your day gets started. Once that’s habit, add in 30 minutes of exercise a few times a week. Slowly, these small changes will snowball.

3) Connect With Others

Sometimes, you just need time away from worrying about things. Social interaction and support from others can give you an emotional boost, and talking to others helps get your mind off the negative thoughts that are dragging you down. If they have the capacity to listen, let people who care about you know you’re feeling a sense of inertia — they may be able to provide encouragement and help motivate you again.

4) Worry Less

Our worries and anxieties can paralyze us and hold us back from taking action to reduce potential harm or failure. If you avoid taking risks or confronting your fears, opting instead for the safety of familiarity and routine, you may find yourself trapped in a stagnant cycle of mediocrity, unable to reach your full potential or pursue your dreams. By succumbing to the paralysis of worry, you relinquish the opportunity for growth and self-discovery, settling for a life that is safe but ultimately unfulfilling. It’s important to recognize that while taking risks and confronting fears may be uncomfortable, it is often through these challenges that we experience the greatest moments of growth and achievement. Embracing uncertainty and stepping outside of your comfort zone may feel daunting, but it is the only way to break free from the shackles of worry and unlock your true potential.

Staying in a funk is often the result of falling into old unhealthy patterns. Creating new positive habits and sticking to them is the best way to bust out of your unmotivated state and feel excited again about your goals and life. Keep at it and don’t get discouraged—lasting change takes time!

If trying everything fails, however, it’s important to recognize that your loss of motivation could signal underlying mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. If you find that your lack of motivation is persistent and significantly impacting your daily life, it might be a good idea to seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor. They can provide support, guidance, and strategies to help you overcome your challenges and improve your mental well-being.

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