What to Do When You’re Not Motivated

Sometimes (and on bad days it’s way more than sometimes), I know exactly what I need to do, and I. Just. Can’t. Do. It. I’m just not motivated.

I have a feeling you’re with me on this one.

There are days when I know yoga would be just the thing to lift my mood, and then I somehow take too long dealing with stuff at home and miss a class. Or when I know that I should not have the pizza, but then I decide it’s a really good pizza and go for it, even though I know the gluten is going to make me wish I didn’t give my pregnancy pants away.

Then when something like Earth Day rolls around, I really start to think about why it is so damn hard for me to do some of the simpler things that help our planet be healthier – like forget to tell people not to give me plastic utensils when I get takeout (I have a wooden bamboo set in my car!) or ride my bike more (and drive less).

Truth is, I may wonder, but I know the answer. And it’s likely the same for you.

Here’s a way to look at how things work:

– our thoughts create our beliefs
– our beliefs create our feelings
– our feelings create our actions (everything we do/don’t so is because we think it will make us feel better or avoid suffering)
– our actions create our reality/results/life experience

This is not new. This chain of events is well-known in spiritual traditions (especially those with meditation as a component), psychology, and other behavioral sciences. It actually makes the concepts in the Law of Attraction seem not so elusive.

The reason we tend to not do things when we know we should (or do things when we know we shouldn’t) is because “knowing” what we should do is clearly not enough. What we need to do when we’re not motivated is work our way backwards through the chain and ask, “I know I should ride my bike but I don’t. How am I feeling when I decide not to ride my bike?”

For me, it’s a sense of being defeated.

What’s the thought creating that feeling? “It won’t make a difference.”

Well shit. No wonder. Even if I know I “should” ride my bike, if I don’t believe it will make a difference, if my thoughts support the belief that it doesn’t matter, then of course I’m not going to get on it!

There’s a lot more I can say about this, but we should all be playing outside and not at a computer;)

Bottom line: we can try to create new thoughts around doing something differently to help contribute to the solution and not the problem. Try this out with a pressing matter you are struggling with right now.

Don’t wait for motivation. Create it.

I’m going to choose to believe that what I do matters. All our thoughts are, after all, a choice. And what we all do does matter.


If you want to join a tribe of people that will help you navigate this wild and precious life, come check out Freedom School – for rebels like you. It’s not just personal growth for rebels. It’s Jedi training for the new world.