What advice would you give to someone lacking in motivation?

Lack of motivation is a feeling that we may experience from time to time as individuals. For people living with mental health problems, this can exacerbate this.

From meeting up with friends, to starting a new project or engaging in a hobby we know and love, it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation to actively get involved with activities that are good for your mental health. When we are struggling with mental health problems this can become even harder, tasks that may seem simple to others, such as getting in the shower, or making breakfast can become overwhelming.

So, we thought it would be a good idea to ask you for your top tips on overcoming a lack of motivation so we can share it with our online community. This is what you said:

1. Break tasks in to manageable chunks

"Even a crumb looks enourmous if you're an ant or feel like one." - Viv

Breaking tasks into smaller chunks leading up to the ultimate goal can help manage thoughts about the process. Focusing on the individual tasks needed to complete a whole project can help to stay present and in the moment.

2. Write down each positive thing you experience throughout the day

"Whatever works for you, grab it with both hands." - Alan

Many people feel that writing down positive things can be handy when aiming to stay hopeful when struggling emotionally, serving as a reminder of special moments. This can be motivating in itself.

3. Give yourself credit for the small things you do

"Take any opportunity to praise yourself and not focus on the things you haven't done but look at the things you have." - Sharon

Notice the little things by praising yourself for each task completed - it can add up quickly! Practicing mindfulness can also help in focusing and appreciating every moment as well as the 'small' things you do such as getting out of bed or brushing your teeth in the morning. Each evening, why don't you try noting three small wins that you have achieved that day, remembering that whatever you achieve, no matter how small, is always something to be proud of.

4. Have some 'me time'

"Put yourself as number one priority and do whatever it takes that you think will help to make you feel better." - Linda

Take time out to do more of what you love and enjoy. From sightseeing around your local city to spending time alone in a scenic park, taking time out to look after yourself can be a great support for your mental health and may provide some inspiration.

5. Be gentle with yourself

"It's okay not to be okay all of the time." - Suzanne

Accept the current state of how you feel, acknowledge the feeling and look for ways to reach out for support if needed. Practicing self care and being gentle with yourself can be a great help when experiencing lack of motivation.

6. Try to be present

"Spend time watching or seeing good things." - Krishnannarayanan

Remaining present and in the moment can help to focus on the now and this may help when experiencing a lack of motivation. Whether it is walking your dog or trying new food, focusing on the present moment is good.

See our guide How to look after your mental health using mindfulness for more.

7. Attend helpful events

"Do a self-esteem workshop or course." - Stephanie

Self-help books, courses and events are all tools that can be used to support your knowledge on mental health. By learning ways to improve your self esteem or perhaps stay inspired may help when experiencing a lack of motivation.

Read Marie's story of how self management courses changed her life

8. Ask for help

"Don't be ashamed - be bold to share it and get help." - Krishnannarayanan

Talking about your feelings can be good for your mental health. It is often the first step to overcoming mental health problems and there are people who are willing to listen. Some people prefer to speak to family or friends, others may wish to discuss their feelings with a professional. You can talk to your GP about how you are feeling, they can offer you information on support such as treatments and counselling available.

Seeking help

If you’re considering seriously harming yourself: then reach out for support now. 

If you have seriously harmed yourself, or you don’t feel that you can keep yourself safe right now seek immediate help by calling 999, or going straight to A&E.   

  • Call your GP and ask for an emergency appointment  
  • Call NHS 111 (England) or NHS Direct (Wales) for out-of-hours to help   
  • Contact your mental health crisis team if you have one  

Phone a free helpline such as:  

  • Samaritans offer a 24-hours a day, 7 days a week support service. Call them FREE on 116 123. You can also email [email protected] 
  • Shout Crisis Text Line: If you’re experiencing a personal crisis, are unable to cope and need support Text Shout to 85258. 
  • CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) have a helpline (5pm – midnight) and webchat to support men  
  • Papyrus is a dedicated service for young people up to the age of 35 who are worried about how they are feeling or anyone concerned about a young person. You can call the HOPElineUK number on 0800 068 4141, you can text 07786 209697 or email [email protected] 

Read our page on ‘Getting help for my mental health and how to access support? 

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