Does it feel impossible to get anything done? Do you find yourself zoning out to the internet or video games rather than checking off your to-do list? Are you avoiding school work, chores, or just “adulting” in general? Do you feel as though you are lacking motivation?
In young adults, poor academic/work performance, underachieving, and low levels of motivation can be caused by many factors, including:
Experiencing too much stress of pressure (internally or externally)
Poor habits of not completing tasks
Learned helplessness/enabling parents
ADHD or other attention/learning disorders
Low self-esteem/lacking self-confidence
Fear of shame, criticism, or guilt
Family dynamics or unresolved conflict
Poor identity awareness/inability to conceptualize personal goals
Goals that are too high
When you lack motivation, you are in a sense AVOIDING life. Through avoidance, you momentarily suspend the negative experiences listed above. However, over time, this avoidant behavior strategy is a recipe for failure. The more you avoid life, the harder it gets to face the tasks and “do.” You convince yourself that everything will be okay-tomorrow. So, you turn back to your phone or smoke some pot and avoid thinking about the future for today, with the promise of getting back on track TOMORROW. Though, this cycle only reduces your motivation and teaches you how to avoid uncomfortable feelings, rather than to learn how to manage the life tasks at hand and the cycle only gets worse with time.
What can you do?
Don’t criticize yourself or name call. Although it can be hard to not get frustrated, referring to yourself as “lazy” or “stupid” can have a negative impact on your mood and potentially increase the avoidant behavior.
Speak with a psychologist or counselor.A psychologist can help you to identify the unique dynamics that are creating your difficulties with motivation. A psychologistcan also assess for other factors (such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, or substance use) that may be negatively impacting your motivation and functioning.
Try not to focus too much on what you are doing wrong. Finding ways to encourage yourself can be a great place to start. Setting small goals and expectations for yourself can be a good way to build confidence and mastery.
Celebrate your strengths and engage in non-academic/work activities.
Please don’t compare yourself to others. Making comparisons will only intensify your insecurities.
At Metta PsychologyGroup, our therapistscan help you to better understand your breakdown of motivation, where it originates, and howto tailor treatment interventions to your specific needs.