8 Reasons people lose motivation

8 Reasons people lose motivation

Most of us can lose our motivation at some point – perhaps a task that seems too big to tackle, or one that’s taking more time to finish than planned. Whatever is happening though, there are at heart 8 reasons why people lose motivation.

Why do some people lose motivation soon after starting something?

There are four underlying reasons why motivation can be lost so soon after starting a task or project –

  • impatience
  • focus
  • status
  • fear
  • Impatience – People who expect to see instant results can easily lose their motivation when starting a long-term plan or project. When weight loss isn’t immediate, or a new product or service isn’t taken up quickly by customers, then that can be dispiriting.
  • Focus – If people focus on mistakes that they have made instead of taking a more rounded view then that can sap their motivation. It’s the same effect when people focus on the areas where they feel less able or confident.
  • Status – Coming into contact with people that they feel are higher status than them can be uncomfortable for some people. They will question their fitness to be doing the work, and with it their chance of success. Conversely an higher sense of status, and finding the task beneath them, can also be a factor in people losing motivation.
  • Fear – For a large proportion of people the fear of failure outweighs the attraction of success. Not seeing through a task can be a way of avoiding the chance of failure. This cause of lost motivation is normally much less apparent to those affected than the other causes.

Why do some people lose motivation when they’ve managed to keep it going before?

Once people are engaged in a task or a project they normally move past impatience, focus, status, and fear. What they can come up against though are four demotivators that can be generated by the work itself. They are –

  • working too hard
  • working too rigidly
  • working too independently
  • working too far behind
  • Working too hard – People can have unrealistic ideas about how quickly they’ll get things done. They can also have unrealistic ideas about how to increase their productivity. A frequent mistake is to think that working say 25% more hours will get 25% more done. For all sorts of reasons it won’t – but when people work longer hours and get less done then they find it demotivating.
  • Working too rigidly – Working on a long-term task can see the nature of the work or the environment change. Where people don’t adapt their working practices or priorities they can see the same effort and input becoming much less effective and productive. The feeling that things are ceasing to work can be demotivating.
  • Working too independently – People often overlook the resources that are available to them. That might be practical help or advice, or getting other people to fulfill their responsibilities.
  • Working too far behind – You need to make sure that the work that you are doing has a clear link to your long-term goal or plan. Without being able to see the purpose or reward in what you’re doing it’s easy to lose motivation.

Why do some people seen to never lose motivation?

What they will be doing, consciously or not, is taking action to avoid or address the eight reasons for losing motivation. There is a clear link between developing higher Emotional Intelligence (EQ), and being able to manage your own motivation.

Can it be a sign of something else wrong if you lose motivation?

A lack of motivation can be a sign of depression when seen alongside other signs such as persistent low mood, difficulty in concentrating, and changes in sleeping and eating habits. For a fuller description of the symptoms of depression visit the NHS website here.


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