Apathy. It has become a major issue for so many people today. While many people associate apathy with a lack of passion or motivation, it is technically defined as the absence of emotion.
Apathy may not be a clearly defined emotional state, but it is a serious one. Falling into a state of apathy can be dangerous, so knowing the signs of being in this type of state is important.
If you have noticed the following signs in your own life, then you may be slipping into a state of apathy:
- You no longer hold the same interests and hobbies.
- You feel unmotivated.
- Your performance at work is starting to slip.
- Your days become filled with mindless tasks.
- You lose steam when you think of acting on a goal.
- You find yourself watching a lot more television or surfing the web more.
- You are eating too much and not exercising enough.
These are all signs that you may be dealing with apathy. What is even more important than realizing that you are dealing with apathy, is working to overcome it. If you know you are dealing with apathy, it is time to make a change and it is time to turn that apathy into positive motivation.
Here are four of the easiest ways to turn apathy into positive motivation:
1. Start by understanding your state
Begin with getting some perspective on the issue. You are dealing with a case of apathy, but that doesn’t mean it defines you or who you are. You are not lazy, boring or unmotivated. It is not who you are, it is how you are feeling right now. You will not be in this state or feel this way forever, so make sure you are clear on the temporary status of your situation first.
“Hate is not the opposite of love; apathy is.” – Rollo May
2. Start by changing small things
Try to realize what the cause of your apathy is. Then decide if there is anything that you can do about it. What got you to this place? What can you do to change the influencers that make you feel apathy? Start by changing these small things, you will not only benefit from changing the things that make you feel apathetic, but you will benefit from the process of doing something about your situation.
3. Take action
Taking action marks a conscious decision. If you want to make a change in your life then you need to take action. It can be a small step or a large one, but the point is you need to make the decision to do something and then follow through with it.
This is why it is so important: when you are taking action you are making a real, conscious decision to do something. This is the counterbalance to apathy, which is a passive action. The more action-oriented you are, the more you chip away at your passive state.
“Apathy can be overcome by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm can only be aroused by two things: first, an ideal, with takes the imagination by storm, and second, a definite intelligible plan for carrying that ideal into practice. ” – Arnold J. Toynbee
4. Stop complaining
One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with apathy is that it can make everything around you seem negative. So many people who are struggling with apathy are constantly complaining about their situation and just how bad things are. Stop complaining and start doing.
If you want to turn your apathy into motivation to succeed, the number one thing you can do is to stop complaining. It will stop bringing negativity to your life, it will prevent you from making excuses for yourself and it will give you nothing but fuel to make your life better and to stay motivated.
“Willpower is the key to success. Successful people strive no matter what they feel by applying their will to overcome apathy, doubt or fear.” – Dan Millman
Being in a state of apathy is not the end of the world. It is a rut or a phase that many people deal with. However, if you are able to look within and get to the root of the problem and take real action steps in order to overcome your state and to make positive changes to your life, you will find the motivation you need to make the life improvements that you want.
How will you turn apathy to positive motivation? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!
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How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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