Some days you spring out of bed ready to face the world. Other days, you pull the covers over your head and hide because you are just not feeling it.

Ah, motivation.  It is rather vague, right? Whether in your career or in your personal life, motivation helps you succeed with your goals.

Simplistically, motivation is the unseen force that causes us to act, change, grow, and meet our goals. It is that peripheral power that pushes us to succeed and gives us the kick-in-the-pants we might need. Motivation can come by way of a looming deadline or a pain-in-the-rear boss that forces us to get things done.

Ideally, however, motivation should be tied to encouragement. You want to feel good about creating positive change in your life. On the flip side, there are forces that steal your motivation. If you find yourself wanting to get ahead – but stuck under a rock you can’t seem to escape – make sure you’re not suffering under one of these motivation thieves.

8 Forces that Rob Our Motivation to Succeed

Being Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed contributes greatly to a lack of motivation. Sometimes it does not take much to get us to the point of feeling helplessly frustrated. If you have your whole house to clean but you don’t know where to begin, you may feel defeated before you start.  You might be tempted to fall onto your sofa and binge watch your favorite show. That may be a temporary respite, but the mess is still going to be there when the show is over. Feeling overcome happens because you have not learned to break down tasks or goals into manageable chunks. As Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”


Being afraid slows you down and stifles your progress. Anxiety over something new is normal but are your fears based upon what you have swirling around in your imagination or are they grounded in an accurate assessment of the risks? Facing fear doesn’t have to be like a knight facing your enemy. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture at all. Feeling fear and feeling overwhelmed are a tandem couple. Scale down your desire into manageable-sized smaller goals.  You’ll eventually reap the rewards of hitting your result without feeling paralyzed of a larger undertaking.

Being Too Content

What? Too content? We should all want this type of peace, right? Being too satisfied can lead to stagnation. Tony Robbins once said, “The best entrepreneurs on earth never lose that hunger–they are hungry to grow, hungry to give, hungry to contribute. There’s nothing that will stop a person who is hungry enough. The point is if you have goals to meet, you stay hungry. You stay hungry because you’re not satisfied and hunger fuels motivation.

Setting the Wrong or Fuzzy Goals

Goal setting is fundamentally an exploratory process and one of personal growth. Prepare to take a detour, make shifts, pause, and re-evaluate your goals along the way. If your original goal no longer makes sense for you, your motivation for success will diminish.  You are more likely to be motivated when you understand specifically what you want to achieve because it is the specifics that trip people up. If you’re wandering aimlessly down a path with no clear destination in mind, your motivation generally takes an unforeseen detour and takes you off track.

You’re Easily Bored

Challenge is a critical ingredient for motivation. However, it is finding the sweet spot that works. A challenge too great and you are overwhelmed and afraid. A challenge too small and you bored and struggle to stay motivated. Personal growth is a result of new and continual challenges because without it, we stop mastering new skills. Your motivation increases as your desire for development and growth deepens.

You Are Entering Burnout

The Mayo Clinic defines job burnout  as a type of work-related stress that can lead to a state of physical or emotional exhaustion. Burnout is a response to extended or chronic job strain and that is characterized by three main components: exhaustion, cynicism and feelings of professional inadequacy. If you are entering a burnout stage, this can zap your motivation from the things that generally get you excited.

You Have Bad Influences

Align yourself with people that can help you succeed. This is important, so I am going to say it again: Align yourself with people that can help you succeed. You are who you associate with — period. Surround yourself with people who can inspire and encourage you every step of the way. Supporters will cheer you on and hold you accountable. Deflectors hold you down and steal your motivation to succeed. Increase the number of supporters and kick your deflectors to the curb.

Your Motivation Isn’t Tied to a Higher Purpose

You get to decide what “higher purpose” means to you. If your goal is tied to a personal impact, you’ll be far more likely to be motivated to achieve it. Goals can be set on anything imaginable, but if you don’t have a higher intent, it makes it easier to give up once the initial motivation and excitement wears off. Goals should be relevant and meaningful, so you can persevere when the going gets tough.

Remember, motivation will have an ebb and flow. It is not easy being on a motivational high every day and nobody can stick to something for the long haul if they find it unpleasant. Find pleasure in the power of now – the power of your moments and make individual moments count. That is how you sustain motivation. Find the beauty in your early morning run, finishing a work project, completing another college course, or losing one pound. These are the moments to celebrate because each moment will lead you to your dreams. Learn to make the journey as enjoyable as your destination.  It’s not the destination that changes you, it is what happens along the way.  And, compelling change increases motivation.

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Jan Johnston Osburn is a Certified Career Coach and Organizational Consultant. Her organizational specialties are Talent Acquisition, Training, and Leadership Development. She holds a Master’s degree from the University of Buckingham, UK, and has certifications in Executive Coaching and Advanced Social Media. Her website is www.YourBestLifeTodayCoaching.Com .